Despite scanty attendance, the Lingerie Football League (LFL) is not going away: underwear-clad football is alive, and expanding to markets near you.
In my last LFL story, I mentioned several major cities in Canada that were being courted as prospective venues for new franchises. After much debate, the new teams include the Saskatoon Sirens, Regina Rage, and British Columbia Angels, located in Abbotsford. These three teams, plus the reinstated Toronto Triumph, make up the Canadian LFL division and only square off against each other until the Lingerie Bowl in Nov.
The Angels’ season began on Aug. 24, where over 2500 fans showed up to the Abbotsford Sport and Entertainment Centre to see running back Stephanie Manou score three touchdowns and run for over 100 yards in a 41–18 victory over the Regina Rage. Rage quarterback, Nikki Johnson, did not have the support that Angels’ quarterback Mary Anne Hanson enjoyed in the romp.
Much of the mostly younger male audience did not seem concerned with how garter belts and two-sided duct tape became football gear. In fact, they seemed more interested with the number of wardrobe malfunctions caused by the action on the gridiron, and how to get a cold beer in the stands. However, they soon became quite interested with the quality of football being played. There were many women in the stands for the first game as well.
For some, there is a question of whether lingerie football can even be called a sport. Critics feel that poles along the sideline are all that is needed for the game to be considered a show at a local gentlemen’s club, while others argue players are still hardcore athletes, and football is football no matter the ‘uniform.’
To be fair, the women do their best to be taken seriously as athletes, with intense hits, interesting set plays, and plenty of raw emotion erupting from football’s aggressive nature. Clearly, some of the vicious fights and loud expletives directed at the opposition—and certain fans, such as the man who interfered with one of the girls’ catches—would never be permitted in men’s-only leagues.
A blatant example was a play ending with a nasty clothes-line tackle, where the ensuing brawl would certainly be called a major foul or unsportsmanlike conduct in the CFL or NFL. On the flip side, one must consider how the women are wearing more clothing than a beach volleyball team or a women’s track and field squad—or the men’s Olympic diving team, for that matter—which is considered normal by today’s standards. Also impressive is how the women absorb crushing hits with half the padding their male counterparts are required to wear. Since there is no team health insurance coverage, the league is now considered amateur.
Those curious about the league can watch games Saturday nights at 8:30 on Chek TV. The BC Angels are now 1–1 after losing 43–0 on the road against Saskatoon. With Abbotsford set to host the Lingerie Bowl, we will still be seeing much more from the ladies this year.