With the kick-off of the inaugural season of Legends Football League Australia still just under three weeks away, the negative publicity has already started to surface.
The Australian competition consists of four teams – New South Surge, Queensland Brigade, Western Australia Angels and Victorian Maidens – with the season opener being a State of Origin-esque matchup between the Surge and Brigade at Centrebet Stadium.
I am very eager to see whether the sport takes off in Australia. The fast-paced, high-scoring, 7 on 7 version of full contact American football will certainly be a novelty for Australian audiences – not to mention our skin-baring uniforms which are always a source of heated debate in the media.
Obviously beautiful, athletic women playing footy is an instant hit with the greater male audience for obvious reasons, but it also sparks many ethical concerns for a large number of people as well.
It certainly is understandable from an outsider’s perspective issues of sexism naturally come to the fore.
However, if I felt I was selling my soul for a chance to play footy at a high level I would not play.
Myself and the rest of the Legends Football League community spend a lot of time justifying the sport and why we play.
We play for the love of competition, the same reason any athlete commits to their respective sports.
The sad reality of women’s sport is that it takes a novelty approach to attract a decent fan base and the sponsorship and commercial benefits that come with it.
We are an aesthetically driven society, as much as we like to believe that we’re better than that.
It does prove exhausting continually facing the critics and truthfully it seems to be women that are hardest on their fellow women.
Many of us learn that from a young age in the school yard. This has happened a number of times – I’ll be out and about with my team promoting our games and hand a pamphlet to a guy in a sports jersey.
His wife then promptly whisks in, grabs his wrist and pulls him away, simultaneously taking said pamphlet, screwing it up and throwing it in the bin in disgust leaving me (a happily married, educated woman) feeling like a bit of a prostitute, for lack of a better word.
Thankfully that’s not always the story, and I always love winning over female fans.
Sometimes it takes watching a game for people to appreciate the skill and athleticism of the players. We don’t just whack on a bikini and have a pillow fight, we train hard and hit hard.
The thing I don’t understand is that it’s ok to wear a bikini on the beach, it’s ok to wear lingerie on the catwalk (like Aussie sweetheart Miranda Kerr), it’s ok to wear a small uniform in a beach volleyball court and it’s ok to wear a skimpy uniform on the sidelines cheerleading at a footy game.
However somehow the combination of a skimpy uniform whilst competing on anything other than sand, a catwalk or sideline instigates a societal gag reflex!
I’m not a dill and realise the issue is a little more complex than that, I just don’t take the uniform too seriously – just the football.
The Legends Football League continues to evolve and the standard of play is ever-improving. I can assure you put the aforementioned lovely Miranda Kerr on the field, no offence intended but she would not last 1 down!
To Australian sports fans: if you’re sceptical, games will be broadcast on 7Mate so give it a watch before you make up your mind.
I’m quietly confident Australian audiences will ‘give it a go’!