SUQUAMISH — Growing up in Kitsap County, Misty Nicolet Greer remembers watching television as a young child and becoming completely enthralled by roller derby.
It’s a sport that today few know much about, though it was initially popular around the time of its creation in 1940s. With its revival and growing popularity in the 21st century, it was not too late for Greer to make good on a childhood dream.
Next month, Greer will be representing the United States at the first-ever Roller Games World Championships in China, where she will be competing against the best roller derby athletes from Japan, Spain and Australia in the sport’s own version of the Olympics.
“It’s a team sport, which I love,” said Greer, who now lives in California and skates for Silicon Valley Roller Girls and Misery Loves Company in San Jose. “It’s very underground, it’s all-inclusive — you don’t have to be a specific body type to play. We have women who never played sports before, we have transgender women, like I said we’re all inclusive. And it’s a full contact sport on roller skates, it’s so much fun.”
The North Kitsap gradaute began her journey in roller derby in 2004 when the Rat City Rollergirls league was founded in Seattle. Already an adult with two young children, she decided to give her long-held aspiration a chance.
An athlete her whole life, Greer quickly took to the sport, though it would have been impossible to fathom that she would one day lace up her skates for her country.
But after successfully completing tryouts this past March, the United States National Team came calling for the girl known by her roller derby name Pia Mess (say it slowly) and fittingly wears the number 24/7.
“It’s still pretty surreal,” said Greer. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years and with a lot of hard work and dedication, if you really put your mind to it, your dreams really do come true.”
Unfortunately, following her dream will come at a financial cost. The skaters are funding much of the trip themselves outside of the money provided by Team USA for uniforms and the opening ceremonies.
In order to help with these expenses, Greer set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $5,000 before she flies to China in late August.
As of press time, a total of $3,145 had been donated.
“It helps me cover the logisitics,” explained Greer. The flight there is pretty expensive and we are there for ten days, so things like hotels, food, traveling by train from one city to the next, are not covered.”
Greer and her teammates will skate against Australia on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. local time, which is midnight (the beginning on Sept. 2) in the pacific time zone. The USA will then face off against Span on Sunday, Sept. 3 at noon local time (9 p.m. the previous day in Washington) and then Japan at 5 p.m. local time (2 a.m. in Washington).
“I’m going in confident, our team is really amazing,” said Greer. “We have some of the best skaters in the United States, so I’m confident that we’re going to go in and do our best.”
If you would like to donate to Greer’s GoFundMe campaign, visit her page at this address: https://www.gofundme.com/piamessteamusa
To watch Team USA via livestream in action and for more information about the Roller Games World Championship event, go to https://www.rollerevents.org/nanjing-2017/?fref=gc.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for the Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.