The Brewcity Bruisers: Then, and Now

12
Apr
2011

The Brewcity Bruisers: Then, and Now

(an editorial blogpost by Beelzebelle of Maiden Milwaukee) 


It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I play roller derby, and have for a long time.  It’s part of what makes me who I am.

(A long time = for as long as the Bruisers have been around. Since BCB’s inception, I have been a Bruiser… and I’m pretty proud of this fact.)

For this reason, I feel as though I have a pretty unique and comprehensive perspective when it comes to the evolution of our sport, and the evolution of our league here in MKE. I’d like to talk a bit about that here in this particular installment of the Bruiser Blog. (see also: the Bruiser blog gets editorial, y’all!)

Think back. Think Wayne’s world time travel. It’s 2005, and I find myself at a meeting at Lee’s Luxury Lounge. I’m not there for the meeting… I’m there for the drinks, I just happen to be there during the meeting. My friend who’s bartending says to me… “Hey! There’s this thing they’re doing over there. Rollerskating or derby or something. Wanna check it out?” So I do.

The Bruisers were born via the desire of three women — Molly Cassidy, Cris Siquiera, and Talia Maltz — to bring the sport to Milwaukee. Since derby was burgeoning and growing on a national level these ladies thought that derby should be here in MKE, too. They planned and we all met and then, all the sudden, there we were at IncrediROLL in rented skates with absolutely no idea of what we were doing. None. I fell down, a lot. We didn’t know what it meant to hit, so we kind of just threw ourselves at each other.

In the beginning it was so so exciting. It was hard. We were full of drive and passion and also, we were confused. We were figuring it out as we went. The WFTDA was still in the early stages of its formation, and as the sport is still so new, the evolution of the rules, the practice, and the culture was ridiculously fast-paced by its very nature. As the sport solidified and took hold, so did we. We were admitted to Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. We began traveling. We watched tapes.

You can only learn as you go when you’re forging into uncharted territory. We made mistakes, and we got things right. The theatrical facet of derby culture began to fade. The focus on athleticism became exponential. Now we were skating before over thousand people at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex, regularly. We held workshops with speed skaters now, not wrestlers. Now there were dry-erase boards with Xs and Os. Now we had our own space, and now the community knew who we were. With each season, we saw girls come and we saw girls go, but those of us that stayed saw the sport change and grow. It was, and still is, unbelievable.

Our evolution continues, but as of today, we play at the US Cellular Arena in front of more than 3000 people each month. Today, we’re a positive, driving, well-known organization in our community. Today, our skaters, refs, Beerleaders, and volunteers are committed to a sport that’s truly thriving across the globe. The sport of roller derby has come along way since the Bruisers began, and due to the efforts of so many women in our organization — both currently active and now alumni —our league is as organized as it is powerful, both on and off the track.

I love this game and always have. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I play roller derby, and it’s a part of who I am. I’ve been a rollergirl for a long time, and I plan on being rollergirl for a long time to come.


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