The Lingerie Football League's Denver franchise, the Dream, held an open mini-camp/tryout at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Thursday, and because I'm as shameless as the next alleged journalist, I showed up. Here's what I saw:
Professional soccer players: As I made my way down to the field, I saw three or four members of the Colorado Rapids, Denver's Major League Soccer team, walking out of the stadium. As they passed the handful of media folks in attendance, I wondered how much it must hurt their insides to see more media at a tryout for an ill-fated woman's football league than one of their games. As they passed a DenverPost.com camerawoman, she asked if they wanted to say anything about the tryout on camera. One answered for the group: "I don't think I want to say anything about that."
Women who run faster than me: That was moderately depressing. After some warm-ups, the women trying out for the team -- there were several there who'd already made it -- lined up for a timed 40-yard dash. I peaked at the coaches' evaluation sheets, and a few of the women came in under 5.5. Since my legs are roughly the length of Greg Oden's hair follicles, and I get winded
doing eating Push-Ups, I'm thinking I'd get smoked by more than a few of these women.
My saving grace: Never during a timed 40 would a tube of lip gloss fall out of my shorts, which definitely happened during one girl's run. And if a tube of lip gloss did fall out of my shorts, I definitely wouldn't retrieve it so nonchalantly, as this woman did, as if that was a totally normal occurance.
Needless to say, this was the highlight of the afternoon.
The head coach: He's a deadly serious fellow, as evidenced by the brief speech he made to his assistants before the tryout started: "Coaches, don't take into account their looks. Evaluate them only on their ability."
Umm, boss, I'm not sure you're understanding the appeal of women playing football in their underwear.
A woman to root for: I realized after about about 14 minutes that being cynical about lingerie football is like doing coke in the 80s, sleeping with Tara Reid in the 90s, or doing coke and sleeping with Tara Reid in the 00s: It's quite unoriginal. (Sort of like Tara Reid-coke jokes, come to think of it). So I went looking for someone I could root for.
It took me about 30 seconds. The first woman I approached was Chantelle Schwandner, who was sitting on the edge of the field, rubbing out a calf injury. Blond and pretty and perfectly capable of kicking my ass, Chatelle, 30, told me she's a fitness instructor in Breckenridge. But she loves football, has played in various recreational leagues, and wanted to see if she could cut it playing tackle with the girls. Along with the opportunity to run full-steam into other women, "It's marketing," she says of the opportunity. "It's publicity." If potential clients know she also knocks heads in a pro football league, that's money in her pocket. And it's hard to laugh at money in someone's pocket. So Chantelle Schwandner is officially my favorite Lingerie Football player, whether she makes it or not.
She probably won't. She tore her calf snowboarding and reinjured it running a lip gloss-free 40. "I wish they could just give me whatever they give the pros," she said, watching the rest of the girls execute the drills. "I'll play through it."