A roller derby player from Saanich is on her way to Manchester, England to compete in this week’s Roller Derby World Cup. Vicky Zdancewicz, known by her derby name Rage, has been chosen as a member of Team Indigenous.
“I was completely blown away and honoured and flabbergasted and shocked that I would be given this opportunity,” said Rage. “To be the first skater from Vancouver Island to compete in the World Cup, it’s an incredible honour.”
Not only is this a first for the island, but this is a first for Indigenous people on a world stage. This is the first time roller derby, or any sport, has included an all-Indigenous team. Team Indigenous features 20 members from Canada, The United States, Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand. “The mission and purpose of Team Indigenous Roller Derby is to unite the Indigenous roller derby community representing the proud once-borderless communities of their ancestral lands on these continents,” said Rage whose grandmother is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation of Northern Saskatchewan
Rage has been playing the sport for nine years ever since she saw a match at Eagle Ridge Community Center in Langford. “I thought, I’ve never played a contact sport before, I don’t know how to roller skate,” said Rage, “but I know I want to try that, so let’s do it.” Her tendency to fall over earned her the nickname Tumbleweed upon first joining the Eves of Destruction but she trained hard and within six months she made their charter team. She’s been playing ever since.
Rage is a mother of two. Her children, seven and three years old, will not be travelling with her to Manchester but will be cheering her on from home. “They are so proud of me,” said Rage. “They’ve been there every step of the way, brought me ice packs out of the freezer to soothe my sore muscles, and stroked my head and told me it’s all going to be OK when I’m crying, really frustrated. They know that I can do it so I know I can do it.”
Rage describes her training as dynamic. She practices roller derby every day, running drills with her teammates, and supplements that training with powerlifting, kickboxing, gymnastics, calisthenics, cross fit, body weight workouts, running, swimming, and boxing. “Roller derby is such a dynamic sport and your body is asked of so many things in the moment that I wanted to keep confusing my body in my training,” said Rage who will play the position of jammer, the player who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. “That’s why my training has been so all over the place: to create muscle confusion and make me a stronger faster more powerful skater. I’ve done my homework and put the work in and I’m ready for Worlds.”
The Roller Derby World Cup takes place Feb. 1-4 in Manchester, England. Team Indigenous is one of 38 teams competing for the cup. You can watch online here: http://rollerderbyworldcup.com/live-stream/.