Meet the All-Stars Captains

OVRD skater and newsletter editor, Kim Slambell, sat down with the co-captains of OVRD’s WFTDA Charter team: the All-Stars. Listen in as Magi Reyes (Reyes, #16) and Robyn Bishop (Nerdie Birdie, #1812) discusses their derby histories and the team’s 2018 season.


Kim Slambell: Let’s start with your plans for the team in the upcoming season.

Robyn Bishop: First thing is to get the Code of Conduct done. There’s already a league Code of Conduct, but this one’s for the team.

Magi Reyes: I think, generally, the all-star team is a more high-stress situation, so you have to lay down ground rules. We also travel, so like if I say I’m going to be there at 6 o’clock, I don’t show up at 9:30. You would think it would be common sense, but it’s not always, so you just write it down, and people sign it and say “okay.”

RB: The goal is just to do the best that we can do; try and manage two teams coming together the best we can.

KS: Is it going well?

RB: So far.

MR: Everyone’s on their best behaviour right now…

RB: What’s it called? We’re in the forming stage. There’s actually a whole sequence of phases. It’s forming, storming, norming, performing. You go through being nice, then you start fighting, and then you get over the fighting and you start naturalizing, being normal, and then you start being cohesive.

MR: I think we need to force that fighting thing to happen sooner.

RB: Force it to happen sooner, and force it to happen quickly. Picking fights would seem like it’s against your code of conduct…

MR: We don’t have a code of conduct yet. We’re doing it for the team! (To be clear, that was a joke.)

KS: How long have you been playing derby, and how did you get started?

MR: I’ve been playing derby for nine years. I don’t wanna say it was Whip It, but I did see Whip It, and then I saw a local game, and I’m like, “This is pretty cool.”

RB: This is my fifth season, which is a long time too now. I started in Alberta and then transferred here two years ago. I also saw something on TV, a weight-loss show on Slice called X-Weighted, and the girl was from Calgary, and she did banked track.

KS: What’s your favourite thing about derby?

MR: I don’t think it’s derby-specific for me, I just like to challenge myself to do the best that I can at everything. There’s always things to improve on.

RB: I like the community, too, that comes with derby. It’s a feeling of belonging to something, which you don’t get in a lot of sports.

MR: Yeah, that’s true. I played soccer and I didn’t really feel like part of the community. You’re kind of drawn into it more in derby. I don’t know why.

RB: Because you’re forced to participate in the league, whereas my previous sports, softball and field hockey, you just go to your games, you’re not involved in making the league run in any way.

KS: What’s your worst injury so far?

MR: Nothing bad. I fell on my tailbone really hard a while ago and that acted up for like three years. In my first year — I think I was still in fresh meat [now called Roller Derby 101] — I fell on my knee, and my knee swelled to like twice its size and turned every colour imaginable, and it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen.

KS: Did you show it to people?

MR: Oh, yeah. I had pictures of it on Facebook. I’m actually a little upset that I’ve never gotten a black eye. Every time I get hit in the face, I’m like “I’m going to get a black eye!” But I don’t. I get a lot of bruises on my arms and stuff, but I’ve never gotten one on my face, and I get hit in the face quite a bit. I’m always kind of hoping, a little bit, that I’m going to get a black eye.

RB: Yeah, tailbone thing was the same for me. First game or something, it aggravated my sciatic as well, which was an old injury. I guess that’s derby related but also an old injury from high school.

KS: How do people react when you tell them you do roller derby?

MR: People don’t seem to understand that roller derby is different from rollerblading. People keep asking, “so, you still doing that rollerblading?” Even my parents do that, and they’ve seen me play.

RB: Generally it’s like “Oh, you do this?” [miming an elbow to the face]

MR: Also, Skinny Minnie Miller. Do they say that to you?

RB: Oh, yeah.

MR: That was like forty years ago.

KS: Robyn, how did you come up with the name “Nerdie Birdie”?

RB: Well, I wear glasses, my name is a bird…

KS: Your name is a bird!

MR: Oh, I never thought of that!

RB (laughing at both of us for just figuring this out this second): I’m a bit of a nerd, and it just reasonably fit with my name.

MR: I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

KS: What sorts of things do you do when you’re not at derby?

MR: I try things. I’m not good at anything. All the teams I’m on, they’re like, “Magi’s not allowed to try stuff” because I hurt myself randomly doing other things. I do stupid things like I do “parkour” when I’m walking, like “I’m going to jump off this curb!” and then I hurt myself. Take the skates off me, I’m the clumsiest.

RB: You do fall a lot in derby, too.

MR: I do, yeah. Especially when no one’s around. I’m standing there and then just fall.

KS: So what’s next for the All-Stars?

RB: We have a sports psychologist coming in, which I think will help with building the team. Team bonding, how to be a good teammate was the first session, and then after that we’ll see how it goes.

MB: I’m excited for this season. I’m excited for these two groups to come together as one. It is a lot of pressure, but I think that everyone understands that this first year is gonna be kind of a mess, so, if nobody dies, [then it’s a] good job, captains!

– fin –

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