Girls between the ages of eight and 17 are getting an early start at roller derby with the Brewcity Micro Bruisers.
They may look cute and sound sweet, but on the track, Nacho Gurl, Maddy Mayhem and Vicious Vangogh are bruisers — Micro Bruisers.
“I just love hitting people on the rink,” said Celie Koneazny who goes by Johnny Death. “It's so much fun and it's a really great way to like let everything out.”
“It was kind of cool because it was only girls which made it feel more relatable,” said Lily Kent, who goes by the name Sonic Boom. “I feel like it's meant for me because it's really good and it's really cool.”
Some girls are learning to skate, while others have been competing for several years.
“It's hard when you're playing to be the one person that's doing your one job,” Johnny Death explained. “You have to be aware of everything and I think that's the hardest part of derby, being aware of everything but still be aware of yourself.”
As the jammer, it’s your job to get through the pack or blockers. There are eight total blockers, four blockers on each team. If the jammer passes the blockers, they earn points for their team.
“It's been kind of interesting because there's a lot of skating skills that require significant physical strength and these girls really have to work at gaining that strength because it's not something that comes naturally,” coach Emily Reimholz, also known as Schoolhouse Rock, says.
It may not come naturally, but it’s something they develop, just like their derby names. So what about those names?
“Ah, the names, very unique,” Sonic Boom said. “Each name has their own unique taste. Like they can be clever, they can be random, they can be a video game. It doesn't matter. As long as it's what you want and what you like.”
“I started out and I had no idea what I was doing,” Johnny Death described. “The only thing I had was my name and I was like super proud of it so I think that was what really helped me like stay confident. I had something. I had someone I had to be. I had to be Johnny Death.”
You can see the Micro Bruisers at halftime during the Brewcity Bruisers Bout Saturday, March 12 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Their next bout will be at the beginning of June at BrewHaHa, a three day roller derby?tournament?June 3-5?at the Panther Arena.
For more information or to sign up a girl you know to become a Micro Bruiser, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Their next session starts on April 1. More information also is available at brewcitybruisers.com/junior-derby.