Shortly after learning of the LFL early last, year my husband was offered a transfer to the USA by his employer. Being relatively young and child-less, apart from our two fur-babies (dogs), we naturally jumped at the wonderful opportunity to live abroad.
We arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – the home of Harley-Davidson, Miller Beer and the land of cheese and brats – in late March, just in time to be spoilt with back-to-back summers.
Barely two weeks after our arrival, the Green Bay Chill held their first tryout for the upcoming 2013 season. Despite my extremely limited exposure to American football (which consisted of watching The Longest Yard, Remember the Titans and the like) I was selected for the team.
I’m certain this was solely based on my 40 yard dash time – lucky I can run.
My sporting background consisted of track and field, including the woman’s Stawell Gift, surf lifesaving (beach sprinting), touch football and a little boxing. All fare me well for strength and speed, but there remains much to learn.
The Chill is coached by Green Bay Packer hall of famer Gilbert Brown, who is an absolute icon in Wisconsin. His passion for football and competitive nature quickly became evident.
However it did take me a little while to become accustomed to all the yelling that goes on at training and certain traditions such as ‘taking a knee’ when being addressed by coach!
The coaching dynamic is worlds apart from what I’ve been accustomed to with individual sport. It amazes me that such a busy and high profile figure has the time and patience to dedicate to our team. Somehow he fits in training sessions between his commitments to his foundation, which supports 144 charities.
I am also lucky to have such inspiring, athletic and lovely women as team mates.
Many are wives, some are mothers, many are professionals – we have a nurse, school teacher, graphic designer, interior designer, a handful of personal trainers and I am a medical sonographer.
Some foster children and are heavily involved in their communities and all of us stem from some kind of semi-professional sporting background.
Now for the controversy: on the 9th of January, 2013, the LFL announced the details of the league’s rebranding.
The acronym ‘LFL’ remains, however the ‘Lingerie Football League’ has now become ‘Legends Football League’.
No more lingerie. Out goes the underwear element.
Judging on the responses from fans on social media the reaction to the name change has been somewhat mixed.
It is obviously not as obvious as ‘lingerie’ was, however I feel with a little time for the dust to settle the new name will sink in.
In conjunction with a new broadcast deal with ESPN (rather than MTV), a number of changes have been made to the young and evolving league.
For me, and among a lot of players, the uniform changes were welcomed with open arms. To the great relief of many of the fans – yes – the skimpy factor does remain.
However, gone are the frills, bows, garters and chokers which were – let’s face it – rather impractical and intentionally distracting novelty items to adorn whilst playing hard hitting football.
The new uniforms (whilst still a sports bra and shorties) are simple and sporty, and even boast a couple of speed stripes!
Another significant addition is new shoulder pads – which are much like the men’s practice pads and certainly much more substantial, providing more protection than the foam version worn in previous years.
It cannot be denied that the LFL would not be where it is today without the novelty factor of lingerie, which has always naturally evoked controversy. However, due to the sheer athleticism of players, this sport is evolving and there is a widespread desire to be taken a little more seriously.
When I reply “I play football” to the commonly asked question “you look athletic – what do you do?” the following responses generally follow: “No, it’s football, not soccer; it’s full contact, 7 on 7 arena football; yes actually it is the Lingerie Football League….”
*insert awkward silence here.
I generally don’t usually volunteer the minor lingerie detail upfront when asked, purely due to my inherent insecurities of being instantly judged!
Having said that, to my delight I have been bowled over by the amount of pride, interest and support I have received from my family, friends, workmates and beyond and I am extremely excited to be apart of such a rapidly expanding sport.
The Roar welcomes Anna Heasman to our expert panel. Anna is originally from the wider Newcastle area, before taking up an offer to take her athletic skills to the Lingerie Football League.
Anna is a rookie player for the Green Bay Chill LFL team, and works professionally as a Sonographer in a medium sized hospital in Milwaukee. Anna always tries find a balance between sporting commitments and work life, and follows many sports – including rugby, tennis, track and field, and has fallen in love with American football.