These days and this particular weekend, in fact, it’s difficult to ignore the rough and tumble sport that is front and centre where it belongs. It may even overshadow our national obsession with hockey in the Great White North some day.
I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you are pretty sure I’m referring to this weekend’s big CFL Grey Cup championship game that represents the very pinnacle of sporting excitement, skill and extensive betting in football pools.
Not this time.
Oh, I’m talking about football all right, but football at a much higher level of, say, femaleness, and a much sparser level of clothing. I’m talking, of course, about the newest football league that has become understandably popular in some circles, and understandably controversial in others.
I’m talking about the LFL — the Lingerie Football League.
Started in 2009 in (where else?) Hollywood, Calif., the Lingerie Football League consists of Victoria’s Secret models flitting around like angels in flowing gossamer underwear “tackling” each other.
And presumably there’s a football involved somewhere in the midst of it all. At least that’s what I envisioned when I first heard about the LFL. They don’t call the exhibition matches All Fantasy Games for nothing.
In actuality, the Lingerie Football League doesn’t involve “lingerie” by any definition, except as a title that is guaranteed to bring in legions of a certain type of fans (men). In fact, LFL founder Mitch Mortaza has admitted that the league is marketed toward “mostly beer-drinking college students aged 21 and up.”
Regardless, the salient details are these: The LFL is seven-on-seven female tackle football based on indoor arena football rules. Thing is, the players are required to wear garters, bras and panties, although the league noted that “the typical LFL uniform is not that much more revealing than typical track uniforms.” Although I personally don’t remember noticing bras and garters during any of the recent Olympic track and field events.
Since the football is “full contact,” the ladies also wear shoulder pads (no shirt, just the pads above the bra area), elbow and knee pads and hockey-style helmets with clear plastic visors instead of typical football helmet grid facemasks. This is presumably so fans can clearly see the players’ outstanding features. (The face, I’m talking about the face.)
In the name of extensive research, I had to spend considerable time extensively researching the multitude of photographic images on the Lingerie Football Website (www.lflus.com) by carefully studying the strategic padding design of the uniforms.
I couldn’t help but notice that often the largest unprotected area (just below the shoulder pads) played a rather prominent, highly vulnerable role in the football physique of pretty much all the players, although I’m quite sure most of the players seemed safely fortified with large amounts of protective silicone.
Be that as it may, amidst a certain amount of criticism that the league “demeans female athletes by ‘pernicious objectification’,” the 2010 LFL grew in not only overall silicone statistics but has increased in popularity to the point where expansion teams have been announced.
After the Western Conference Los Angeles Temptation defeated the Eastern Conference Chicago Bliss by a score of 27-14 at the Lingerie Bowl in Miami last February, the announced 2012 roster has expanded to 12 teams in the U.S. Although I’ll bet none of the men polled after the Lingerie Bowl could recall what the final score was or even who won the game. In fact, some beer-drinking college students aged 21 and up were heard to say, “Football? You mean there was a football out there?”
With the expansion, fans can now keep close, careful, visual track of more of their favourite Lingerie Football teams — a tough choice with names like: Las Vegas Sin, Baltimore Mist, Philadelphia Passion or Orlando Fantasy.
And guess what? Like all good things American, Lingerie Football has invaded Canada.
There is now a team in Toronto (The Triumph), and it was recently announced that LFL Canada will have five other markets — Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City and Montreal — in a 12-week schedule, and the first Canadian Lingerie Bowl will take place on Nov. 24, 2012, the day before next year’s Grey Cup game.
Imagine, the Lingerie Bowl and the Grey Cup in the same weekend! Almost too much for a football fan to fathom.
But hey, if the Lingerie Football League is coming to Canada next season, if critics are worried about the ‘validity’ and ‘legitimacy’ of women playing football while wearing very little clothing, wouldn’t the real test be to hold the games in outdoor stadiums like regular Canadian football?
We could have memorable teams like the Calgary Frostbite, the Edmonton Hypothermia, or the Vancouver Chilblain. And by the time the championship game rolls around in November, and is played in, say, Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, the first all-female football association may have to change their name from the Lingerie Football League to the Snowmobile Suit Football League.
I wonder how many fans would turn up for the SSFL?
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.