WFTDA Champs: A Tale of Two Daughters

WFTDA Champs: A Tale of Two Daughters Angel City at Playoffs in Omaha. Photo by Tim Dicey.

As the most of the Derby Community watched the D1 playoffs in Omaha on, I had the opportunity to be onsite watching the action, snapping a few photos, and meeting new folks from this ever expanding derby community. I met Tim Dicey who was cheering for and pointing his camera at Angel City. Not long after he told me his daughter played for Angel City he described a possible conflictual outcome of Angel’s performance in Omaha.


“If Angel goes to Champs” he said, “it’s possible I will have both my daughters playing one another.” What seemed like a funny but unlikely outcome at the time came to fruition and Tim Dicey and his wife Donna will each have to wear two (figurative) hats on Friday. Astrid Suchy-Dicey aka “Belle Tolls” (Rat City) and Sienna Gilliam aka “Chica­ Go­ Lightning” (Angel City) will have their parents in the stands in St. Paul cheering for both sides.

I asked Tim to answer a few questions: Who are you, how did you get into derby, how did your daughters find derby, who do you root for in a situation like this? ( You know, the standard things we all need to know, but from a parent’s point of view ). Here is what he sent:

I originate from an English village outside of London. I came to the USA in 1978 after working in Africa and The Middle East for a number of years. I have an education in physics, math, geology and geophysics. I worked for 17 years in oil exploration before a major career change to becoming an artist and photographer. During the past 30 years I have painted landscapes in oils and created charcoal portraits. For the past few years I have worked primarily as a photographic artist.

I have been blessed with being able to enjoy a wide variety of photographic opportunities from our trips worldwide to weddings to portraits and a few roller derby tournaments. As a professional artist I use photography as a creative tool. I have always enjoyed swimming and was competitive in high school. Fitness has always been an important part of my lifestyle. I swim (although nothing like as much as I used to), I enjoy tennis, and work out in the gym several times a week.

Chica Go Lightning jams against Minnesota in Omaha. Photo by her father, Tim Dicey.

Sienna Gilliam aka “Chica Go Lightning” jams against Minnesota in Omaha. Photo by her father, Tim Dicey.

Donna grew up here in Iowa and has an education in physics, math, engineering and law. She is now a patent attorney at Rockwell Collins. Donna and I met while working as a physics teacher with Peace Corp in Ghana (West Africa). We have lived in Las Cruces NM, Midland TX, Lafayette LA, Edmond OK, Rochester NY and now we are in Cedar Rapids IA. Donna also has a sports background. She ran track and cross country in high school, basketball and fencing at the University of Iowa and regularly runs and visits the gym. She has run a number of marathons, although not so much lately.

All of our children have had sports interests since they could first run in road races in Midland TX. Astrid (Belle), played soccer, ran, and played volleyball. Sienna (Chica), ran and was a competitive swimmer. Donna and I always tried to be at the games and meets to cheer them on. Donna and I knew very little about roller derby until Sienna became interested while she was living in Seattle and continued when she moved to LA. Astrid started after she moved to Seattle. There was a month or so overlap when they were both in Seattle. They both love the sport and the necessary level of fitness it requires to be at the ‘top of their game’.

We are thrilled that they can be competitive in a game that is so community ­based, one that has organically grown by the work of so many. We see what the roller derby community has done in Seattle, LA, and in other cities and are excited to see what it will be able to do in the future. A grounds up organization like WFTDA is an amazing thing to watch grow and we are thrilled to see what it will become. Even our son­-in­-law, Jay, has done his undergraduate and graduate work on the phenomena of roller derby, as well as supported and introduced his wife, Chica, to it many years ago.

Astrid Suchy-Dicey aka  "Belle Tolls" skates for Rat City Rollergirls. Photo by Danny Ngan Photography.

Astrid Suchy-Dicey aka”Belle Tolls” skates for Rat City Rollergirls. Photo by Danny Ngan Photography.

We go to bouts and tournaments whenever possible and were thrilled to see both teams in the 2013 Championship in Milwaukee. But if nothing else we try and see them on WFTDA TV. The sport is exciting and thrilling to watch. We both find ourselves twitching, and trying to move for them in our seats! (As if such movement would help them on the track.) Like any physical/contact sport, as a parent it is sometimes hard to watch. Astrid considers us to be akin to the Williams parents for this upcoming tournament! We support and will cheer them both and so will probably not wear a team shirt.

A special thanks to Tim and Donna Dicey for taking the time to answer these questions, and to all the teams competing this weekend, in particular Rat City and Angel City. A very big “Good Luck” as we are all looking forward to it!

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