In anticipation of the Brewcity Bruisers’ 2011 home season opener on January 8 at the US Cellular Arena, DJ Hostettler, aka BCB announcer DrAwkward, will preview each home team for ThirdCoast Digest.
Consider for a moment Maiden Milwaukee’s won-loss records in the first four seasons of Brewcity Bruisers roller derby:
“Crafty and quick” sums up the Maidens’ career as a team that operates relatively under the radar (if that’s possible in a 4-team league). They have yet to taste the championship gold that the Crazy 8s and Rushin’ Rollettes have, and it’s hard to argue against the perennial underdog Shevils being the crowd favorites to take it last season (although they also fell short). Still, Maiden Milwaukee has always been a threat to eventually break through and finally claim that first championship, often lead by the crafty, quick scoring of jammers Rejected Seoul and Super Hera.
If the team wants to get back to the championship bout this year, though, they may have to find a better way to facilitate equal team contribution. Last year, the Maidens scored 407 points– but gave up 446. Breaking the scoring down, we discover that Rejected Seoul overwhelmingly lead her team with 173 points, followed far in her rearview by Super Hera’s 76 and Slayerah’s (SLAYERAH!) 57. However, the Maidens did lead the league last year in assists with 81, lending credence to their “one for all” philosophy.
So, what was it—a lack of effective jammers, or something else?
“The cliché is that a jammer is only as strong as her pack, “ says Bionika. “I think that our biggest downfall last season was not that other jammers failed to step up so much as it was our team play not gelling consistently, simply making it harder for our jammers to score. We have much stronger pack work this season, in part due to rotating experienced jammers in and not relying so heavily on so few jammers.”
A rotating class of rookies and veterans will have a hand in keeping that rotation fresh. The Maidens have added several crew members who, according to Bionika, “do not look like rookies the way they’ve been skating.” Fresh brew Crosshair impressed from the jammer line at the league’s recent holiday mixer at Rollaero in Cudahy; she’ll be joined by fellow rookies Anna Maul, Beaker, Bleedin’ Heart, Frank Hurt’r, and House of Pain. Bionika says every rookie will contribute at every position—jammer, blocker, and pivot.
“We will be mixing things up a bit more this year,” says Bionika, “and actually have the most jammer depth of the league—I’d say a good eight that can toe the line with the best in the league. The best thing about our jammers is that they are all also amazing blockers. People are terrified of getting clocked by skaters who can move as fast and cut as hard as these ladies. ”
It’s a good thing the new skaters will be this versatile, because while the Maidens have solid new rookies ready to throw down, they, like every team, have had their share of losses. Gone are jammer/pivot Mandini, blockers Nukly R Assault, Twiztid Velocity and Sexi Mexi, and jammer Rascal, who put in a solid rookie season last year with 49 points. Bionika, however, points out that the veterans’ talents won’t be completely lost, as Mandini, Nukly, and possibly Mexi will be utilized as bench coaches.
Maiden Milwaukee open the 2011 season against a retooled Crazy 8s team hungry to start the season with a victory after a winless 2010. As for 8s blocker Servin’ Justice’s claim that the Maidens had better hope they “are wearing diapers on January 8th,” Bionika simply states, “Well, I study urine marking for a living, so I am something of an expert in this. We are all housebroken, we are not afraid, and we will have no problem keeping it in on the track … except Romo [jammer/blocker Romaniac], who is apt to mark on their legs.”
So apparently the big question for the 8s/Maidens bout is: who’s gonna wet ‘em first, and will it be on purpose? With 3,000 crazed derby fans watching on January 8, one hopes the answer isn’t too embarrassing for anyone.