Recently, I was flipping through my channels and saw a Lingerie Football League game on MTV2 (don't worry I don't frequently watch that channel). Yes, the women are dressed in less than modest attire, but once the whistle is blown they hit hard and bruise just like the men. It dawned on me that I had heard rumors that a former campmate of mine was on the Chicago team. Turns out that wasn't entirely true. Julie Farby, the girl all the guys had crushes on at Camp Ramah, had tried out but unfortunately did not make it. Farby was always an athlete. She was one of the stars of the girls’ basketball and softball team and we were on sports staff together as counselors. Farby took her passion for sports to the field in her tryout and here is her experience.
1) Tell The Great Rabbino a little bit about yourself. Did you play sports growing up?
I always loved playing sports. You name it, I played it. Basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, pretty much my entire childhood consisted of me playing some organized sport or another. Sometimes that included me being the only girl on the team, which I didn't really mind— though I'm not sure how the boys felt about it. No one likes being shown up by a girl, but I think once the novelty wore off, they treated me like anyone else on the team.
2) What made you decide to try out for the Lingerie Football League?
I honestly didn't even know the league existed until like a month before the tryouts when I saw a video of one of last year's LFL game online. I was pretty much blown away by the idea that there was actually a league where girls got payed to play real tackle football live on MTV2. It was right up my alley. As a journalist, I was used to skimpy pay; the skimpy uniforms, on the other hand, would take some getting used to. But it looked like so much fun, I couldn't resist.
3) What were tryouts like?
Tryouts were really intense. Athletically, I hadn't done much since playing Lacrosse my freshman year in college, and some intramural softball and basketball leagues after that, so I wasn't sure what to expect. About 160 girls showed up to the tryouts, where we had to run the 40, do a variety of strength, skill and endurance tests, including pass, catch, and tackle drills, and by the end of the day, they had cut all but 35 or so of us. Those who made it past the first round were invited back to an increasingly intense week of mini-camp, where they narrowed the field even more. The remaining 30 of us were invited to come back to an even more grueling training camp, which lasted two more weeks, until they had the 20 players they needed to fill their roster. With a bunch of returning veterans, roster space was unfortunately limited, and as a result, my LFL journey ended after training camp. But for someone who had never played football in their life, wasn't a marathon runner or a fitness instructor, I think I did pretty well. I definitely learned a lot, too. But some skills you can't teach. Like either you are okay with tackling and getting tackled or you're not. I fall into the former. If I see you with the ball, rest assured I'm coming for you, and you're going down one way or another.
4) What was the most surprising thing about your experience?
The most surprising thing about the whole experience was definitely the level of competition. I thought it would maybe be more about looks than anything else, but that simply wasn't the case. These girls are real athletes, some of them have played football before, some haven't, but pretty much everyone was serious about making the team, and it showed. This was not a powder puff league that's for sure. These girls are elite athletes and work as hard as anyone I've seen. The skill level was very impressive. Watch a game and I guarantee you'll agree these girls are the real deal.
5) Do you think Chicago will embrace the team like it has other sports?
Chicago is a great sports town so I can't believe they wouldn't love the Bliss, too. The team's been around for like two or three years and seems to be growing along with the league in general, which is obviously good to see. I mean what more could you want than watching a bunch of beautiful, bad ass, lingerie clad women play real, hard-nose, smash mouth football? At the very least, they sure look a hell of a lot better in spandex than some of the Bears. And have certainly been more competitive than the Cubs these past two years. Haha, just kidding. But I honestly think Chicago is one of the greatest sports cities in the nation. Just ask them, they'll tell you!
6) What’s next in the athletic career of Julie Farby?
Hopefully, the next step in my athletic career is actually making it on the active roster and onto the football field. The Bliss have had a rough start this year, currently sitting at 0-2 after two tough home losses, something they had never done before. I'd like to think some Julie Farby is just what they need! In the meantime, I've been working hard to get in shape, hone my football skills, and do whatever I can to ensure myself a spot on the squad. I can't do anything about the fact that at 5'4" 115 lbs, I am definitely undersized, even for a league that plays in glorified bikinis. But while I may not be big, I can certainly play big, and that is exactly what I intend to do.
7) Who is your favorite Chicago athlete of all-time?
Wow, that's a hard question because there's so many Chicago athletes I love. I guess I'd have to say Frank Thomas and Ozzie Guillen (as a player) were some of my old-school favorites, along with the obligatory Walter Payton/Michael Jordan answer because seriously how can you leave those two out? Other than that, I am a huge Brian Urlacher and Paul Konerko fan because they've just been quietly awesome for years now. And of course Chicago's own MVP D-Rose. How can you not love the guy? He is so exciting to watch and will hopefully be bringing some titles home- that is if they ever end the lockout and actually play a game. I think Chicago sports in general have some bright days ahead of them, hopefully the Bliss included.
8) What do you do off the field?
When not taking snaps, I write a blog called Democralypse Now which I like to describe as an equal-opportunity satirist exposing stupidity in government and politics, one hilariously scathing post at a time. Like Stephen Colbert…only hotter.
Thank you to Farby for the interview. Best of luck at next year's tryouts. I am sure The Great Rabbino fans will be rooting and watching for you.
And Let Us Say...Amen.