A few years ago, my friend Desiree was telling me about her sister who played roller derby. My eyes lit up instantly! Oh, I had spent many a day and night at Stardust Roller Rink in Richmond and my dream job, besides possibly being Julie McCoy on the Love Boat, was to be a roller skating waitress in a Diner. Oh, I had high goals……………….
I sought this roller derby team out and was soon watching these awesome and brave women skate around the flat track in Abbotsford. I could be heard saying “I could do that!” So, I pulled out my skates and hit the local rink, who offered skating in the summer months. While skating one Friday night, I was approached by a skinny little thing called Pony Ride, who apparently played roller derby for this same team. She told me “come and join us. You won’t regret it”.
So, I took my white boot skates with fat red wheels off to my first roller derby practice – this was no fresh meat practice, this was a league-wide practice. To say it was intimidating was like the understatement of the year. Anyone who has gone off to the first roller derby practice where there are 40 experienced roller derby players whizzing around the track like its nothing, knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I had absolutely no clue what to do, so just tried to look like I belonged. I was instantly hooked and joined their fresh meat group. It was here that I first saw Mya Diction up close and personal! Wow, was about all I could muster while I did my best to impress the coaches, her being one of them. Oh, such fond memories.
Well, now Mya has become a friend and she has created something truly unique and awesome – The Free Agents Roller Derby Team. I sat down with Mya recently to ask her all about her derby life, to give everyone a bit of background to this awesome skater.
Hey Mya, can you tell us how the Free Agents started and what your vision is for the future.
~ Somehow, there has to be a blance in live… work. life, family, derby… I was finding it hard to juggle all the commitments in my life so I made the difficult decision to leave the Mainland Misfits. BUT… it was tough to leave the sport I loved and the people that had become such an important part of my life. There had to be some middle ground where people could be athletes and not be expected to run a business. No dues, no meetings, no committees… Derby.. made fun and easy to be a part of… Have you ever heard of someone quitting derby because they play in too many bouts?? NEVER!! Burnout has nothing to do with skating.
The Free Agents have only 4 simple rules:
1. Don’t be an Ass
2. Stay fit and up-to-date with current derby strategy
3. Refer to rule #1
4. We have the opportunity to skate with some amazing teams. Never, ever share a teams strategy with anyone outside of that team..
We are probably the fastest growing team in BC. Six weeks ago, we had about 20 skaters. Today… 45!!!
At our practice last week, we had skaters from 9 different teams!! That is the future of derby. Two years ago it would have been unheard of… it still is in some leagues. Unfortunately, some people in leagues feel a sense of “ownership” over the skaters in their leagues and restrict who and when they can skate. We operate under the premise that More Derby is GREAT Derby!
I have some great memories from roller derby, what is your fondest roller derby moment?
~ When I started with the Vixens, we didn’t skate with the vets. As Fresh Meat we skated and trained on our own. Once we had passed all of our skills we became “true” Vixens. This was commemorated at a celebration. During the celebration we were called up individually, congratulated and given a necklace. On the chain hangs a skate bearing. I still have mine. I worked so hard and so long for that honor. Boot Kick Her made them herself I think. Since then, I honored all my new team members with the same gift.
I began skating in Rainbow socks
. What colour socks do you wear?
-We are all about the socks aren’t we? I have about a dozen different color socks. Started with pink and black for the Vixens… My collection has grown to include colors for all the amazing teams I have the pleasure of skating with
Often skaters want to be either a jammer or a blocker. What position do you love playing and hate playing?
~ I love playing inside blocker when I have a stron person to my right, like Snarly. I very strongly dislike to Jam. Funny how I started out wanting to be nothing but a Jammer BUt now I know the fun is in the pack.
Yeah, that’s me and Mya, jamming!
In the short time that I have been involved with roller derby, it has changed a lot. What do you see as the future of roller derby?
~ My goal is to raise public awareness of the sport and to promote and portray the sport of Roller Derby as the high-adrenaline, fast-paced, hard-hitting and high action sport that it is! Creating fans along the way by showing the highest quality events with strong rivalries and top athletes. I have had many recent conversations with media to understand what it will take to have Roller Derby reported on as a sport vs. our events being mentioned as public service announcements or worse yet… paid for by the league. During our season, which runs approx from April to August (due to limited arean time – damn hockey and lacrosse!!) there isn’t a weekend that goes by without at least one roller derby bout! We have rules, National and International standings. Roller Derby is fun, family friendly and affordable. Roller Derby will become a house-hold name once again, reported on as a sport.
Coaches kick our ass all the time. Who is your favorite coach?
~ Oh… this is a tough one… There are so many people that have formally and informally taught me along the way. I have three: Stan DaSide, Noah Backtalk (sorry Jeff, you will always be Noah to me ;)), Deathtrap Diva.
, Derby Widows……… Do you have a derby wife and if so, who is it?
~ Proud to say it is Percy Galore xoxoxo
What is your one piece of advice to a rookie?
~ To get the most out of the sports, cross-train and practice OUTSIDE of regular derby practice!
The Free Agents bring the exciting sport of Roller Derby to the Poirier Center in Coquitlam
on Friday, August 3rd from 6.30pm. Get your tickets from Soda Shoppe Skates in Abbotsford or Brown Paper Tickets online. Check out the Free Agents website for all the details.