Photo credit: Adrian Valenzuela
Pia Mess is a woman of many talents. She came to SVRG from Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls (after a brief tenure with San Francisco’s ShEvil Dead) and has rocked our world as both player and coach. She is a terrifying blocker with the power to knock you on your ass and the agility to hover and cage you like an animal. She also frequently dons the jammer cap, and the combination of her speed, grace, and power often yields the highest scoring jams of the bout. Her wide-ranging talents on the track make her an effective coach, where her extensive experience helps cultivate SVRG’s strategies. She is also renowned for her killer endurance practices where many a Silicon Valley Roller Girl has fulfilled the motto, “Skate ’til you puke…and then keep skating.”
How did you get into roller derby?
I used to watch it on TV with my dad when I was around 6. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say “a roller derby queen” (either that or a solid gold dancer). Here is a TV show they did about me.
What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?
As for skating skills, I was just your average weekend rink rat. I did play soccer at a very high competitive level for about 32 years; I think that helped a lot.
How did you derive your derby name?
For the first 3 months of my derby career, I was actually “Jenna Taylia.” But then I couldn’t figure out how I would explain that to my kids, so I came up with Pia Mess.
What is your primary position?
I think I play all positions equally well. [Ed. note: Truth! You should see this girl’s stats!]
What is your greatest strength as a skater?
I bring 5 years experience, strategy, and track smarts. I am also good at playing mind games with competitors.
What is your favorite derby memory?
Winning Nationals with Rat City.
Pia skated with the Sockit Wenches and the Rat City All-Stars. Left, as a Sockit Wench (photo credit: Michael Coyote); right, as an All-Star (photo-credit: Joe Schwartz).
What kind of injuries have you incurred during your career?
I have dislocated my jaw twice. I have had one concussion, a torn PCL , lots of rink rash, and some of my SVRG teammates gave me a black eye.
Who are your favorite derby skaters?
A former league mate from Rat City, Carmen Getsome. She has mad skillz, determination, and athletisism. My other favorite is again a former Rat City teammate, Sassy Chassis. She is the nicest, happiest person I know.
Who’s your biggest fan?
I think I have 2. The first one is Lilly Lightning from the Seattle Derby Brats, and the second is my good friend Eric. [Ed. note: Pia is also the only SVRG skater with her own Facebook fan page.]
What’s your favorite thing about SVRG?
SVRG is like a second family to me. I moved down here not knowing anyone and they were all sooo nice and so welcoming and took me under their wings. In turn, I kick their asses! Derby Love 🙂
How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?
By day, I am a stay at home mom who runs a travel business out of my house. Need a vacation? I’ll hook you up!
Pia says farewell. Photo credit: Michael Coyote