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Anna Heasman Columnist

By Anna Heasman, Anna Heasman is a Roar Expert

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    Anna Heasman for the Green Bay Chill (Image: Legends Football League LLC)

    On the sixth of April, the Green Bay Chill played our first game of the 2013 season. For me it marked one year of living in the US and joining the Legends Football League (LFL).

    After an extended off-season and 12 months of scrimmaging against each other, we all felt raring to go.

    Seattle’s ShoWare Centre played host to the game and it was chocka-block with passionate, rowdy Seattle Mist fans.

    We arrived to our locker room 10 hours before kick-off. On paper it sounds like a long day but between the hair/makeup, photo shoots, media activities, field walkthrough and warm-ups, the time passed relatively quickly.

    The day was well choreographed, and with the locker room downtime in between, I couldn’t help be reminded of my high school Starstruck days (Hunter and Central Coast combined schools musical/dance extravaganza).

    The LFL has always faced critism of blurring the lines between sport and entertainment, to the extent that the legitimacy of the sport has come into question.

    On game day the marketting/production component was in full swing and was interesting to observe. It’s something I have not been previously exposed to in my sporting experience.

    It was all very efficiently run – kudos to the league – but I was certainly mindful of staying focussed on the job at hand – playing football.

    When you attend a game all the bells and whistles are, yes, beefing up the entertainment factor but really act to showcase the athletes and some hard hitting football.

    Without a certain standard of athlete, the LFL would not continue to grow momentum and evolve the way it has to date.

    Funnily enough running onto that field and being booed by thousands felt strangely exhilarating. My nerves were under control apart from a severe case of cotton mouth!

    After what felt like an age worth of Mist player introductions, while they backflipped through burning hoops (or whatever it was they were doing – I was more concerned with my entire mouth being adhered to my mouth guard), the coin was tossed and we were first to kick off.

    On ran our special teams’ kickoff line-up. The Mist scored on their first possession, our offense huddled and, not phased at all, our quarterback Annie Erler said, “It’s ok… I’ve got this,” and subsequently went for a quarterback draw all the way for a touchdown.

    She is one of the league’s greats for a reason.

    The first half remained close and we exited the field at half time down two points, 20-18.

    This was sufficient to silence the critics somewhat, all of whom were predicting a Mist walkover. Unfortunately we suffered in the third quarter with lapses in focus and communication.

    With seven minutes to play, I scored my first touchdown off a slant route and pinpoint pass from Erler.

    Due to the sheer iciness of the crowd I thought for a second it had been called back – it was so quiet I may have actually seen a couple of tumbleweeds cross the arena. Not at all what I envisioned, so much so I internalised my happy dance.

    The final score was 55-36. With hand-sized areas of turf burn and feeling a little battered and bruised from being introduced to the arena walls and turf by some built Mist players, it was certainly a fitting football initiation.

    This was an amazing experience. With all the outside distraction, although I felt prepared coming into the game, I wasn’t.

    It’s impossible to recreate the intensity and high emotion of game day, but with the first one under my belt I certainly now know what to expect.

    Feeling disappointed at the loss yet excitement towards our next game, the adrenaline did not let off – I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

    Images via Legends Football League LLC

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 9:24am
      steggz said | April 23rd 2013 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      Sorry, but when you pregame routine includes hair and make-up, it will not have my support. Get the girls wearing something that more resembles an NFL uniform and I might pay attention. For now, it’s just another sport trading on chicks in bikinis.

      • April 25th 2013 @ 8:33pm
        Innocent Bystander said | April 25th 2013 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

        If you want that, then just watch the men play in the NFL.

        Looks like they can play from the video.

        How come no kicking though?

        The AFL needs to come up with a bikini/lingerie competition perhaps for half time. The kiddies thing is rank.

        • April 26th 2013 @ 3:06pm
          Nathan of Perth said | April 26th 2013 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

          You can’t possibly mean that.

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 2:17pm
      Helena Heasman said | April 23rd 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

      Well Steggz – be prepared for the full wrath of a mother hen! Even when competing in Track & Field events in Australia, Anna and her competitors braided and ribboned their hair and put on their best face. You can’t tell me that even the toughest footy players don’t use product in their hair and wax their legs! It’s all about image these days! As for the uniform, it’s no skimpier than track & field athletes & beach volley ball players wear. I am well appraised of the gruelling training and fitness regimes these girls go through and the injuries they sustain – it’s time they received more bouquets than brick bats.

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 4:31pm
      Elisse said | April 23rd 2013 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

      Its o.k Steggz – I don’t think anyone was holding her breath for your ‘support’. Although it’s kinda weird that you have taken the time and energy to read this article, and then comment on how you won’t support the sport.

      I know for a fact that these amazing women are true athletes. True athletes that balance careers, children, studies and so forth AND their appearance (that females happen to be vehemently judged on – fair huh?). I find it offensive that you get on here and state your preference for NFL uniforms (what the?), as being the reason of which you will not support the sport. These women are inspiring sporting role models, that don’t use steroids, are not involved in sex scandals or bar brawls. I will not go into how hard they work without any professional help or financial reimbursement (let along gain) until maybe now that LFL has come into their lives.
      Yes, the uniform was originally designed to gain attention (but has since changed), however personal grooming is totally used in any broadcasted sport!! And honestly, as if NRL players don’t decorate their arms in pretty tribal tattoes to woo their audience? Like Helena says, this is no different to any other sport that require men/women to display their ‘best face’ in any competitive arena.

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 5:57pm
      steggz said | April 23rd 2013 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

      Come on now! There’s a difference between NRL (where some guys put in an effort to look nice, but their skills will get them game time) and the LFL (which trades primarily on the appearance of their ‘players’, even after the ‘change’ in their uniforms, which was really just a removal of garter belts and playing in something more like a sports bra than lingerie). Yes, they’re talented athletes, but they’re in the comp first of all because they don’t mind putting their boobs on display. It’s the same reason I have little interest in beach volleyball, because the main thing promoters want is hot chicks in skimpy bikinis.

      If I want true female athletes, I’ll look to the W-League, the female cricketers, the WNBL among others. Women who are on the sporting field first and foremost because of their ability.

      • April 26th 2013 @ 5:26pm
        Nathan of Perth said | April 26th 2013 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

        Hugely more interested in Indoor Volleyball than Beach Volleyball, partly for that reason – watch it a bit when it’s on Eurosport (including the Asian championships; Wang Yimei is awesome). Prefer the intricacies of the larger team and the longer rallies as well.

    • Columnist

      April 23rd 2013 @ 11:35pm
      Anna Heasman said | April 23rd 2013 @ 11:35pm | ! Report

      I’m sorry you feel that way Steggz. It’s true I have always done my hair and makeup when competing in any sport as being presentable in any situation is important to me. Being athletic for me does not mean sacrificing any of my femininity. On the other end of the spectrum, some women playing traditionally male dominated sports get accused of being too ‘butch’. So we can’t bloody win! I’m stoked that you support the WNBL, the W-league and the like – there needs to be more fans like you to open up more opportunities for female athletes that often juggle work and full time sporting commitments. I’d be even more ecstatic to learn if your female? Because I’d love to see more women supporting women across all sports. I Can assure you I joined the LFL to play football – not to have my boobs on display (which last time I checked a little cleavage was socially acceptable – do you walk down the street or go to the beach with your eyes closed?) In the same breath I am proud of my body and think the confidence it takes to compete in front of thousands is somewhat empowering in my mind. Is your stand on surf lifesaving the same because men wear speedos I wonder?

      • April 25th 2013 @ 1:32am
        melo-drama said | April 25th 2013 @ 1:32am | ! Report

        Ok I read Steggz first comment and thought wow, thats super uncalled for. I think it’s great that this LFL is up and running and people are seeing women are willing to go out and go hard on the field kudos…. But as a traditionalist and I’m not really an old man (28yo) your wearing skimpy dress to attract people to the sport? I mean i’ve seen womens rugby and they dont wear anything similar even the sport its imitating doesn’t parade itself in that sense.
        I think that was Steggz point and clevage, skimpy outfits and girls? I’m sorry but I think if you want the sport to be taken seriously then you wouldn’t dress up like track athletes to play a game of NFL…..
        I think thats fair enough? its not really being sexist well I dont think so. But you can understand perception and in reality its always going to give the wrong one……
        my 0.5c worth

      • April 25th 2013 @ 1:35am
        melo-drama said | April 25th 2013 @ 1:35am | ! Report

        P.S. I love the Packers!!

    • Columnist

      April 25th 2013 @ 2:42am
      Anna Heasman said | April 25th 2013 @ 2:42am | ! Report

      Nice to hear your a Packers ‘cheesehead’ melo-drama!! I completely understand that the LFL is not for everyone, there will always be the critics that will never be won over. I’ve spoken about this before that (sadly) it’s the reality of women’s sport that it took a novelty approach to create the fan base/exposure (no pun intended) that the LFL has. Now the sport is evolving, after the first 2 seasons there was a massive turnover in players due to the ever improving standard, if your not a discipline d athlete you will not survive on the field. I really don’t take the attire too seriously, it hasn’t prompted me to painfully dissect the social implications, nor has it lead to questioning my own morality…although massively challenging most importantly its bloody great fun!!

      • April 27th 2013 @ 10:12pm
        Pete75 said | April 27th 2013 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

        Anna,

        It would appear to me that LFL started out as a bit of titillation, and has now grown into a fully fledged professional sport.

        The way I see it, the women who play are fit, skilled, focused and deliver a high intensity game into the deal. As far as I can see, the sport has evolved from a ‘novelty’ into one that is as valid as any. I fail to see any problem with that!

        Go for it!

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