According to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), flat track roller derby is the fastest-growing sport in America. And with so many badass chicks in Northeast Florida, it only makes sense that it’s home to some of the country’s best. Meet Keri Lewis (aka Fancy Schmancy No. 62), co-captain of Jacksonville RollerGirls’ New Jax City Rollers for the past two-and-a-half seasons. New Jax, RollerGirls’ WFTDA All-Star team, is currently sitting pretty at No. 9 in WFTDA rankings out of 315 teams and has qualified for the 2015 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs set for Sept. 18, 19 and 20 at Prime Osborn Convention Center. Folio Weekly caught up with Schmancy, 37, to chat about just what roller derby is, how you get those cool names and what the expectations are for bringing home the gold. Here’s part of that conversation.
Folio Weekly: Pretend that I know nothing about roller derby, which is actually the case — explain the rules to a greenhorn like me?
Fancy Schmancy: First off, we are playing on a flat track, not a banked track. You have four blockers and one jammer for each team on the track. The jammers score points for passing every opposing player as they skate around the track. There are rules as to how and where blockers can block and engage on the track. The jammers try to skate around the track as many times as they can within a two-minute jam. Blockers are usually playing offense and defense simultaneously to help their jammers score points, but also blocking the opposing jammer so she doesn’t score points. Our games are two 30-minute halves. There are a lot of rules like no elbows, clotheslining, etc. This is not like roller derby of the ’70s and ’80s. That was scripted.
You’re team captain. What does that entail?
We have two co-captains. We make sure the skaters have met requirements (attendance and event points), help organize the team, set team meetings and coordinate the day of games. We’re a confidante to skaters, a representative for our team in games and we are liaison to the rest of our league and community.
When you’re not tearing up the rink, what do you do to pay the bills?
I’m an assistant for a land developer and dabble in office management, project management and accounting. I’m a business graduate of the University of North Florida.
You go by the moniker “Fancy Schmancy.” How’d that come about?
Apparently, when I started, the coach thought I had fancy foot moves. Really, it’s this one move called a Mohawk that I used out of pure instinct and desperation when I was a new skater.
How does one typically pick a roller derby name?
You can pick one yourself, use your real name or sometimes you get a nickname given to you, like I did. Some skaters are choosing to just use their real name to legitimize the sport. At this point, I like being called Fancy better than my real name, Keri.
This seems like a rather dangerous extracurricular activity. What’s the worst injury you’ve suffered?
I fell on my tailbone in my first game. I didn’t even feel it during the game because of my adrenaline. I had X-rays, injections, chiropractic work and physical therapy, but they said it wasn’t broken. I still think it may have been broken, and it hurt for more than a year. I would say it took almost two years to go away entirely. Hey, you can break your tailbone in childbirth, too.
New Jax City Rollers qualified for the 2015 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs this month in Jacksonville. How big of a deal is that?
We’ve qualified for Divisionals for four years now. There are four different playoff tournaments over the course of four to five weeks in different areas of the United States. The top 40 teams go to Division 1 playoffs; there are 10 [teams] at each tournament. It’s a big deal, but the bigger deal is that we get to host and skate on our home turf. Also, we are ninth in the world. We’re going into this tournament as a third seed. If we can hold onto that ranking, we go to Championships in November in Minnesota that we have never qualified for. We get better and better every year.
How much ass are you going to kick?