Monday, August 15, 2011

Player Profile - Jill Elliott - #69, Retired

Jill Elliott
Lost track of Jill Elliott.  Went to her facebook page.  I'm awed.  The photos.

In one she's standing in front of the Eiffel tower.  Another wearing gigantic wooden shoes in front of a windmill - must be Holland.  She's eating a pretzel in front of a German pretzel shop.  She's at the helm of a ship with a gigantic steering wheel.  She's driving a four-wheeler UTV across an impossibly unsafe two-track bridge made by laying two boards across the creek.  She's loading a U-Haul for a move from Round Rock. A narrative on her facebook tells me she dodged hail in Wyoming. 

One of her facebook postings says "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." 

When I featured Jill for the Outlaws website I came to love her zest for life.  She lives at the end of her comfort zone.   Trying out for the Outlaws was a whim, a chance to make some friends and find exercise buddies.  Practices focused on conditioning and Jill did indeed have buddies exercising with her.  Then they put on pads and started blocking and tackling each other.  "I got tackled for the first time and got this giant bruise and I thought people who do this are stupid."  Her "exercise buddies" turned out to be fierce tacklers: Velma, Ski, Mel, KJ. 

Jill always hated football.  Her dad was a teacher/principle so every Friday night they'd go to the game.  "I was bored out of my brain, except when the band was performing."  In high school she resented the way the boys football team got all the attention, all the new equipment, while her girl's soccer team had to make do with low-budget support.  (She was good at soccer, qualified as state goalie her senior year.)  She never played football.  Never enjoyed watching the game.  Never understood the appeal.

It's like going to war every Saturday.
She recalls her first game, the "first-game jitters."  She remembered what coach Frank had said, "just go and hit 'em hard and show 'em who's boss the first time and don't worry about anything else."  That's what she did.  "I tried to hit the girl in front of me as hard as I could and I pushed her way back and I thought oh, that was fun." 

Ten minutes into that game she understood the hoopla of football.  The physical challenge, one on one against big, strong opponents.  Tackling.  Pursuing the quarterback -  her mantra became "gonna get me a quarterback." 

"It's like going to war every Saturday night.  Knowing I have a job to do and if I do it well, good things will happen - we'll win."

Jill grew up in Victoria, Texas with her sister, Jessica, and brother, Jason - both older. She says they used to play outside, rough and tumble, always two on one - which "one" changed from day to day.  Jill was (and is) "big boned" - a big girl but athletic, coordinated, active, in good physical shape.  At about 5' 9" tall and  north of 300 pounds, Jill was one of the biggest Outlaw's.  And one of the strongest, especially in her legs.  She leg presses 415 pounds. Not just once, but three sets of 10-15 repetitions. For calf raises she sets the resistance at 215 pounds, again three sets, 10-15 reps.

Her mom was a dietitian, her dad and step mom both educators. Jill delights in being an aunt to her nephew Owen and niece Eli.  Jill's entire family was very supportive of her playing. She had a core fan base (dad, step mom, sister, niece, nephew) along with assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins at all her games.

Jill family fan-club - Owen, Step-mom, Dad, Eli

Jill has a BS degree in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M - where she attended only a few football games. "mostly to see the band."  She thought she planned to be a doctor but "God saw it differently" and led her to became a high school science teacher, first in Victoria and then in Round Rock.  She retired from the Outlaws so she could coach soccer in addition to her teaching duties.  Now she has moved to Edinburg, Texas to do train for a career as a Physician's Assistant at UT Pan American.

Hitting opponents causes bruises to the forearms.
Jill's students noticed the bruises, couldn't
believe how Jill got them.
She loved teaching and coaching, loved the students. What did her students think about her playing football?  At first she wondered whether she should even tell them, but they noticed her forearm bruises and asked.  So she told them.  At first they were incredulous.  Then they saw some pictures of Outlaws action and visited the team website.  Incredulity gave way to respect and even a little awe. 

She was one of four teachers recognized in the student yearbook in a section titled "Secret Lives of Teachers."

She has a great sense of humor, smiles a lot, laughs a lot.  She tells stories on herself, like the Oklahoma City game "I'm going up against the big girl, what 6' 3" and 350 pounds and I'm pushing against her and she's winning and we've been coached if you're getting pushed backwards to fall down and make a pile and so I fall down and just look up at her and she's tripping over me and she's going to land on me and it's like Sasquatch coming to land on me and it's big me, big her, big pile and people tripping over us and landing on the pile..."

I asked Jill about being big in a small world.  "Even though I was big I was successful.   I’ve always been semi physically fit. I keep in shape."  Then she shifts into her humor mode.  Someone asked if Jill were president, what's the first thing she'd do. "Have bigger airplane seats.  Because I hate being squished between people."  Mom was dietician "so I know how to eat well (right) but ice cream is good.  Only other complaint about being a big woman – big woman clothes are ugly fluffy, big and billowing and have little tails on them I don’t want blue jeans that stretch, that have elastic.  "I don’t wear dresses don’t like dresses.  Wish there was someone who made clothes for women like me."

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