You think girls can't play football ... well, think again, boys. Cause we're about to bring it. My name is Brigid Mullen, and for the next few months I will be your eyes and ears into the new world of football.
I am a 22-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin. I'm majoring in both finance and marketing, and will graduate in December. Right now, I have three jobs (bartender, cocktail waitress, and library assistant) to pay my way through school, and I'm looking toward a career in investment banking or sports marketing. But until that happens, I figured I should take up a few hobbies to occupy the rest of my time, including playing football in the Women's Professional Football League.
Here's my story, from the top. I joined the Air Force ROTC as a freshman and was in for three years. That's right, I went through boot camp and ended up doing pretty well, despite the fact that the colonel knew me as Lethal-Weapon Barbie. Don't ask. I earned the distinguished graduate award and became the first female cadet in two years to win the expert marksmanship award with a 9-mm. I also had the opportunity to fly a few small-prop planes and the T-37, the trainer jet for the F-16.
I also got involved in beauty pageants and am the current Miss Wisconsin USA first runner-up. If anything happens to the winner, I get to compete in Miss USA and chill with Donald Trump, which would be pretty cool. Interview, swimsuit, evening gown, talent, I've done it and it has been an amazing experience. Who knows? Maybe I'll try for the title again this year if I don't have a football game that day.
So what do you do from there? Take up modeling, of course! I got into it a few weeks ago and have done a few photo shoots and promotional events. You may even spot me in a magazine here or there. It is tons of fun and you get paid to smile. You make contacts with lots of cool people. Last weekend, I got to meet some up-and-coming rappers from Chicago and dance onstage with Twista and his boys, which was awesome.
So how does one go from pictures and pageants to football? Basically, I saw an ad in the student newspaper and gave the team owner a call. I had obvious questions like, "Is this for real?" and "Is it flag or tackle?" and "Can I still be in my fantasy league if I play?" Honestly, I had never heard of any type of women's football before.
The Women's Professional Football League (WPFL) has only been around for a few years. It is full-pad, hard-hitting, and in-your-face. Trust me, most of the women in this league are prepared and excited to grind your face into the dirt. Some are 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds of "I am going to rip those pretty little legs of yours right off."
We play by NFL rules. Our team, the WI Wolves, is part of the WPFL's National Conference (there is also an American). We will play home games in Madison and away games all over the country. Our first game is on July 22, and the championship is Nov. 4. We'll play at least 10 Saturday night games. Right now, the coaches have me at free safety, but I may also get some time at wide receiver and play both sides of the ball.
I am getting big-game butterflies just writing about it. I cannot possibly describe the levels of enthusiasm, excitement, and pure anticipation that all our ladies have on and off the field. It's awesome.
We've had team training sessions the past few weeks at an indoor field and were recently fitted for our pads. You are not allowed to laugh, but mine are size "boys, junior." Hey, just because some of us are small doesn't mean we don't pack a punch. This weekend will be exciting because we get to go to a practice at Camp Randall with the Badgers.
Look for my columns throughout the spring and summer (my next one will appear later this month), where I will bring you the down-and-dirty of what really goes on this season.
I've never watched women's professional football, but I have met one of the players from the San Diego Sunfire while down there on vacation a couple of years ago. She was a linebacker, and I'd have let her tackle me anytime.