Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Player Profile - Lily Messina, #61 (Part 2)

Lily was an only child but never lonely.  With seven uncles and aunts, she had "a bunch of wonderful cousins that I'm happy to call a part of my family."  Two in particular, Clint and J-Bob, spent summers helping her learn the rough and tumble ways of what it is like to be a young boy.  "They also beat me up on a regular basis so I learned what that felt like."

Her mother "is the most amazing woman on the planet."  She is self-employed as an artist.  Lily says she "is talented, smart, and can do anything she sets her mind to."  Lily was in fourth grade when her parents divorced.  Her mom continued to support herself and Lily on a tiny budget, "artists do not make a lot of money."  Lily says her mom is "a realistic dreamer."  She never lets anyone tell her something isn't possible. 

"All the things about me that are crazy and fun are from her, as well as my inability to accept defeat."

She says her father is the one who instilled discipline in her.  He was "tough-love character."  He was a preacher and his side of the family was "proper." Lily speaks of being concerned about acceptance from these folks.  She wasn't a bad kid but she had her fair share of teenager-type things that drew consternation.  Her father was inflexible - "my way or the highway." He and Lily clashed over her school plans in a kind of immoveable-object-meeting-an-irresistible-force situation. He offered to pay for her schooling if she went to the school he selected and on his terms. 

"So I had to make my own way in Austin."

Lily attended ACC and the University of Texas majoring in art, journalism, and Marine Biology (?).  She didn't finish her degree because she didn't need the degree in her job.  She became an expert in Six Sigma project management, working at Sears, then Washington Mutual, and is currently a project manager at OneWest Bank.

Lily gets along with her father much better now than when she was a kid.  Her proving she  could survive on her own has earned his respect and they now relate as adults.  He has had some health problems and he is scheduled to get a pacemaker on June 16.  He said he is excited that it will be a "top of the line" model.  Lily laughed and asked "are there discount versions of pacemakers?"  (Actually, he meant his comes with a defibrillator.)

He doesn't understand why she plays football and he prays she will stop.  He is concerned about her health.  Still, he attends all her games, looks forward to them, and "has a blast" while there.

In sharp contrast, her mom thinks Lily's football is the most awesome thing ever, "gets all the reasons why I do it," and sees no problem with the constant aches and pains.  She not only attends games but runs the souvenir stand.

Lily's mom having fun sellling souvenirs at an Outlaws game.

Lily has been the Outlaws general manager for eleven years. 

She plays on the offensive line and last year achieved a personal goal of starting every single game for ten consecutive years - a goal that was threatened when she suffered a broken ankle and dislocated heel in the final game of the ninth year.

Lily attempted to retire after her tenth year and was treated to a wonderful retirement party.  But she agreed to continue as General Manager and to work as offensive line coach.  A couple of injuries in the offensive line and she started dressing for games "just in case" she was needed.  Which, of course, she was. 

At 5' 7" and around 170 pounds, Lily is small for the line.  She makes up for that through a variety of conditioning and strength building disciplines including weight lifting, working out with professional boxer Ann Wolfe, and bikram yoga.  And constantly improving her skills.  She says she a quiet competitor, studying a lot and seeking feedback from the coach.

Playing in the offensive line is the least glamorous job in football.  Every play is a battle of strength, sometimes getting an opponent's hand in your face, sometimes just doing battle with a big person.  But it is important.  Possibly the most important job in football. 

In one of our interviews Lily described her mom as strong-hearted, strong-willed, and most talented person I know.  As I've grown to know Lily I see these descripters applying to her.  She has her mom's "no is not an option" dreamer mentality.  She quietly goes about getting things done without a lot of show, without demanding a lot of recognition.  She plays football because she loves the game, plays the offensive line because she understands the game.  She, more than any other person, is responsible for the amazing success of the Austin Outlaws, now in their eleventh year.

Earlier I quoted Lily saying all the things about me that are crazy and fun loving come from my mother.  Lily's facebook profile is full of fun and a little crazy.  One more photo to close this player profile - Lily loves bow hunting; you know with a bow and arrow.  And she's good at it.  She describes "hanging out in trees looking at gorgeous scenery during Texas winters, getting rained on, iced on...  The first animal she harvested was an Auodad, an exotic goat which was super skittish and difficult to hit.  She has also harvested wild hogs and deer. 

Fun.  Crazy.  A lot like football.

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