Tuesday, May 3, 2011

They don't tell me to lose weight

I asked KJ why she played football and she replied, "They don't tell me to lose weight and they don't ask me to hold back."

Professional full-contact NFL-rules football doesn't seem to be a women's sport.  When I heard Austin, Texas has a women's team, I emailed the team general manager Lily Messina and offered to shoot photos at their games.  I love doing sports photography and being the photographer for a professional team was a dream for me.  Lily welcomed me.  

The Outlaws were a remarkable group of women.  As I shot photos at games and practices, I found the players didn't fit any stereotype of what kind of woman would play this demanding sport.  I started asking the question on my mind and possibly on yours, why?  Why do women play football?

That question became the basis for a series of articles I wrote for the Outlaw's.  I interviewed players and wrote profiles about them which published to their website under the heading "Featured Player."  Those profiles may someday become a book (would you buy a copy?) but until then, I'm going to publish many of them in here.

KJ was my first featured player.  She quickly dispelled any notions I may have had about the players.  She holds a Masters Degree in English and is articulate and insightful as she talks about playing football.  She understands the fundamentals (when I showed her one of my photos she commented the proper form in lining up).  She's a big woman but she carries her size very well, is in excellent physical condition, and she's physically strong. 

My featured players cover a wide range of size, athletic ability, and sports backgrounds.  Some small, some large, many with college degrees (some with Masters).  In this blog you'll get to meet many of these remarkable women and learn about them and about their team, and their sport.  Mostly this is about the players but I'll post on related topics.

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