Wilkes Barre, Pa, September 23, 2011: Vanessa Sites aka V-Diva was selected for a final roster position to represent Team USA in the first Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup to be held December 2-4, 2011 at the Bunker in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Besting hundreds of hopefuls from across the country, she has earned one of 28 highly coveted roster spots. This will be her first international competition and she will be facing skaters on teams from around the globe all competing to become the World Champion of this marquee event.
From humble beginnings to roller derby’s biggest stage, Vanessa Sites aka V-Diva, has proven that raw talent and fierce determination can truly take an individual athlete far. Poised to compete with and against roller derby’s elite for Team USA in the inaugural World Roller Derby Cup, V-Diva’s story is one that is a study in dedication.
The roller derby world cup is an attempt to gain the international athletic community’s attention while proving once again that women’s flat track roller derby is indeed a legitimate athletic sport. This first of its kind event is scheduled to be held December 2 – 4, 2011 at The Bunker in Toronto, Canada and will feature teams representing nations as far flung as Sweden and New Zealand.
Vanessa Sites, known in roller derby circles as V-Diva has paved a long road to reach this pinnacle of her career. V-Diva, currently skating as a member of Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Dutchland Derby Rollers has consistently been a standout performer on every team she has played for during her storied career. Always a fan favorite, she combines beauty, elegance, pure athleticism and keen intelligence on and off the track to combine for an unstoppable presence.
Vanessa (V-Diva) is a small town girl, hailing from Towanda, PA and currently residing in Wilkes Barre. She began her roller derby career with the Coal City Rollers in 2008. She was discovered by Lyndsey Bendrick (Panty Ho) while at a local bar discussing dancing for a then upcoming talent show. Lyndsey felt that Vanessa would be a natural for the growing sport of roller derby and she suggested that Vanessa check it out.
Vanessa followed Lyndsey’s advice and looked into roller derby; it was a natural fit for this accomplished dancer and a return to her earlier roots of speed skating as a young girl. Vanessa attended Coal City’s try-outs the following Monday after meeting Lyndsey. Initially she did not make the cut, but her interest was piqued and she continued pushing herself toward her goal of making the team.
Hampering her efforts was the fact that she did not own her own skates and was relying solely on rental skates, which are not designed for roller derby. She persisted and saved enough money to enable her to purchase her own roller derby skates. After about a month she made the team and V-Diva was born.
Vanessa’s name was chosen by her first coach Marc Bellopede (Big Daddy) of Coal City, he took one glance at the well coiffed Vanessa, with her perfect hair and make-up and remarked she was a “Diva” and hence V-Diva became her derby name.
V-Diva next had to decide upon a number and she chose 18 since it had always been her favorite number since childhood. For Diva the number 18 represents the ideal age to remain forever, when life is fun with little worry. She is now wearing number 1818 with Dutchland as 18 is presently in use. As Diva puts it, “1818 is double amazing!”
Vanessa was born and spent her early childhood in Ocala, Florida just north of Orlando and she moved to Pennsylvania with her family when she was 16. She graduated with honors in 2003 from Towanda High School.
Following her HS graduation she attended Johnson College in Scranton, PA where she received her degree in Architecture. She also attended Keystone College and majored in Elementary Education where she earned an Associate’s Degree.
During her college career she briefly returned to Orlando where she worked at Walt Disney World for a year as a dancer on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom as part of the Disney College Program. An accomplished dancer, Vanessa has no formal training in dance she is entirely self taught via watching and mimicking music videos.
She skated with Coal City until they disbanded and seeking a new outlet for her roller derby career V-Diva and teammate Nicki Regan (Tantrum) discussed the possibility of forming a new team in the Wilkes Barre area. They contacted Bruce Fairchild owner of Triple 6 Tattoos and the Wilkes Barre Roller Radicals were formed. Several skaters from Coal City joined the Roller Radicals in September of 2009.
Bruce was in charge of the business aspect of the Roller Radicals while Vanessa and Nicki handled training, recruitment duties and skating as founders of the team. Once the team was established Vanessa looked into obtaining WFTDA certification, but the league voted against becoming a WFTDA sanctioned team.
Vanessa’s goal was to compete against the best teams and players and without WFTDA; she knew that she would not have that opportunity. Always looking to push herself further she followed her derby wife Rebecca Klime (Evol Kitty) and joined the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls (LVRG) a WFTDA sanctioned team based out of Schnecksville, PA.
She skated with them for a couple of years but once again she felt the need to push herself to another level. She started there as a skater and eventually became a coach and inter-league coordinator. She felt she had reached the highest point in her career there and decided to make another move.
She currently skates with the Dutchland Derby Rollers in Lancaster, PA and has been with them since August of this year. After making Team USA she realized that she needed to be tested in new and different areas and Dutchland offered what she was seeking.
Looking back, the transformation of Vanessa Sites to V-Diva, final roster member of Team USA, has been a steady progression from scrawny 22 year old to a fit and poised 26 year old world class competitor. Each step along her journey has been a logical progression, increasing the challenges along the way.
V-Diva has crafted her identity and “brand” and is well known throughout derby circles for being a smart player and a standout on the track. This tall blonde who is fond of glitter, glamour, rhinestones and style, possesses a star quality; once you’ve seen her skate, you won’t forget her.
She has an uncanny ability to read a pack of opposing skaters and makes the task of scoring points look easy. Known as being nice off the track, she is a tough opponent on it. She pushes herself harder at every opportunity and also encourages her teammates to work hard in return. She is the cream of the crop and those around her can rise to the top by her example and leadership.
“Roller Derby is my life, I live and breathe it,” she has said many times when asked about her love for this sport. Her dedication is unparalleled. Traveling almost 3 hours each way to attend practice 4 times a week is a huge commitment that few would be willing to make for a sport in which the athletes pay to play.
“You only live once, money doesn’t buy happiness and I feel that I had better do it now instead of doing it later in life. I am not at my peak yet, I think I won’t be at my peak for awhile so I keep pushing harder and harder to get up to that.”
“From being 22 getting into roller derby, I see girls who are in their 40s and 50s who are still playing. I am going to play as long as my body lets me.”
When asked where she hopes to see the future of roller derby she responded that she would like to see more junior leagues and roller derby included as a sport in the schools. “It can keep kids healthy and out of trouble. You get to hit somebody and take that aggression out. When I get frustrated, I can go play derby and get it out. I can get that hit out without getting in trouble for it. You’re getting that speed out, getting that hit and you feel good about it. It’s a sport too, you are getting exercise and making lasting friendships.”
“That sisterhood of derby is always there for you. We spend so many hours a day together. We live and breathe it.”
The significance of the World Cup to V-Diva is not only being able to compete against the best skaters in the world, it is also an opportunity to be a part of an historic event; the first ever World Championship in modern roller derby.
V-Diva the small town girl is about to get to her biggest stage to date in roller derby. Never playing nationals or regional matches, being self taught and skating in small leagues to a world class event; she hopes to inspire other skaters on small teams to set the bar high for themselves. If one wants it bad enough, it is a dream that can be attained.
Not every girl can be a Queen, but she can be a Diva if she has the desire and dedication of Vanessa Sites.
V-Diva would like to recognize and thank the following individuals and organizations for their support and assistance without which she could never have made it to the World Cup:
State College Area Rollers
Lehigh Valley Roller Girls
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals
Skyland Roller Girls
Jerzey Derby Brigade
Eerie Roller GirlsDutchland Derby Girls
Ocala Cannibal Roller Derby
Gainesville Roller Rebels
Lake Erie Derby Dames
Brandywine Roller Girls
The Entire Sites Family (Who don’t have much money but give me their all)
Lyndsey Bendrick AKA Panty Ho
Coach of Coal City Rollers Marc Bellopede AKA Big Daddy
Derby Wife Rebecca Klime AKA Evol Kitty
Maria Alfred-Davis AKA Twisted-Destini
Dutchland coach Merv Yoffee AKA Merv the Perv
Co-Founders WB/Scranton Nicki Regan AKA Tantrum and Bruce
My Amazing Boyfriend Joe Luczak
All My Fans, Friends and Derby Sisters
LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
SUPPORT AND SPONSORSHIP
V-Diva seeks sponsors to help her attend the 2011 Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. If interested in making a contribution, you may mail a check or money order to:
Vanessa Sites AKA V-Diva
P.O. Box 4371
Lancaster, PA 17604-4371
You may also contribute online safely and securely via PayPal by visiting her official fundraising site: http://vdivateamusa.chipin.com/v-diva-need-your-help
The information contained here was written and copyrighted 2011 by Deb Boylan. If interested in booking V-Diva for personal appearances or interviews please contact The Corner Seat at: 610-570-0711 or email us at: email@example.com