Kiddie Pool 23/05/18

Family fun for the weekend


• All three Chunky’s locations (707 Huse Road, Manchester, 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 150 Bridge St., Pelham) will screen Shrek 2(PG, 2004) on Friday, May 19, at 3:45 p.m. as part of their Little Lunch Date series. The story picks up after Shrek and Fiona are married, when they get invited to come to Far Far Away, Fiona’s parents’ kingdom. The only problem is that her parents don’t know that she’s now an ogre all the time. Admission is free but reserve a spot with a $5 food voucher at

• Escape to Narnia with the Majestic Academy of Dramatic Arts’ presentation of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobeat the Majestic Theatre (880 Page St., Manchester;, 669-7469). Opening night is Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m. and other performances are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Follow the four Pevensie children as they battle for good alongside Aslan the lion against the White Witch. Tickets cost $10 for kids 17 and under, $13 for seniors and $14 for adults and can be purchased at

• Catch the teen performers with the Peacock Players ( in the musical Xanadu on Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 20, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. at their theater at 14 Court St. in Nashua. Tickets start at $15 for adults ($12 for students and seniors).

Outdoor fun

• The 65th annual Kiwanis Club of Concord Spring Fair is back from Thursday, May 18, through Sunday, May 21, at the Everett Arena (15 Loudon Road in Concord). The fair will have a variety of food, games, vendors and rides. The fair runs Thursday, May 18, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, May 19, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, may 20, from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday, May 21, from noon to 6 p.m. Admission to the fair is free; unlimited ride wristbands cost $30. Visit

• Celebrate spring the Scottish way with Beltane: Scottish celebration of spring at Oscar Barn (191 W. River Road in Hooksett) on Saturday, May 20 at 3 p.m. There will be live Celtic music by The Rebel Collective, Prydein, and the Pipes & Drums of NHSCOT. There will be haggis toss (cornhole), street curling, and marshmallows for roasting on the outside warming fires, a Scottish tradition for protection and growth during the summer season. There will also be a celebration of spring with the Hawthorn tree and spring flowers as traditional Beltane symbols. Tickets cost $32. Visit activities

• Get messy with kids’ canvas painting at the Canvas Roadshow (25 S. River Road in Bedford). Kids will learn to paint a cute panda climbing bamboo on an 11-inch by 14-inch canvas. All arts supplies are provided. This program is geared toward kids 7 years old and older. Registration closes on Thursday, May 18; the event is on Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Registration costs $25 and can be completed at

• Escape from the tavern at the American Independence Museum (1 Governors Lane, Exeter) at the special event Trouble in the Tavern: An Escape Room Adventure on Saturday, May 20, from noon to 4 p.m. Groups of up to eight will work together to figure out puzzles and clues and learn some history about the start of America. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for children. Visit for more information.

• Bookery (844 Elm St. Manchester) will host Matt Forrest Esenwine to celebrate his new book, Everybody Counts!, for storytime and craft on Saturday, May 20, at 11:30 a.m. Kids will hear Esenwine read his book and do a craft related to it. Visit for more information.

Save the dates

• Did you ever wonder if you were a demigod? Hear Percy Jackson’s story in The Lightning Thief at the Capitol Center for the Arts (Chubb Theatre , 44 S. Main St., Concord; on Friday, May 26, at 10 a.m. The musical, based on the popular children’s book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, follows the story of Percy and his two friends Grover and Annabeth as they go on a quest to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt. Tickets cost $8.

• There are a bunch of new summer camps being provided by Studio 550 (550 Elm St., Manchester). Registration is now open for tween/teen clay camps with sessions June 26 to June 30, July 24 to July 28, and Aug. 21 to Aug. 25 from 2:30 to 5 p.m., as well as illustration camps Aug. 14 to Aug. 18. The studio is also offering an arts explorer summer program for artists ages 8 and older with sessions running July 10 to July 14 and Aug. 7 to Aug. 11. Registration costs $195 and can be done at

Treasure Hunt 23/05/18

Hi, Donna.

Here’s a photo of a desk that has been in our family since the 1920s. Can you tell us anything about it? We were living in Michigan at the time.



Dear Judi,

Nice clean piece of furniture. It could have even been manufactured in Michigan.

It looks like a secretary desk or butler’s desk. This is why the front drops down. The piece dates from between the early 1900s and the 1930s. It’s walnut and, as I said, very clean and in great condition. Looks great where you have it.

Values are tough because demand dictates everything. But if I appraised it for insurance purposes, I would say in the $1,000 range. Not sure it would market for that. But to me it’s worth that. It has stood time well.

I hope this was helpful, Judi, and thanks for sharing with us.


Early season treats from the garden and the woods

Savor sorrel in soup and salad

Even if you planted your peas and spinach in April, you will not be eating them anytime soon. Despite days of full sun and occasional days of high temperatures, spring in New England is often cold and rainy, too. Our vegetable gardens putter along, but few things are ready to eat until June, or later. There are vegetables you can be eating now, however, if you plan right.

I eat parsnips as soon as the snow melts and the ground thaws. How? I overwinter parsnips in the ground, which sweetens them up and makes them even tastier. I plant parsnip seeds in June. They need warm soils to germinate. Even then, they take two to three weeks to come up out of the ground.

Parsnip seeds only are good for one year, so buy new seeds each year. Plant the seeds an inch apart and half an inch deep. A key to success is to thin your parsnips so they are not crowded. Thin them in July when the greens are 4 to 6 inches tall. They need 3 to 4 inches of space between plants if you want good-sized parsnips. If you mulch the plants well with ground-up autumn leaves or straw, your work is done until harvest time the following spring.

Parsnips are an old-fashioned vegetable, but prepared properly they are delicious. I peel and chop parsnips into half-inch-thick slices and steam them until slightly soft. Then I cook them briefly in a frying pan with butter. At the last moment I add maple syrup and cook at low heat until it caramelizes. Yum! Don’t have any this year? You can buy parsnips at your farmers market or even the grocery store.

A little-known perennial green is sorrel. Once established, it produces a plethora of light green, lemon-flavored leaves, year after year. The French make soup with it, perhaps because the greens themselves pretty much melt and disappear if you sauté them. So for years I just added them raw to salads.

Then I got Deborah Madison’s wonderful cookbook, Vegetable Literacy. She uses sorrel with peas and leeks to make a soup. But I don’t really follow recipes, and found that yes, indeed, sorrel goes well with peas. But I found I can boil frozen peas, then at the last minute add chopped sorrel. Just boil it for another minute, drain, add butter and enjoy!

closely packed leaves on low growing plant, in ground
Sorrel is ready to eat now for me. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Another early perennial vegetable, asparagus, is also coming into season. If you like asparagus — and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it steamed and slathered in butter — you should grow it. It is mostly sold as crowns (roots), not seeds, for starting a patch, but seeds are available if you want to start an acre of asparagus.

Don’t crowd your asparagus. The roots are sold in bundles of 25, which is fine for a family of two. Plant them 18 inches apart and 6 inches deep. Buy any of the Jersey hybrids; they are all male and won’t start new plants that will crowd out your established plants. When planting, add lots of compost and some organic fertilizer. They like full sun and plenty of moisture, but will grow with as little as four to six hours of sunshine if that is all you can offer.

To keep on getting good asparagus every year, keep it well-weeded and top dress it with organic fertilizer every year after you finish picking. Mulch is good for keeping weeds down. And don’t over-pick your asparagus: Three weeks is the season for a well-established patch. Don’t pick any in Year 1 or 2. The plants need to store lots of energy for next spring’s production, so they need to grow fronds all summer for that.

Fiddleheads are a great spring treat. They are the new shoots of the ostrich fern, a big shade-loving fern that is common in New England. All ferns come up as fiddleheads, but only the ostrich fern is tasty. There is an easy way to identify them: They are the only ones that have a groove up the inside of the stem, just like celery.

I sauté fiddleheads in butter in a cast iron frying pan. First I brown some slivered almonds in olive oil, then I add the fiddleheads and some chopped garlic or the bulbs of ramps (more on them below). I pick not only the curled part of the fiddlehead but also the first 6 inches of stem. But I only take one or two fiddleheads from each plant to allow it to develop well.

Ramps, also called wild leeks, are easy to grow if you have an open wooded area with maple, ash or beech. They are commonly sold now at farmers markets. Both the bulb and the leaves are edible, so cut off the bulbs and plant them. Next year they will please you by showing up in early spring. If you plant 25 to 50 bulbs each year for three years or more, you will develop a nice patch. Once established they will spread by seed and root.

My favorite way of eating ramps is to clean them and rub off the gelatinous covering of the bulb, and then chop the entire plant for cooking. I fry them in a cast iron pan until the leaves wilt, then make scrambled eggs. They can also be added to anything that requires garlic or onion — they are the same family.

We will have to wait until July or August to get our tomatoes, even those like ‘Early Girl’ and ‘Fourth of July’ that are quick to produce. But if you start some perennials in your garden, you can be enjoying tasty treats even now, in May. I am.

Henry Homeyer is the author of four gardening books. His email is He is a lifelong organic gardener and a 20+-year veteran of the UNH Master Gardener program.

Featured photo: Ramps are easy to grow and a real spring treat. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 23/05/18

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Sculptors at work: See the four artists participating in this year’s Nashua International Sculpture Symposium at work on their pieces at Picker Artists (3 Pine St. in Nashua), where they are working Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on this year’s pieces. The artists are Anna Rasinska from Poland, Parastoo Ahovan from Iran, Tanya Preminger from Israel and Jim Larson, who grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in Maine, according to, where you can sign up to donate to or pick up a meal for the artists. The pieces, which will become part of Nashua’s townwide exhibit of sculptures, will be unveiled in their installation locations on Sunday, June 3.

A trip to Narnia: The Majestic Academy of Dramatic Arts (Majestic Studio Theatre, 880 Page St. in Manchester;, 669-7469) will present The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe featuring children and teen performers on Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 20, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $14 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for 17 and under.

Jack of Diamonds
Pittsfield Players (Scenic Theatre, 6 Depot St. in Pittsfield;, 435-8852) presents Jack of Diamonds, a comedy mystery set at a retirement home where a group of skilled residents realize the man who has stolen their nest eggs has newly moved in, according to the website. The show runs Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 (call or go online to reserve).

Drama on skates: Teen performers with the Peacock Players ( will present the musical Xanadu on Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 20, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. at their theater at 14 Court St. in Nashua. Tickets start at $15 for adults ($12 for students and seniors).

On view downtown: New Hampshire Art Association Artist Michelle Peterson has her paintings on display in an exhibit called “Threads and Where They Lead” at the Concord Chamber of Commerce (49 S. Main St. Suite 104 in Concord; through Friday, July 7. “In the artwork string is depicted in patterns and shapes that reference the playground pastime of cat’s cradle. ‘By using symbols such as a water bottle, rocks, birds and hands interspersed and oriented around visible and invisible strings, I begin to map a personal psychogeography,’ says Peterson,” according to a press release. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spring show: The Seacoast Artist Association will feature new artwork from its members in the show “Primavera: The Art of Spring,” which wraps up this weekend when it is open Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Exeter Town Hall gallery (10 Front St. in Exeter; the gallery is on the second floor). See

Supporting art with music: The Andres Institute of Art Center (106 Route 13 in Brookline, 845-9174; will present kNowhere Kids, a band playing New England rock with a mix of blues-flavored originals and covers, on Sunday, May 21, from 6 to 8 p.m., according to a press release. See the band at Tickets to the concert cost $25; purchase them online. The next show will be The Soggy Po Boys on Sunday, June 25.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Hatbox Theatre (270 Loudon Road in Concord;, 715-2315) and Not Too Loud Productions will present Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from Friday, May 26, through Sunday, June 11. Performances will run Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22, $19 for seniors and students.

Art with your museum visit: The Children’s Museum of NH (6 Washington St. in Dover; is displaying the exhibit “Thirteen Moons — An Abenaki Child’s Year” in its Gallery 6 through the end of May. The exhibit features photographs, drawings, diagrams, scale models and stories to illustrate the daily life of a child in an Abenaki village before the arrival of Europeans, according to a press release. The gallery is open when the museum is open (you can visit just the gallery at no charge; museum admission costs $12.50 for everyone over 12 months, $10.50 for 65+). The museum is open Sundays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

75 years of work: The DublinArts and Muse Gallery (1459 Main St in Dublin; will present a retrospective of Sylvia Nicolas on display through Tuesday, June 6. Nicolas, a Netherlands native who came to the U.S. in the late 1930s and now lives in Mont Vernon, has paintings, drawings, sculptures and stained glass, the press release said. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Strings celebration: The New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble — a community orchestra of fiddles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, basses, harps and cellos — has a concert this Saturday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the Exeter Town Hall (9 Front St. in Exeter). Tickets in advance cost $16 for adults, $7 for seniors and students and are free for kids 8 and under, but in all cases reserve seats at Tickets will be available at the door for an additional $2. The ensemble also has a concert scheduled for Sunday, June 4, at Franklin Opera House (316 Central St. in Franklin).

Exeter Arts & Music Fest
Find live music, an arts market, kids’ activities, food and more during the Exeter Arts & Music Fest on Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main music stage, food trucks and kids’ activities will be at Town House Common (6 Bow St. in Exeter) and the artist market and singer-songwriter tent will be at the front portion of Swasey Parkway near Water Street, according to a press release. Scheduled for the main stage are Tim Parent & The Grim Bros. (11 a.m.), Marcus Rabb Quartet (12:30 p.m.), a Musical Arts Showcase (1:45 p.m.), WoodWind & Whiskey (2:30 p.m.), and Cold Engines (4 p.m.). The food trucks scheduled to appear include Cafe El Camino, Memories Ice Cream, Fat Pockets and Cosmic Kettlecorn, the release said. The artist market will feature more than 30 vendors, the press release said. There is a suggested donation of $10, $20 per family, the release said. See

Hats off for women

Artists inspired by a once-essential part of the feminine wardrobe

Twiggs Gallery is celebrating women through the art show “Head’s Up: The Many Hats Women Wear.” The show, which features all artists from the Women’s Caucus for Art’s New Hampshire Chapter, prompted artists to use hats as inspiration, whether through making the hats, using hat imagery, or recycling hats to be used as part of the media for the artwork.

“There’s really only two hats you could actually wear,” Laura Morrison, the gallery director at Twiggs, said. “The rest are really sculptures.”

There are approximately 30 different hat-inspired pieces on display at the gallery. The goal with the show was to display many of the ways women exist in both modern and older societies. The artwork is on display until May 27, and most of the artwork is for sale.

There weren’t any strict rules to interpreting the theme, Morrison said. Some of the artwork on display takes inspiration from iconic women and their hats, like Carmen Miranda, who famously danced with a pile of fruit on her head.

Morrison said that the majority of the pieces are sculptures, with a handful of hanging pieces that were photography or mixed media. The artwork includes paintings and photos, sculptures using flowers and nature, and one piece that incorporates sound.

large oblong shaped hat hanging from ceiling, woman standing under had covered down to shoulders
“Negative Hat with a Positive Attitude” by Donna Catanzaro. Courtesy photo.

That piece, titled “Negative Hat with a Positive Attitude,” by Donna Catanzaro, turns photo negatives from Catanzaro’s youth into the structure of a bell-shaped hat that is suspended so viewers can stand inside. The audio aspect comes from a short monologue Catanzaro recorded, explaining how she became empowered by the old reels of negatives and the girl she once was.

“We asked the artists to broadly interpret the theme,” Morrison said. “Some of [the art] is nature, like Mother Nature, or about a woman’s work, or self-image, agency and power. We try to offer themes that can be broadly interpreted. It’s giving visual representation of thoughts and ideas that [the artists] have.”

This is the third installment from the partnership Twiggs has with WCA/NH that Morrison has inspired. The first was “Busting Out: Powerful Women” also known as “The Bra Show,” and the second was “Kick-Start” or “The Shoe Show.” Morrison said she isn’t sure what other piece of uniquely feminine clothing could be used to inspire art, but hopes to figure one out.

Morrison wants people to experience the show as a serious celebration of women but also to see it as something amusing.

“Whoever comes in will come out with something to think about, with what women are thinking about, and what challenge they have,” Morrison said. “Also, it’s just fun, too. I’ve heard people laugh a few times while they’re in there because they enjoy the show so much.”

Head’s Up: The Many Hats Women Wear
Where: Twiggs Gallery, 254 King St., Boscawen
When: During gallery hours, Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Featured photo: “Forest Guardess Headgear” by Kathleen Lovett. Courtesy photo.

Granite skate

New Hampshire’s teams lace up for roller derby season

Game time at JFK Coliseum means something different in the spring and summertime than in the winter months. Spectators still flock to the stadium seats, but they also set up lawn chairs down on the concrete of the melted ice rink.

Officials in referee jerseys with names like “Tugboat,” “Doomsday Llama” and “She-Rantula” press neon pink tape over ropes that make up the flat track. Dozens of women roller skate around in black and pink or white and blue team tank tops. Some have on yoga pants, some have on bright colored skirts, all wear heavy-duty helmets and pads.

Music blasts through loudspeakers as fans, friends and family hold up homemade signs and scream their favorite player’s name.

With the first whistle on April 29, the roller derby season has officially started for New Hampshire Roller Derby’s travel teams.

NHRD was the first flat track roller derby organization in the Granite State. Its first season was 15 years ago. The sport has gained popularity throughout the country and locally. New Hampshire has four leagues, with varying numbers of teams. NHRD has two travel teams, three home teams and one recreational team.

Jena McClary, derby name Pixie Bruiser, has been a part of NHRD since 2008. She skates for the All Stars, the highest-ranked travel team, and for the home team Nightmares on Elm Street.

roller derby players on the rink
Kelsea “Terror Nova” Thom checks how far back her competition is after she breaks away and wins lead jammer. Photo by Katelyn Sahagian.

“It’s taken over my whole life,” McClary said. In addition to running the team’s public relations, she met her husband through the sport, and now he coaches the All Stars, and their kids also have played and worked as officiants as well.

McClary said it’s the best way to exercise, in her opinion, and also a great way to relieve stress.

“For me, it’s an outlet,” McClary said. “It’s an outlet I enjoy and the main thing that keeps me going is the challenge of it.”

Between the first whistle and the last introduction by the emcee, the skaters on New Hampshire Roller Derby’s A and B travel teams take a brief second to set up for the first jam of the night.

McClary and three other skaters stand in formation. She and two other blockers make a triangle, with the pivot standing close by. A few feet away, the first jammer of the night, Terror Nova, crouches down behind her line, waiting for the whistle.

When it sounds, it’s a race between Nova and Maine Roller Derby’s jammer to see who will control the match. Despite pushing and bobbing and weaving, the MRD jammer breaks out of the pack first. While Nova lost lead jammer this time, the friendly bout was only just beginning.

Roller derby is a sport that takes time, and someone who plays explaining it, to understand. It can be complex and confusing, especially if you’re learning in the middle of a game, where the seven officiants are keeping track of points and penalties, coaches and teammates are shouting suggestions, fans are cheering and skates are squealing on concrete while bodies are slamming into each other.

That being said, once the rules are laid out, it becomes easy to get wrapped up in the energy.

“It’s a combination of rugby and NASCAR,” said Raven Makenzie “Smackenzie Phillips” Ladao. “Many people refer to it as like the non-sporty sport. If you don’t fit in in other sports, this is your sport.”

Ladao said the easiest way to learn the game is to watch it. She has played all three of the positions on a roller derby team: jammer, pivot and blocker. She’s favoring the blocker position the most these days.

Ladao is a long-time veteran of roller derby. She’s played in several different states, as well as in Japan, which she represented in the 2018 World Championship in Manchester, England. Now she coaches NHRD’s junior league, which her kids either play in or officiate for.

NHRD will have a sign that says, “Ask me about roller derby” with an arrow pointed down to the person holding it. Ladao was the sign-bearer at the bout against Maine.

“Many people ask, ‘Where’s the ball?’ There is no ball in the sport,” Ladao said. She pointed out the two players with helmet covers on. “The person with the star on is essentially the ball, because that’s the only person on the track who can score the points.”

She explained that they are called jammers, and they have to start behind all the other players. Once the jammers make it past everyone on the track, one will be named the lead jammer and she’ll have the power to end the match early.

Jammers have to make it through the blockers. The blockers have to stay within 10 feet of each other, and try to keep the other team’s jammer from passing. It sounds easy enough, until you learn that they can’t use their forearms to block or hold onto the opposite team, as well as a plethora of other body parts they can’t make contact with.

The only form of punishment is a penalty, basically a time-out where the player has to sit in the penalty box for 30 seconds. The box has three chairs, one for a jammer, two for everyone else. There are plenty of different penalties that derby players can commit. Even coaches can be subject to penalties, and the team’s captain would have to sit it for the coach if that was the case.

“So the most basic penalty is a track cut,” Ladao explained. “That’s where someone hits you out of the track and you have to come in behind them. They can run back … but if you’re not paying attention and you jump back on the track before them that’s going-out-of-bounds penalty. So like going out of bounds, you have to come back in behind the person who bumped you out.”

Penalties are usually sat for 30 seconds; 20 of them the player has to be seated, the last 10 they can stand up and get ready to rejoin the game. Ladao said she’s never seen it happen before, but an entire team could be penalized at the same time, between two standing members and three seated ones.

Penalties are designed to keep players safe. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the governing body for women’s roller derby around the world, is constantly updating its rules to make sure that players are safe.

Having clear rules makes it possible for NHRD to have players of all ages, shapes and sizes, said Emily “Blitzy Borden” Chebook, who was the captain at the bout and skates for All Stars as well as the home team Granite Skate Troopers.

“I think there’s a place for almost anybody, whether it’s on the track or not,” Chebook said. “With skating, you can be tall and wide, you can be short and lanky. It doesn’t really matter.”

roller derby team standing in line and cheering for team mate standing in front with her hands positioned to form a heart shape
“Slick Tracy” (Brittany Duffy) is cheered on by her teammates after winning Most Valuable Blocker for NHRD against Maine. Photo by Todd Grzywacz.

Chebook has a unique history with NHRD. She saw her first derby bout at NHRD when she was in elementary school and immediately fell in love. She had wanted to play but she said there were no youth leagues back then.

She did a training session with NHRD before realizing she couldn’t commit the time to the sport. When she and her husband moved to the Midwest, she found a community because of roller derby.

“Some of the people I’ve met through derby are the sweetest teddy bears,” Chebook said.

Rachel “Jagged Little Kill” Smith, a new member of NHRD, who plays for the B travel team, The Cherry Bombs, and Nightmare on Elm Street, said that a lot of people have misconceptions about the people who play roller derby.

“I think when you roll derby, you kind of have an idea of the kind of person that plays,” Smith said. “You have a stereotype of, ‘Oh, you play derby, you must have piercings and face tattoos or live an “alternative lifestyle.”’ And we do have those people, but we have moms and nurses and accountants and grandparents.”

Smith said that the derby of the 1970s is not the derby of today, that it’s not just a bunch of women trying to hurt each other. Smith actually joined NHRD only five months ago after completing the training camp that started in September. She said that everyone on the team has been like having a second family.

“It is a little nerve-wracking to walk into this big group of people who are very close-knit,” Smith said. “We see each other two or three times a week in practice. A lot of people hang out socially outside of those times, and everybody is going to welcome you with open arms. It has been a completely incredible, welcoming community.”

Despite the players’ off-track personalities, their on-track personas were fiercely fighting to get ahead against MRD. Early in the bout, NHRD’s hard work paid off and they scored ahead in the leaderboard, and kept the pressure on for the rest of the bout. By the time the game had ended, they had won by close to 150 points.

After the game, the teams congratulated each other with high fives and cheers, as each group took a victory lap. It was as if they hadn’t spent the last hour tripping, pushing, shoving and body-checking each other.

Both teams amassed, standing and waiting for an announcer to say who won the most valuable jammer and blocker for each of the teams while the officiants counted up the final scores. Both sides cheered when the players were called forward, not caring about the rivalry they had just shared.

“People in derby are way nicer than we appear when we play,” Smith said. “We like to put on a good show for the audience. You know, be a little bit showboaty. But when it comes down to it … we’re normal people who just like to get together and sweat and push around our friends a little bit and then give each other high fives before we go home.”

Roller derby organizations and upcoming games
Granite Skate Roller Derby
Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord,
When: June 10, July 15, times to be determined.

Monadnock Roller Derby
Lee Clement Arena, 38 Grove St., Henniker,
When: Saturday, Aug. 12, time to be determined.
Price: Online pre-orders are $10

New Hampshire Roller Derby
JFK Coliseum, 303 Beech St., Manchester,
When: Saturdays, May 20, June 24, and Aug. 5, all at 4:30 p.m.
Price: $12 adults, free for children 12 and younger, veterans and NHRD veterans
How to join: Email the league at for adult players. Youth skaters can sign up for the current session at

How to play

Rules come from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association,

The game of Flat Track Roller Derby is played on a flat oval track. Games are divided into two 30-minute periods. Within each period there are play sessions called jams, which last up to two minutes. There are 30 seconds between jams.

During a jam, each team has up to five skaters on the track. Four of these skaters are called blockers (together, the blockers are called the pack) and one is called a jammer. The jammer wears a helmet cover with a star on it. One of the blockers wears a helmet cover with a stripe; they are called the pivot and can be an alternate for the jammer.

The two jammers start each jam behind the pack and score a point for every opposing blocker they lap, each lap. Before they can start scoring, they must get through the first pack and skate around the track before they can score points on opposing blockers.

Roller derby is a full-contact sport but skaters cannot use their heads, elbows, forearms, hands, knees, lower legs or feet to make contact with opponents. It is illegal to attack a player’s head, back, knee, lower leg or feet.

Play that is unsafe or illegal may result in a skater being penalized. Penalties are served by sitting in the penalty box for 30 seconds of jam time.

The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Derby lingo

All terms and definitions come from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association,

Apex jump – when a jammer jumps out of bounds but lands back in bounds to break away from the pack.

Bank track – the traditional roller derby track from the 1970s. The track is sloped inward. Only a few are used in the United States.

roller derby players from 2 teams crowded on rink as they skate around each other
Kelsea “Terror Nova” Thom quickly maneuvers around a MRD blocker. Photo by Todd Grzywacz.

Blocker – one of the three positions in a derby game. Their job is to block the other team’s jammer and help their own jammer accelerate through the jam.

Bout – the name for a roller derby game.

Falling small – the ability to keep arms and legs contained when falling to avoid further injuries.

Flat track – the more common style of derby track. This one is made by taping rope down on a hard surface, indoors or outdoors.

Jam – a round of the bout. Can last up to 2 minutes, but can also be called off by the lead jammer.

Jammer – the player who scores points for the team; they wear a star helmet cover.

Lead Jammer – the jammer to break through first; they have the ability to call off the round by tapping their hips four times.

Pack – blockers and pivot must form one by being within 10 feet of each other.

Pass/earned pass – how points are tallied. A jammer can score up to four points each time they lap the other team.

Pivot – a blocker that can receive the star helmet cover and become the new jammer if needed. They wear a striped helmet cover.

Power jam – only one team’s jammer is on the track.

Star pass – where the jammer passes the star helmet cover to the pivot. If the jammer was the lead jammer at the time, they forfeit that position and the full two-minute round is played.

Track – an oval-shaped loop that derby is played on.

Safety gear

This is the gear that NHRD requires each of its players use.

• “Quad” style roller skates (inline skates are not allowed) — There are places that specialize in selling roller derby equipment, like Bruised Boutique (522 Amherst St., Nashua). Wear the skates that fit best, because improperly fitting skates can hold a player back and increase risk of injury.

• Dual certified helmet — Because while there isn’t a helmet that can prevent concussions, good helmets can help minimize injury.

• Mouth guard — The brand SISU is one that is easy to breathe through and allows the wearer to communicate with teammates.

• Hard protective shell/insert elbow pads — They should have a snug, comfortable fit, because elbow pads often last longer than other protective gear.

• Hard protective shell/insert knee pads— Get ones that are cushioned for function over fashion, because skaters land most of their falls on their knees.

• Hard protective shell/insert wrist guards — They should provide good palm and stable wrist protection, because hand and wrist injuries are fairly common due to players’ catching themselves.

Featured photo: Nicole “Punky” Mavrogeorge Wehry makes plans to evade Maine Roller Derby’s blockers as she skates into the fray. Photo by Todd Grzywacz.

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