One of The Fastest Growing Sports Franchises in The World Isn’t What You think
DW-USA.Marissa Lopez and her sister Miriah Lopez, excelled at a variety of sports while growing up in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas. Their mother never missed one of their volleyball or softball games and cheered her daughters on through every championship win. But when it came to the sport they loved the most, tackle football, their mother put her foot down. “No football,” she said. “I don’t want you girls getting hurt.”
American women’s gridiron football isn’t a new concept, as early as the 1920’s, NFL teams such as The Yellow Jackets fielded women’s teams for halftime entertainment. And in 1970, Patricia Barzi Palinkas became the first American woman to ever play on a men’s semipro tackle football team. But in 2018, despite the warnings of their mother, Marissa and Miriah both tried out for the LFL, the Legends Football League. The LFL is considered to be on-pace to exceed the National Football League in the total number of international television households and has already surpassed any other female sports franchise in global television viewership.
The LFL also has its detractors. Many say that the uniforms are too sexy and discount the franchise as being degrading to women, comparing it unfavorably with “real” female athletics, such as US women’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball.
But the Lopez sisters step out on to their home field in Ontario, California with pride every single game and have this message for naysayers: “The best thing about playing in the LFL for me would have to be the level of competition,” says Marissa. “I get to put my athleticism to the test every time I’m out in the field.”