Recently called “a revelation” by The Apex, Brute is no newcomer to the jam line. We caught up with Brute to learn a bit more about this amazing jammer! We are so excited to see her skate against Rat City in August and also learn a ton of cool jammer tricks from her at Derby Daze!
Tell us a little about your derby history. When did you start? With who? What teams have you been on?
I started skating when I was 17 with the Rose City Rosebuds. I spent a year with them learning the basics before I aged out and transferred to RCR’s training pool, the Rockets, which we used to call Fresh Meat. I spent a few months on the Rockets, during which time I made AOA. A few weeks after that I made the High Rollers. All in all I have been skating for 6 1/2 years.
You’ve recently had a change to your derby name. What prompted the change to just “Brute”?
My old derby name was “Feliz Brutality”, which is a play on the phrase “Police Brutality”. Police brutality isn’t a very funny subject and I decided after a few seasons that it wasn’t something I wanted to make light of.
I’ve also never had strong feelings about the choose-your-own-name aspect of roller derby naming culture. The weird multilayered nicknames that teammates come up with are way more interesting to me! Licker N Split has recently taken to calling me Brute A Toot Toot. That’s hilarious.
You’ve also returned to WOJ after a brief hiatus. What brought you back, and how have things changed since the last time you were on the team?
I took time off WOJ to finish up my undergraduate degree and to give my life a little more time to settle down. Now that I’m out of school and skating my 4th season with team I feel better prepared for how hard and hectic the training schedule can get. I’m taking better care of myself physically and emotionally this season.
On the other side, WOJ gets better and better each year. We have a great team and are always striving to create a stronger, healthier team culture.
WOJ has a team of jammers and specific “jammer time”. What do you learn at jammer time, and what do you like most about it?
Jammer time is a great opportunity to break down jammer specific skills and get deliberate about our training. Even when I wasn’t on the team I would study our jammers (and our future jammers) to try and figure out what makes them so successful. Getting to listen to what they think about their jamming and how they hit the pack is even better.
You’ve come back strong and are making rosters consistently. What are your goals for the rest of the 2017 season?
Right now my goals are to stay afloat of WOJ’s constantly innovating strategy, gain 20 pounds, and get so good that I can talk the team into bringing back cap sleeve jerseys next season.
What makes being on WOJ worth it?
The combination of highly competitive teammates with an intense training program means every practice you get to watch someone get better. It never really gets easier, but it makes the challenge worth it.
You’re also the Co-President of RCR. How do you balance being on TT, being President of the league, and having one of those “real life” things?
As far as my league work goes, I can be a bit bossy, so I try my hardest to never do anyone’s job for them. In the long run, this is usually best for everyone.
At home I do what every other busy person does and plan ahead. I love cooking and meal planning, and I take a lot of naps. I’m also lucky enough to live with WOJ Team Manager and close friend, Effy Stone’Em, who occasionally has to become my own personal manager. A few weeks ago before Home Team Championships I somehow got her to fold my laundry!
Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?
I came to roller derby at a huge transitional point in my life, so I can’t really separate growing up and maturing, from my roller derby career. I started college the same year I captained my home team. I moved out of my parent’s home the first season I made a WOJ Charter roster as a jammer.
Roller derby has given me an amazing community of strong, assertive women, and I’m grateful for the constant inspiration they provide.
What is the best derby advice you have received over the years? And what advice do you have for skaters looking to join their league’s travel team?
No one is lying to you about how good you are. Take feedback, work to be your best, but don’t ever look for excuses for your success.
If you want to try out for travel team, give it everything you have. High level roller derby asks a lot of us, and that’s not for everyone. If you want the rewards, don’t shortchange yourself, or your team.