Featured Skater: Lady Fury

With nearly a decade of derby under her belt, Lady Fury has been head over heels for derby since the very start. Known for her fast jamming skills and signature black eye make-up, Lady Fury grabbed the derby world’s attention at the 2015 International WFTDA D2 Playoffs in Detroit and was honored as tournament MVP. She helped her team, the Nashville Rollergirls take home the gold in Detroit and advance as a #1 Seed at Championships in November, where they secured 2nd Place in the D2 bracket. Gearing up for a new season with new ambitions, learn more about what fuels this Lady’s fury and what she looks forward to in 2016!

Name: Lady Fury — Fury for short 😉

Number: I have had many. original 36-24-36, then: (went to the next part of the song ;)) 5ft3, and now just: 5 3

League: Nashville Rollergirls

Team(s): Back in the day: Damsels of Distress (intraleague), Music City Rhythm and Bruisers (OG A Team); Currently: Nashville Rollergirls Music City All Stars (A Team), Team SASS (Southern All-Star Skaters)

Featured Skater: Lady Fury
Preflash Gordon

Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.
Well, in short, I’m named after a car! My real name is Kristina (shhhh… don’t tell), and I’ve always been into old cars. A friend of mine named “Whip” (no not derby related) and I had a slight obsession with a particular Plymouth: the Fury. I’m super into scary movies and happened upon a movie based off the book by Stephen King, Christine. It’s about a a 1958 Plymouth Fury that becomes possessed and wrecks the town!! We were like, “Christine, like Kristina and it’s a Fury…” and Lady Fury just popped out of his mouth! It was a beautiful moment. One day when I make a million, I owe him a check!! Side note: I now own a bad ass 1964 Plymouth Fury.

What can you tell us about your signature black eye make-up?
I’m a fan of boxing, and was inspired watching a documentary about the sport and really loved the boxing robes. Lady Fury is also a super awesome boxer name. I have been around since the days of old when we had alter egos and wore costumes at every game. There was even a penalty wheel. I’m what my teammates call a derby dino, and proud of it!! I used to come out with a custom made hot pink boxing robe and gloves with LADY FURY on the back. I would rock the hood, shadow box, and, as always, a black eye! Lady Fury is a lean mean fighting machine! I don’t miss the fighting though. Or the penalty wheel!! I have had the honor of seeing this sport change and grow in all the good ways to become as professional as it can be without us all getting paid checks!! I proudly rock my black eye, hot pants, and my fishnets, yes… FISHNETS, in homage to my old school derby roots!

What is your skate gear of choice?
Antiks–I’m a sucker for stylish and high tops. Low profile pads–I gotta move around in tight places. Currently rocking 187 elbow pads, 187 derby knee pads, Triple 8 helmet, can’t forget my Ez-fit Booties, and a custom made mouth guard (made by DEMON).

Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Sleep in. Priority number one. I don’t sleep enough. Then eat a big ol’ breakfast. Scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado, bacon or turkey sausage, hash browns, and, depending on my mood, toast or an English muffin with jelly or pancakes. Then chill. Go for a walk, read a little, listen to music, watch a movie–whatever I want. I try to relax and get my mind at ease. regain focus from the busy week. Then, gangster rap. I get pumped up and ready to crush some derby.

What do you think about when you’re lacing up your skates?
Calm, clean, mean…don’t forget to breathe. I am fast, I am strong, I am smart, I will out-skate you. These are some big B!%@#*.

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Do you have a theme song?
How Low can you GO – Ludacris

How did you get involved with roller derby?
Saw one episode of that roller derby show on A&E (Rollergirls) late night off work, and was like “what are they doing? I was made for that! Holy…” So, I went to work the next day and started telling everyone I knew that I was gonna play roller derby. At the time (2006) Nashville did not have a team, so they all looked at me like I was crazy. Well, it was a good thing I did talk it up, cuz a security guy where I worked went to a wedding with his girlfriend, where he met Mayhem N. Suze, who is one of the founders of NRG. They chatted it up, being assigned at the same table, and somehow roller derby came up. He got her digits, I called her up, and a week later, I showed up at the very first open skate call!!! Murphy McNasty came up to me and said, “you have a skull on your skates, you must be here for derby,” and I’ve been hooked since.

Featured Skater: Lady Fury
Danny Ngan

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
Childhood rink rat, loved skating, went to every skate night and birthday party, even a few in college. Attempted soccer, but couldn’t figure out that it wasn’t a full contact sport. Plus I kinda sucked at it.

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
We skated at this place called Rocketown. The space was small, not even big enough for a track. It was a small concert venue. I showed up and skated, made some fast friends, and met my “nemisister” Molotov M. Pale. Having a teammate who constantly pushes you was a big help, and she constantly kept me on my toes. We didn’t have any games that first year but we skated and it stayed competitive at practice. We also knew how to have a good time, shooting the duck and playing blood and thunder! We all hung out and it was a very awesome social experience. I instantly had 20 girl friends!! None of us had any fitness or athletic training, and we were trying to figure out the rules. It was definitely a year full of growing. I love watching footage from those times. We looked like little kids at the skate rink, and there were no track cuts!! hahah The most fun was that we would travel to surrounding cities and see as much roller derby as we could! This was really how we learned how to play!! The trips, the friendships, the experience–all amazing. it has been something incredible to watch my team change and grow as well as the sport!! Boy we have come a long way!!

What is your position of choice?
Aw man, that is a tough one to answer. I love them all and I am a proud utility!! I love blocking because that comes more naturally to me–it’s way more fun to hit than get hit! Especially when they aren’t expecting it from little ol’ me!! But jamming, now that is adrenaline at its finest. I love jamming because it is a serious challenge for me and I love finding the nooks and crannies to bob and weave through. It’s all a very Sherlock movie-type experience for me. Dissecting things at a very fast pace, finding the weakest links, knowing when to push and when to juke. And let’s be real, jammers get the glory. Who wouldn’t love that?! On the downside though, you get the crap beaten outta you, on the regular. Like almost every game, aaaand practice for that matter. My life changed when I became a jammer. I have a much bigger respect for the position, and understand a fist pump and a “hell yeah!” every now and again, cuz when you are successful, it’s the most rewarding feeling (once you catch your breath and your dead leg goes away)!!

What is your signature move?
Hmmmm… if I asked my teammates, I think they’d say it’s the low sneak attack around the outside. I approach a blocker from the inside, right on the turn. Get super low and kinda roll my body off them on the outside and quickly cut in. They usually don’t see me coming. I like apex jumping, but can’t claim it as my signature. But damn it feels good when you land one of those!

How would you describe your derby playing style?
I have been awarded many nicknames: spider monkey, bull dog, Charlie Sheen. But I think it’s in my name: Lady Fury. I am feisty, bold, strong, powerful, and tough, but most definitely have a soft side. I have utmost respect for any derby girl I am on the track with. Sportsmanship is important to me. And I love the fans. I like to keep it sweet but tough!!!

Featured Skater: Lady Fury
Danforth Johnson

Please share your best derby moment(s).
Derby road trip with my girls: Maulin, Bootsy, Tov, New Orleans, Austin, yes. And when I was awarded MVP at 2015 D2 Playoffs in Detroit.

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
Any assist that got my jammer through. Any apex jump landed successfully. All of D2 Playoffs and Champs. The Demo game. And in the unfortunate event a teammate has fallen, I will be the first by her side! I have been given a gift of keeping calm, and keeping others the same.

Off the track?
My career is booming. Because of roller derby, I discovered health and fitness! Under the mentorship of one of our former team strength and conditioning coaches I studied and acquired my NASM CPT certification, and started taking on one-on-one clients while still in the service industry. I was bartending and waiting tables at the time. I got a phone call one day inviting me to interview for a trainer position at a company called Orangetheory Fitness. The concept is incredible and I attribute my recent derby success and gained skill to these workouts!!! I fell in love with the program, the people, the company, and now am advancing up the ranks! I have become head trainer at the #1 studio in Tennessee, Green Hills, and have been offered a master trainer postilion which would be a corporate position where I would travel and train all the new OTF trainers when they open new studios worldwide! I have some opportunities in radio, and recently started a fitness segment on the local news called “Fit like Fury” giving easy fitness tips to the city of Nashville!! Opportunity keeps knocking, and I’m gonna keep answering!!!

Who are your derby heroes?
The girls that started my league. Because of them, I am a derby girl. Suzy Hotrod–she’s fit, she’s skilled, she’s hot. Scald Eagle, duh everyone loves Scald Eagle (hey scald, do you have a brother?!). Seems effortless, and, true to her name, majestic. And any girl that puts on skates despite adversity.

What is your day job? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
Personal Trainer and group Fitness instructor. Head Trainer at Orangetheory Fitness Green Hills & Brentwood (see above). The perfect combination of endurance strength, and power in every single OTF workout is what has fine tuned me into a better player despite my 10 year vet status. Also, my knowledge gained during my studies. Really learning how the body works, food and exercise-wise, etc.

Featured Skater: Lady Fury
Danforth Johnson

How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
When I started playing derby, I became more confident and more aware of myself. Being empowered is amazing, and I strive to pass along the empowerment to every person I meet, especially at work when I am training and sharing my knowledge to help people get smarter, healthier, and stronger so they can live longer. Watching my members transform and see the confidence on their faces more and more every time they come into my gym!! Also, I compare everything to a game: life, traffic, work scenarios, and even walking in a crowded mall. Everything reminds me of derby. And I take care of myself better, and keep trained to get stronger so I can stay healthy and keep skating!! I take being a role model seriously. The juniors in Nashville are awesome and I love them, and wish that one day I can give back some time to them. But I know they look up to me. SO I try and be on my best behavior, even hiding drinks from pictures at times, or watching my mouth, (you never know what ridiculousness will come out of it). I want to live by example for them!

How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Whew…this is a tough one I don’t think I have mastered yet. Especially now with my career booming. Retirement is eminent. But when?! ugh. I can’t even think of it. I basically had to start thinking of myself and quality of life. If practice or something derby related ever becomes a chore, I need to take a break. That break could be one practice or maybe a week. But I gotta take care of me. I have not always been good at doing that, and am guilty of burning the candle at both ends. I now know that taking some time off from life or derby is ok, and important sometimes. Especially if I want to keep LOVING derby!! I try and use derby to motivate me through the day to get all my work done. Derby becomes less fun when I have a pile of work to get caught up on! I stay on top of my quota so if do need to take a breather, I am in no danger of missing quota to make roster. During season I try to eat better, eat more, and sleep more. And I don’t do intense workouts on derby days. My job being so physical really doesn’t mesh well. I have learned to rest my body when it needs it and not to over do it, limiting my intense workouts during the week. Time management and prioritizing tasks is a development that has helped, but any other tips are much appreciated!! Bring em on!

What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?
Do it. You know the first time you get hit down if it’s for you or not. One of two things happens: you cry about it, or you get up and get her back. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. Falling is just the first step to getting back up. If you want it, go get it. See favorite quote above.

Congratulations to you and your team for an amazing 2015! From taking 1st in the D2 Playoffs in Detroit, MI to taking home second place in Division 2 at the 2015 International Championships in St. Paul, MN. What were some of the efforts you and your team made to prepare for success?
Repetition, repetition, repetition. We had a little turn over last season, so a rebuild was necessary. We went back to some basics and built from there. We practiced a handful of the same drills, over and over until we got it. We watched footage and even did homework to prep. We showed up, we worked together, and we sweated. We focused more on strategy than we have in years past, and it was good to break down the mental. Our team also has really brought up their fitness game. Extra strength is required to be eligible for the charter roster. We are really becoming a really strong team physically. I’ve watched my entire team transform body and mind!

Featured Skater: Lady Fury
Cory Layman

Congrats to you personally as well for being named the D2 Tournament MVP while in Detroit last fall. What did it feel like to receive such an honor? Could you share any special moments or important takeaways from that tournament?
Thank you!! Being named MVP is a tremendous honor and completely unexpected!! I definitely felt like I had some “on fire” moments. But to be recognized in this way was absolutely mind blowing. I’m not sure I really realized what was happening at first. But I was on cloud nine, smiling ear to ear. I couldn’t have done it without my team!!! I am proud to represent NRG and WFTDA and ROLLER DERBY!!! To embody what we all strive to be as derby girls is an honor I am proud to carry and I hope to do it well!! This was a particularly special moment because my grandparents were there. They have been huge supporters of mine since my very first game I ever skated against Naptown in 2006. They have watched me grow as a woman and derby girl!!! I am so glad they got to be present for such an amazing tournament and win for NRG and personal win for myself!! Thank you g-ma and g-pa Grundy!!! I love you!!!

You and your team took part in “Body By Derby” this past year. What attracted you to this project and what was it like to bear it for the camera? What was the response to the photos and campaign in the Nashville community?
Something I have always loved about Roller Derby is that anyone, any shape, any size, and background can come together for the common good called Roller Derby. This is the biggest thing that attracted me to this project. Cory highlighted all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels that make up the perfect roller derby team!! I also loved how many of the bios talked about health and fitness and how derby change their life in a healthy way. This project highlights getting fit, healthy, empowered, and strong in your own way, in your own time, playing derby!!! Bearing it all was mostly just cold, and yeah a little nerve racking. I am in no way modest, and I’ve never been especially shy! But knowing the entire derby community and then some would be looking, that added a little extra pressure! I liked highlighting all the different awesome that makes up my team!!! Derby Girl is synonymous with strong, confident, woman. I would say most of the feedback from the community was really good. Commending us for our courage on and off the tack, and also on our success in getting healthier and stronger in the name of derby!!

Do you have a special message to your fans?
I love you. Keep screaming. When you do, I skate faster, hit harder, and sneak sneakier!!! Without our fans, really there would be no derby! I love you and never stop giving me sweaty hugs!!! You inspire me!!!

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