I’m not a huge sports fan. My favorite sporting event to watch is the Olympics, but I’ve also been a fan of ice hockey over the years. I prefer watching women’s sports to men’s and the Olympics offers me the most of that since professional sports is still very much a man’s domain. The enjoyment of these things makes one of my favorite sports teams the women’s Olympic ice hockey team, and yeah it’s depressing that I only get to see them on TV once every four years. Athletic women are fast and agile which makes them particularly exciting to watch in a hockey game.
To be clear: I do not think women and men should ever play contact sports against one another and I am not advocating throwing women into men’s teams. The physiological differences between the two genders are too distinct to make that anything but a bad idea. But why are there no women’s professional leagues? I just don’t get it. I’m just as happy (actually more so) to watch two female ice hockey players body-check each other into the wall and I don’t understand why women’s professional sports (aside from tennis) remains apparently unmarketable. Athletic go-getter women impress the heck out of me because I’ve always wanted to be one, and I’m only just now in my 40’s learning how interested I am in honing my physical athletic skills. I spent my entire childhood wimping out to the tune of, “oh I couldn’t possibly do that!” Well, better late than never.
So when I discovered the LFL (Legends Football League) and that women are actually playing badass, full contact, tackle football against one another – I experienced a moment of glee and entertained the possibility that I might actually become a football fan!
Then I found out that their uniforms look like this:
It’s not that they don’t look spectacular, they do. Those players have the kind of physique I can only dream of having. But I can’t watch a football game with people dressed like that. I’ve seen clips and these women hit hard and hold nothing back, which is awesome, but when I watch I’m perpetually cringing over how foolish it is not to wear proper protective gear during a violent, full contact sport and wondering if they’re constantly distracted by the imminent danger of popping out of their bikini top.
I did a little digging, and apparently the LFL used to be called the Lingerie Football League and the entire purpose of it was hinged on the hope that one of them would pop out of their top, and fans could buy opportunities to tackle or kiss one of the players (that might still be going on, I’m not sure). So the fact that they re-branded the name and switched to sportier, beach-volleyball type uniforms is actually an improvement. However from what I was able to learn the players are still unpaid volunteers, so despite getting it’s start as a sex-selling sideshow this sport still isn’t apparently making enough money to support full time players’ salaries (or all the owners are just extraordinarily greedy, I don’t know).
And these women are talented enough that they should be able to earn a living being athletes! There’s a lot of women who are good enough and young girls should be dreaming of growing up to be professional athletes if they want to with at least the opportunity that the dream may one day come true.
Granted, the window of opportunity for anyone to be a professional sports player is extremely small, I think about the same odds as becoming a professional actor. But women’s sports are still so unpopular that (again, outside of tennis or being an Olympian) it’s not something that young women usually even consider beyond extra-curricular activities.
I love watching women play sports, and I’m far more interested in that then watching men. Am I the only one? Why are women’s sports still unpopular enough that we don’t have a women’s league Super Bowl, World Series, or Stanley Cup? I’d tune in.
I hope the LFL reconsiders what its players are wearing and eventually takes them as seriously as these impressive athletes deserve. I’d be there on Sunday nights, cheering them on. And I’ll continue to dream of my professional women’s ice hockey league while I wait patiently for the Winter Olympics to come around again.