The 15-year-old daughter of a good friend of mine asked if I thought women could compete in the NFL. Knowing that she plays three sports herself, and is a hard-working student, who is not shy about expressing feminist ideas; I knew that my answer had to go beyond a simple yes or no, or an insensitive grunt. I told Aggie that I had seen a girl kicker play for the winning team in a state finals game, and that she played very well. However, I had to give her the truth and told her that football is primarily all about speed and strength. Players get mercilessly weeded out based on very strict criteria. The sport is unforgiving on many levels, not just the pounding that takes place on the field.
Aggie has a fire burning inside of her, and playing football is not something she aspires to, but knowing that other girls may want to, makes her want to champion that idea. The last thing I wanted to do was douse her fire, my answer needed complete honesty or it would come off as disingenuous. Granted, I am no expert in football, and am just a very casual fan at best. I reasoned that women are, at this point, extremely vital to the sport. As the mothers of future athletes, they have the power to direct their children into sports they are comfortable with. So, being inclusive to women is actually good business for the game. I looked at Aggie to see if I had made a fool of myself, or if she appreciated my candor. Aggie simply nodded, stood up, and moved on to whatever else occupied her day. I looked at her father who laughed and he told me that I had done better than he had with the same question. I leaned back into my chair and continued watching the game.
Something I recently learned, that maybe the question is not: “Can women compete with men in all aspects of sports?” but rather, “What roles do women play and what roles do men play in competition?” Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about who’s better, but how you play the game is what’s most important. And that’s what I’ll to try and convey to you in this article.
Women have ceaselessly pounded against the proverbial glass ceiling, chipping away at it and starting to puncture through with determination. In spite of intractable opposition from the ideologies of the past, such as feminism, but a new wave of feminists are on the rise. Under the banner of oppression, inequality, and sexism, just to name a few. The blame is placed at feet of the Patriarchy, hypothetically, holding women down. However, I for one, see it in another light. Ever since the invention of the pill, the tampon, and labor saving appliances, it has partially (if not completely) emancipated women, leveling the playing field. The radicals never seem to point out the fact that there has never been a better time for women in all of history. Being an all female league, we promote femininity, comparable to how men accentuate masculinity. We are what your women (or you) should aspire to be.
Highlights from past LFC events
There was a time when UFC president, Dana White, said that women will never fight in the UFC. Oh, how far we’ve come. The glass ceiling is still mostly intact for the “oppressed”. But for the empowered, the progressive, and the determined, we will not fall to the victim mentality. All those trapped beneath it can use the example of the toughness of women, and metaphorically emulate the ground and pound, to help obliterate the glass ceiling. Bravo to those that take up the struggle: family, friends, colleagues, foes. All those we respect. This is a great time in our history for all women to both aspire and inspire.
My work has been published in the LFC in many different forms. I have enjoyed disseminating the match-ups, writing about the fighters, and offering both previews and insights. Still, I have to wonder if the fans really understand what goes into being a part of this league. Do they see beyond the beauty of the fighters or the provocative nature of their outfits? If only a cursory glance is given, and if content is only partially watched, does the viewer grasp what the league embodies?
The uniqueness of the LFC has as much to do with what goes on behind the scenes as what happens on fight night. The reality TV series ‘Exposed!’ bolster the brand that is the LFC. The show is an unquestionable asset, offering fans an invaluable and multi-layered look into the sport, from back story, training, pre-fight events to fight night match-ups. The varied personalities of the fighters come across with no artifice; no two women are alike. Of course, fans will have their favorites and will dislike others, this is all part of the game.
Can the LFC serve as inspiration to other women, or just people in general? The answer to that is a resounding Yes! It is not just about the immutable characteristics that comprise both teams; it is about the intricacies that weave them together. If one pays attention to the nuances that are emblematic of the fighters, different/interesting perspectives will emerge.
I have never skied or snowboarded, yet I find myself wanting to do just that with Serina 'Honey Punch' Kyle (2-2). The risk of a broken bone or two would be high for me, but just to experience that with someone like Serina makes it worthwhile. Her inner beauty always shines through no matter what she is doing and her undaunted spirit is contagious. If I had a date with a beat down, I would reach out to Jolene 'The Valkyrie' Hexx (24-7-1) for advice. The strength of her character seems overwhelming at times, but who better to offer support at a moment like that than her. This is one person who backs up her trash-talking with action. If truth is the order of the day, there is one person in the LFC who is incapable of even the slightest amount of deception, and that is Andreea 'The Storm' Vladoi (13-4-1). The truth is an uncomfortable transaction for all parties involved, Andreea’s unabashed truth-telling nature and integrity are fearless. If, it is a lesson in composure you need, look no further than to Roxy 'Roundhouse' Michaels (10-3), who is the epitome of this. A walk through hell and back would not be complete without Shelly 'Aphrodite' DaSilva (9-7), who is very familiar with the terrain.
Ending on a personal note: I oftentimes think about my family, and if I were to have a daughter, how would I feel about her fighting for the LFC? Surely, I will do everything within my power to ensure she makes the best choices in life. That she fights for what she believes in, fight for her dreams, fight to aspire; whichever the path. Whatever choices she makes… “An unexamined life is not worth living,” said the great Socrates, and being a father, all I can do is raise her with integrity and honor. So long as you’re honest to yourself, this is your life, you’re free to choose the path. Do it with grace, do it with power, and do it with no regrets. Thank you for reading.
CAM & Van