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Litigator enjoys the challenges of roller derby

Jenny Montgomery
September 28, 2011
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Personal injury attorney M. Brady Beyers became a fan of roller derby in 2009, but he didn’t expect that two years later he’d be playing the game himself. Eventually, a friend talked him into it.

“I resisted for quite a while,” Beyers said. “It had nothing to do with the lifestyle or the people. I think at that time, I was 37 years old, and I had made it that far without having to have any sort of bone surgically repaired. And I had a prior car accident myself and have some neck issues and didn’t figure that derby would be the best thing for it.”

But at the urging of another friend, Beyers went to an open recruitment event, and he admits he enjoyed it. “I had never intentionally run into somebody and hit someone on skates before until that day,” he recalled.

After that recruitment event Beyers was hooked, and he joined Indiana’s first male roller derby league, the Race City Rebels.

Not a fake sport – and not just for women

At first, Beyers was hesitant to tell people that he played roller derby.
 

rollerderby-15col.jpg M. Brady Beyers eludes an opposing blocker for the Connecticut Death Quads at the Spring Roll tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind., May 14-15, 2011. (Photo courtesy Tom Klubens)

“I’ve had several people that I’ve told – or who have found out – that I play men’s roller derby, and a lot of them laugh,” he said. “But I think these are people that don’t really have a full understanding of what it is. It’s not the WWF-style stuff that used to be on in the ’70s. It’s a true sport, lots of rules, and for the most part, it’s safe, but you’re gonna have the occasional catastrophic injury.”

Unlike the televised roller derby of the 1970s, the modern version of the sport is primarily played on a flat track. However, a handful of banked-track leagues, like those seen in the fictional film “Whip It,” do exist in other states.
 

beyers-brady-mug Beyers

The sport has grown exponentially in the past decade and has branched out to include not just women’s leagues, but men’s, children’s, and co-ed leagues. About 626 leagues – some with multiple teams – exist in the United States, with more than 1,000 leagues worldwide.

“I would say that derby is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life – physically – and it’s a different skill set from anything I’d ever done before,” Beyers said.

To be eligible to compete, skaters must pass a set of minimum skating skills – including the ability to jump over an object at least three inches high and recover from a knee fall in two seconds, without using their hands to get up. And to keep those skills sharp, during competitive season, the Race City Rebels practice at least six hours a week.

Beyers has participated in sports before – golf, baseball, wrestling – but he wasn’t sure what to expect when he started playing roller derby.

“I felt like I was in OK physical shape, but I was not in derby shape,” he said. “Cardio has never been my thing, and there’s definitely a lot of cardio involved in this.”

Anthony “DV Ant” Morris, a coach for the Rebels, recognized Beyers’ natural ability right away.

“I remember seeing him skate at our first recruiting event. He skated harder than anyone else there,” he said. “Some of our vets were getting tired, but he just didn’t stop.”

Beyers primarily plays the position of jammer, the person who scores points for the team. Jammers must be agile, fast, and able to take a beating over and over again. Being small – and able to slip through gaps in the pack – helps, too. Beyers, at 5 feet 5 inches tall, was a natural fit for that role.

Beyers said he doesn’t think he’s ever gone up against a skater smaller than him, and he considers himself fortunate that he’s never been seriously injured, especially considering the size of some of the blockers he has faced. One burly skater for Pioneer Valley Roller Derby (of Northampton, Mass.) comes to mind.

“PVRD had a guy named Mongo, and Mongo killed me one time. But it never hurt,” he said. “He absolutely blasted me into the center of the rink, and I stood up and said, ‘Nice hit.’ We both smiled at each other, and I skated past him.”

The company you keep

Spectators might imagine that the men who play roller derby are brutes who enjoy hurting each other. But while tempers may flare during a bout, most skaters play by the rules and enjoy sharing a beer after the game.

Roller derby attracts a broad cross section of people. Beyers’ teammates include an aerospace engineer, an accountant, a drummer for a heavy metal band, an entrepreneur, and others. Beyers is the only lawyer on the team.

Teammate David “Dave Atonement” Weir, a PhD candidate at Purdue University, is the board secretary for the Men’s Roller Derby Association, which changed its name this year from the Men’s Derby Coalition and has been working to promote the sport and uphold high standards for game play. MRDA has 16 member leagues, including the Rebels, and will hold its national tournament in October. While the Rebels did not qualify for the national tournament, they head to Sioux City, Iowa, in mid-October to compete in the Rolling Along the River Tournament. Beyers – recently named the MRDA “Skater of the Week” – has not decided if he will join the team when it travels to Iowa; he’s currently in the process of moving to Hawaii, where his wife just got a new job.rollerderby-factbox.gif

What’s next

After graduating from Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, Beyers worked in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office from 1998 to 2005. He worked for the Ken Nunn Law Office for one year following that, then as a solo attorney for a few years before rejoining Ken Nunn in 2008.

“It was kind of an easy transition going from being a prosecutor and fighting for people that had been harmed in some form or fashion … I feel like I’m still doing the same thing, but instead of compensating people with somebody going to jail, what happens is I’m trying to get damages for someone for what’s been done to them,” Beyers said. “So I’m still kind of protecting the rights of the injured or harmed.”

While playing roller derby requires the kind of time busy attorneys may not have, Beyers said he worked hard to make time for the sport. And when he moves to Hawaii, he intends to make time for another of his passions: opening a fitness club.

“My wife and I both used to be really into fitness. She still is, but with my schedule – living on the southeast side of Indianapolis and working in Bloomington and with my job taking me anywhere from Gary down to New Albany – it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for other things.”

Asked if he would try to start a men’s league in Kauai, he said he doubted he would. While he hasn’t had any serious injuries, his left knee has sent him several messages that it can’t take many more poundings.

“I’m 38. I’ve got a herniated disc in my neck. So I’ve often asked myself, ‘What the hell am I doing out here?’” he said. “It’s fun – it’s a great time – but it also allows you to stay fit. And to do something very few other people get the chance to do.”•

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Editor’s Note: Indiana Lawyer reporter Jenny Montgomery is affiliated with the Circle City Derby Girls, whose umbrella organization – Circle City Rollersports Cooperative – originally housed the Race City Rebels. The Rebels formed their own independent league in 2010.

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  • M. Brady Beyers
    Brady came in to this world a small baby, 6lbs. 4ozs. He has always achived his goals. I may be tooting my own horn here but he has been the light of my life, he's my son and he is a very special human being. Thank you for writing this about my son.

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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