Lingerie Football League: Have Choker, Will Travel

Erik FurlanContributor IJune 4, 2010

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL - SEPTEMBER 04:  Kate Johns of the Chicago Bliss greets fans following the Bliss' defeat of the Miami Caliente during the opening game of the Lingerie Football League (LFL) at the Sears Centre Arena September 4, 2009 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The LFL is a female football league with ten teams that compete in seven-on-seven full-contact American football, with players dressed in sports bras and short shorts.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

When circumstances beyond their control left them without a team for the upcoming Lingerie Football League season, members of the Denver Dream and the New York Majesty had but one option—go elsewhere.

Free agency, this is not. These women are by no means hired guns or high-priced talent bought from Denver or New York .

This is about survival.  With no other option, these players' hands were forced.  If they wanted to play, they had to go to a new city and try out for the team.

That’s the kicker—even as veterans from defunct teams, they weren’t guaranteed or promised anything.  If they wanted a spot on the roster, they had to earn it just like everyone else.  (In fact, everyone in the league, returning player to rookie, had to tryout and earn their place on an LFL team.)

Regrettably, this is not the first occurrence of team troubles to hit the LFL, entering it’s second season this fall.

Prior to the inaugural 2009-10 season, the Atlanta Steam and the New England Euphoria had trouble finding a venue, placing plans for those teams on hold (and forcing players to find another place to play).  Also, the Las Vegas Sin and the Phoenix Scorch had trouble getting things together to start the season.

Nevertheless, the league launched with 10 teams, played a full season, and crowned a champion—the Los Angeles Temptation.

With apologies to Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again.  A pair of teams run into venue trouble, are forced to suspend operations, and players are left to scramble for a home. 

Denver had their team playing outside, leading to something I never thought I would see—an LFL game in the snow.  New York had coaching and venue issues, playing their “home” games in Pennsylvania during the 2009-10 season.

Some may say that not having a successful franchise in New York signals trouble for the LFL.  I say it’s all part of the growing pains of a new league.  It takes the right people in the right places at the right time to make things work.  Hitting that combination doesn’t happen overnight.

But I digress.

The point of all this is to commend the dedication and passion of the players in the Lingerie Football League.  Playing is so important to them, they love it that much, they are willing to do anything for the chance to play. 

Having players like former Majesty players Krystal Gray and Kiera Massette Somers who packed their bags and hit I-95 South to join the expansion Baltimore Charm—players that are that committed to the league, to the idea of women playing professional, tackle, full-contact football, regardless of where or how, says more about the LFL than the Majesty and the Dream in holding patterns for the 2010-11 season.

To me, it says that the idea is viable—there is a demand for the league, there are players out there who want to be a part of it.  These ladies are not in it for the money.  Gatorade, Nike, and Under Armour aren’t beating paths to their doors waving multi-million dollar endorsement deals. 

These gals of the gridiron play because they love playing football.

Sure, the uniforms may get you in the door.  It’s the heart, the dedication, the talent, the passion, and the spirit of the players under the shoulder pads and helmets that will keep you on the edge of seat, if you even use it.

For more on the pair of Big Apple Footballers' (Gray and Somers) journey to Charm City, check out LFL Unlaced