August 2016 Skater Of The Month - Eliza Lot

 Eliza Lot

Team(s) Current: Bruise Crew and Vicegrip Vixens   Past: Tantrums, Sea Sirens, Black Widows and Switchblade Sisters.

Number: 211 (because it the code for a robbery in progress, and this Blocker will steal yo’ Jam, it was 2006 and we had buttons with slogans)

How did you choose your derby name? I didn’t really choose it myself. It was given. I tried changing it in later on and everyone was so confused I just left it. So, if anyone wants to be Helga VonHurtin… it's yours.

When did you start playing roller derby? 2005-ish. I came to the first game, watching Leia Flat be rolled out on track in a celebratory lap in a wheelchair with a broken leg, during halftime, I won the raffle and was promptly tackled by a stranger (Scary Magdalene, if you don’t know her she was the best!!) and fell in love immediately. I started the next practice, holding on to the wall because I had not skated before.

Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play? My rookie year… wow so long ago! I saw a news story about these wild and crazy ladies in Tampa starting a Roller Derby League, I said I can do that and showed up at the next game. Back then we did not have the exceptional QK program we have now. Instead we called it the “kiddie pool” in order to identify as a noob, we had to wear orange floats on our arms.. Hence why I cannot seem to keep my elbows in. I started with some awesome ladies (Rojo, being one). I was given the best big sister (Leia Flat) and learned old school derby, we hit a lot, we fought, we wore fishnets and skirts, we laughed and played fast derby. The hits were big, we had minors, a penalty wheel and a 2 whistle start. It was primordial and a blast…looking back I would not want my foundation to be any different.

Do you have a spirit animal? I do have a spirit animal! It is a Hippo… yeah yeah yeah.. I am a big girl, I get it… The Hippo is also fitting because Mommy Hippos are super protective, motherly, they develop strong bonds with their offspring yet they remain fierce. Hippo’s are ranked as one of the most dangerous animals.

Worst derby injury? Oh gosh, so many to choose from.. I am going to go with shattered Elbow 2007.. I broke my elbow in the last jam of our first Sunshine Skate tournament (we won). You do not realize how crucial a functioning elbow is until you can’t move it. Elbow injuries take the fun out of funny bone. I think it took about 12 months for incidental bumps to my elbow to not bring me to my tears.

What have been your favorite skate brands/products? I do not think I have ever been a “brand” person. I have been very excited over the years with the advancements in design and technology used on everything from skates to knee pads. My oldest friend (Ana Cheng) set up a blind date for me with Juice Wheels the Martini Series and I have fallen in love. I have exceptional strong toes and get terrible cramps from gripping with my toes, these wheels are the first time I don’t slide out on the turns and have the confidence to not grip with my piggies.

What did you think about as you laced up your skates? Once, I shrug away the stresses and pressures of daily life; usually there is mantra that goes through my head of: To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift, I will go out there, I will fall, falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional, push through, I am choosing today.

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain   I live my life by that, my close friends and family hear it all the time.. regret doing something instead of sitting back watching it pass and regret having been the spectator.

Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? I really don’t. My husband teases me I am the most un-athletic athlete.

What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? Wow so many! I would have to go with the first season we made it to Regionals. It was the first season we were making a huge shift into playing competitively and seriously. Our league and the game was changing from less of a hobby and more of a sport, focusing on strategy, slow play and  playing smart vs. hard. I remember going into that tournament and feeling like a bit intimidated by the success of the teams we were playing, and leaving the tournament with such a sense of accomplishment and excitement for the small glimpse of thing to come and a new vision for what was then Tampa Bay Derby Darlins.

Off-the-track derby accomplishments? I would like to say I was a good part of the what TRD has grown into, I was on the BOD for some of the most challenging seasons and growing pains while we worked out our handbook and vision for the league. Being involved in the start of our Junior program has been extremely rewarding! I think Ellie Mae would agree with me when I say we never thought the Juniors program would grow into what it has become, our initial goal was to share our passion with our children. The juniors I have witnessed grow into some of the best players in the world and a shaped the outstanding people they are today. I like that I am involved with the success of having our own venue and work that comes along with that… So please clean up after yourself and if you see a mess at the rink clean it up don’t just walk past.

Who are your derby heroes? Okay so, I don’t really have any derby heroes, I see passion and ability in most skaters I meet. I’ve been so impressed watching some the skaters I have known over the past years, watching them overcome struggles, develop and transform into the skaters they are. I am more impressed with someone who starts derby falling constantly and works into a graceful Tantrum. (you know who you are, wink wink!). If I chose a hero it would be my Husband, If you haven’t met him.. you should. He is one cool cucumber! His ability to coach, his athleticism and ability to watch Roller Derby for 3 months and understand it better than I do I after 10 years is amazeballs!

What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? During the days when I am not handling rink issues, I am a Regulatory Compliance Auditor and Trainer. . I have a career I love and have passion for. I am grateful that I wake each more excited to go to “work”. I can’t completely call it work because it gives me the flexibility to spend as much time working on TRD as I do. I get to travel, meet people and have a direct impact on my companies success.

Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? Very much so! Roller derby gave me the self-worth and confidence to make much needed changes in my life. It has helped create an additional platform for me to bond and grow with my daughters. I have remarkable children and derby has helped with that! My two daughters play and make me so proud every time they lace up their skates or I over hear them in their rooms discussing strategies, work out plans or building each other up… it gives me goose bumps. They have become such strong, confident and beautiful young ladies. My Son, has witnessed success takes hard work, he has grown to be so strong, smart and driven- he is my lil Steve Jobs. My step-son I have enjoyed sharing being involved in a sport and watching the metamorphose as he pursues his passion and dreams of baseball daily, constantly pushing himself to be the most elite player he can be. I’m a proud aunt watching my Nephew navigate the rough waters of adulthood, helping him find himself in his ability to be involved through TRD’s volunteer program.

Tell us about your favorite derby moments: Fave moment, would have been the first Birthday I ever celebrated (its story ask me some day and I’ll explain). We were playing in a tournament in Huntsville, AL and after a full exhausting rewarding weekend of playing Rojo surprised me with a pink and black frosted bday cake and party to match. We took over a meeting room at the hotel and stayed up all night celebrating, bonding and just being plain crazy. I did take away a life lesson: black icing used as face paint to make mustaches, once washed off will cause red rash mustache. We all looked ridiculous on the way home.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? Fish Oil and Calcium. Take care of your bones, if you plan to play for any amount of time…take care of those bones now, and later they will not fail you. Also a league is only as great as its members…BE INVOLVED, BE INVOLVED, BE INVOLVED!