Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Hi, my name is Ray-Diation, better known as Ray on and off the track. My number, 208, comes from being born and raised in Idaho, as well as working for Simplot (make sure to eat your potatoes and McDonald’s fries). I had never heard of roller derby until I was invited to a bout in 2017. I instantly fell in love and knew I had to play. There was only one problem: I didn’t know how to skate. I was absolutely thrilled and terrified, all at once. More about this later (who doesn’t like a good teaser to a story). You see me on the track and in bout photos, but who really is Rachel, behind the Ray-Diation persona? Let’s start from the beginning.
I was raised by the kindest/most loving people, Mama and Papa Ray. I have two older brothers, Josh and Jeremy, whom are equally as great. I have nine nieces and nephews: Austin, Tezman, Alliee, Mayson, Nathan, Ashley, Emma, Ryhann, and Rose. Say that three times fast. Family continues to be a huge part of my life.
When I was not spending time with family, I was doing something athletic. I competed on competitive clogging teams from age 7 to 18. Clogging is sort of like tap dancing, but better (no bias here). Clogging led me to my best friend and my first job. At 15, I became a clogging instructor and choreographer (yes, I used to dance for my money). I also played softball, volleyball, and basketball throughout school.
Academics have also been of great importance. I received many academic awards in high school, including the United Dairymen of Idaho’s Distinguished Student Award (you may be able to locate my video on channel 7’s website) and was featured in the STAT sheet (the flyers at local restaurants that highlighted local high school seniors). I was also Valedictorian of my high school graduating class.
I completed my undergraduate studies at Northwest Nazarene University, beginning as a math major, and then, after several semesters deciding I wanted to have a greater purpose in life than solving math problems (I still love math!). I dropped my entire course schedule, and enrolled in the only available classes. I finally found myself with social work. I wanted to “save the world” (as cliché as it sounds). I graduated in the top 5% of my class, with highest honors, Summa Cum Laude, Rho Gamma, and Phi Delta Lambda and participated in a few internships.
When I was not attending classes, interning, or finishing homework, I was working. I had a few jobs throughout college, my favorite being a developmental therapy technician, providing therapy to children and adults with developmental disabilities. This was the kick off to my passion for people.
Some of the best moments in my life occurred during college. I met two life-long friends, exchange students from South Korea, and had the privilege to be their roommate. I traveled with a group of students to China, and visited Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing. I now consider myself an expert with chopsticks. I climbed the Great Wall, visited the Terracotta Warriors, walked through Chinese gardens, learned Mandarin Chinese (I only remember a few words – the bad ones, of course), ate far too many dumplings, used squatty potties, and had many Chinese parents request pictures of me with their children. I felt like a celebrity. Later, I found out that they really only liked my long, blonde hair, and that most had never seen someone like me (blonde and pale – and I always thought I needed to be tan, who knew?). What an experience! I also traveled to South Korea to visit my once college roommates! I visited Seoul and Busan: ate yummy food, met my roommates’ families, wore traditional Korean clothes, and was a typical tourist and visited the Gangnam district (yes, like the song).
Upon obtaining my Bachelor’s in Social Work, I realized that a Bachelor's degree in this field was not enough. I decided to attend graduate school. It seemed only fitting to continue my journey at NNU, studying mental health counseling. I completed my Master’s degree in 13 months, while working full-time and completing a 1000-hour internship, which equated to a part-time job. I interned at a substance abuse treatment facility, providing group and individual therapy to inpatient and outpatient clients, and federal inmates. I graduated with high honors, Phi Delta Lambda, and in the top 5% of my class.
During this time, I also taught group exercise classes as a Zumba instructor for a couple gyms. I later went on to obtain certifications in a HIIT format and Surfset (exercise that engages the core with a faux surfboard). I no longer teach group exercises class because of derby (still have to wait… teaser).
After grad school, I started working as a Mental Health Clinician, specializing in working with children and adolescents, but quickly realized that this was not a good fit for me. This was one of the most challenging times of my life. I heard so many disheartening stories and felt like I couldn’t do anything to help my clients. I struggled to leave work at work and it became too much, and was unhealthy for my personal well-being. What kept me grounded during this time was derby (here is what you have been waiting for J).
Derby came at the perfect time in my life. I had recently broken free from a very long, unhealthy, and abusive relationship. After years of being told I was not good enough, I was at the lowest I have ever been in my life, had no self-confidence, was depressed, and knew I needed something to help lift the fog. I fully believe that God places things/people into your life when you need them most; derby is no exception (I also believe He knew I needed to hit something/somebody).
Remember when I said I didn’t know how to skate? I really didn’t. You wouldn’t know that now, but boy howdy was I bad! I remember my mom telling me after drafting that she initially didn’t know if I would ever draft after first seeing me skate when I started fresh meat (Thanks, mom J). I became a drafter member of Beet City in October 2017.
What a ride it has been! Some of my favorite moments of my first drafted season are making the charter team, as well as being awarded Most Valuable Blocker and Rookie of the Year. Most derby players have a derby wife (derby jargon for you BFF on the team). I choose to have derby moms; same concept as a derby wife, but a different title and less pressure! So far, I have three: Jaxx of All Rage, Spitten Kitten, and most recently BB Hellcat.
The 2019 season has been quite the adventure thus far! I have decided to improve my jamming skills. My goal as a jammer is to use what I have learned as a blocker to my advantage (I really like to hit people – all in good fun, of course). BB Hellcat is my jamming inspiration. I have increased and intensified my workouts to become a more successful jammer. I frequently weight lift and run every day. I’m currently on day 124 of running (as of 4/17/19), and I plan to run every day until I reach 365 days (I’m competitive, even with myself).
When I’m not skating, I spend most of my free time with family, including my daughter, 1 ½ year old kitten (yes, I still think of her as a kitten), Winnie. Winnie goes with me everywhere, and loves car rides! I also love to bake and sell cakes and cupcakes. I love exercising, especially running. Painting and drawing are some of my hidden talents. I’m an adrenaline junkie, and will try anything once (I recommend everyone try skydiving – it’s amazing!).
To follow my life in pictures (mainly of derby, my cat, and baking creations), follow me on Instagram @_raydiation_
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”