December 17, 2016
The Lingerie Football league isn't a tough sell. If you like watching scantily-clad, attractive female athletes play the game with intensity, then it's time to give the LFL a chance.Mind you, the Lingerie Football League is not for everyone. If you're the type of person who can't watch Little League Baseball, who only enjoys watching the biggest, strongest, fastest athletes pulverize each other at the highest level of competition, then stay tuned to your normal avenues of football.I am a lifelong NFL fan, and always will be. While I appreciate football on multiple skill levels ranging from Pop Warner to the professional ranks, I have become engaged with an amusing diversion on Friday Nights that has drawn mixed reviews from my friends after I told them about it.Here in Los Angeles, we have an independent station, KDOC Channel 56, that televises LFL Friday Night games. I stumbled upon it one night while trying to find a USC basketball game hidden amongst hundreds of cable channels.After I discovered the Trojan game was not televised, I flipped back to a game that showcased the Dallas Desire beating up on the hapless San Diego Seduction.While I felt pure pity for San Diego, I was amazed at the level of athleticism demonstrated by Dallas quarterback Linda Brenner. She could hurl a tight spiral 45 yards on a rope, which is 90% of the LFL regulation playing field.Regardless of the size of the pitch, her intrepid abilities looked impressive on television, and I stayed on the game to see what else women's full-contact football had to offer.
Many arguments can be made against the LFL. I can think of a few reasons why the uniform objectifies women and the the unfair personnel specifications (i.e. fat chicks need not call for a tryout) reduce the pure quality of the sport of football, but in all honesty, these grievances are outweighed by the fact that I'm simply having fun watching a competitive product on the field.
I'm not going to compare these women to NFL, or even college football players. Playing a unusual brand of 7-on-7 on a 50-yard x 30-yard field, they're in a league all their own.
Entertainment value can be found in the fact that these young women are giving 100 percent. Even though the players are susceptible to injury given that their entire torso is exposed, they fearlessly dive around on antiquated unforgiving surfaces (remember Astroturf?) in spite of minimal padding.
They love to play the game, and while they may not run 40 yards in less than 4.5 seconds, the game isn't without bruising hits and effusive energy both on the field and on the sideline.
As much as I enjoyed watching LFL on television, I wondered what it would look like live. My chance to bear witness came Friday.
To say LFL games have trouble packing the house would be akin to saying Tiger Woods has trouble maintaining celibacy. I was naturally skeptical when I drove to the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the L.A. Temptation host the woeful Seduction.
To my surprise, I saw several lines at least 30 deep with fans eagerly waiting to buy tickets at the box office shortly before the 9 p.m. PST kickoff. With attendance numbers having exceeded expectations (official attendance was not available), I'm sure the Jan. 29 Temptation crowd outdrew a few of the USFL L.A. Express home games when they played in the same stadium in the early-to-mid 1980's.
Since the LFL currently has ten teams, four make the postseason. The Chicago Bliss, Miami Caliente, and aforementioned Desire have already secured playoff spots, but the last seed was up for grabs.
The Temptation just needed to beat the Seduction to grab the final berth, but they turned the matchup into a statement game by destroying San Diego 53-0 as they prepare to face Dallas in the semifinals.
Although the game was a massacre, I noticed thousands of fans celebrating touchdowns, heckling the defense, and generally having a great time. The crowd was predictably male-dominant like most football games.
However, I noticed several groups of women waiting in line at the box office to buy tickets as well, something I rarely see at any football game.
In the LFL, however, it's just another Friday Night given that the unique players have a diverse fan base.
Make no mistake, the quality of play in the LFL will never be confused for the NFL. Nor will I defend the ridiculously skimpy uniform regulations (a garter belt? really?!?).
But after watching a few games, I know that these empowered athletes, in spite of insufficient pads and protection, play because they love the game.
Historically, football hasn't been a sport that women have had ample access to because of its brutality.
Most girls are discouraged from playing football at an early age, but in this era of Title IX and equal rights, women are being afforded virtually every athletic opportunity as a man, and are flourishing in several different arenas.
Women's boxing has become a draw that has breathed life back into an otherwise moribund sport, and women's events often gain better television ratings than men's in sports like tennis and ice skating. Why not give women's football a chance?
While the uniforms, or lack thereof, are tough to ignore, so is the unbridled passion that these competitors bring to the field.
Put your feminist agenda aside for 34 minutes (two 17-minute halves), and simply join the players and fans in enjoying the game.
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