During the week, one is a chemical engineer. One is a nutritional consultant. Another is a police sergeant in Baltimore City. But on weekends, they play for the Baltimore Charm of the Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League).
These women of the gridiron have their first home game of the season Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena, where seven members of the Charm were present for a news conference Thursday afternoon.
How did these women become involved with the LFL? Most longed for the competitive nature of athletics they experienced in high school and college, and the LFL offered the opportunity to return to competition while also showcasing their looks.
“I’ve always toed the line between being an athlete, being tough and being feminine and beautiful at the same time, and the LFL is the perfect mixture of that,” Opal Jones said.
Not everyone may take the LFL seriously as a sport, but that doubting is nothing new to the Charm’s Kelly Campbell, a cheerleader and dancer in high school.
“They’re not sports that are taken seriously as athletic endeavors, but for me they were,” Campbell said. “This has allowed me to bring out that aspect of cheerleading where I still get to be beautiful and feminine but finally I get to show how aggressive I am and how tough I am.”
In addition to their full-time jobs, the players practice 10 hours per weekend for the Charm. They have to do their own promotion. Some have kids. They say they face another unique challenge that their male counterparts in the sport don’t.
“Compared to the men in the sport, it requires a lot more of us [to play],” Tashawna Gaines said. “We suffer the same injuries as any professional athlete would in the sport, but we are required still to maintain a certain look.”
Bumps and bruises suffered during action include collarbone injuries, concussions, jammed fingers, knee injuries and lost toe nails, according to the players.
The team’s four-game season began in disappointing fashion two weekends ago with a 27-12 loss in Florida to the Jacksonville Breeze.
That hasn’t discouraged these players from staying confident.
“This is my third season with the Charm in the LFL," Morgan Spencer said. "The third time’s the charm and we’re going to win it all this year."