Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Questions With An IWFL/LFL Player

Are Lingerie Football League players actually athletes? Read today's interview with Michelle Jacot and find out:

Hello, my name's Michelle Amara Jacot, I'm 24 yrs old and grew up with my parents, three brothers, and an assortment of pets in Garden Grove, California. Since the age of four I was submerged in dancing until the age of about thirteen. From that point on I made a choice to pursue soccer, the sport I loved most and continued to play up until my two years of community college at Orange Coast College (OCC) were finished. In high school I also joined the track team and was involved mainly in the high, triple, and long jumps. After OCC, I transferred over to Cal State University of Fullerton (CSUF) and just focused on my degrees: BA in psychology and a minor in sociology while continuing soccer for the Orange County Women's Soccer League (OCWSL). I graduated in December of 2007 from CSUF and since then have traveled, been working as a dancer, model, athlete and enjoyed focusing on the new sport in my life - Football!

1. How did you come to start playing football? What other sports, if any, have you been involved in over the years?

Who knew women's tackle football existed?! I sure as heck didn't! I was at a friend's house and Christy Crizer was the one to tell me and Giovanna Ferraro about the IWFL. We both were ecstatic and decided to go to a training and the try-outs last December 2008. I grew up being around football as my dad (a true 49ers fan!) and brothers all watched the sport when we were younger, but I never was as interested in it because I didn't understand all the plays and positioning that took place! Now that I've learned the sport better and been playing for the past year I love watching football and it helps me notice more about what I need to improve on when I play.

As I mentioned, the main sport I've played throughout the years is soccer. I also participated in jumping for Track & Field, played co-ed softball for two years, and have my outside athletic hobbies such as lifting in the gym, snowboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, wrestling, and anything else I find appealing and fun to try!

2. Which league is the tougher to play in: the IWFL or the LFL? What drew you to each?

It's quite hard to say whether the IWFL or LFL is tougher to play in! The biggest distinguishing factor is the protection involved! If you think about it, it's tougher to play with such minimal clothing & padding while your skin is more exposed to damage; especially when playing on a turf field! But, in my overall opinion the IWFL is tougher in the sense that I am going up against women that can range up to five times my size. In saying this, whether you're in full gear or not, overall body damage is worsened by hitting and getting hit by someone bigger in size than myself. In the LFL, yes there's taller and heavier women than myself but it's more comparable to play against than in the IWFL. Physically, the IWFL is tougher. Mentally, both are very similar in toughness. As an athlete in any sport, you have to be mentally stable and prepared to perform well consistently, take critique, and be open to learning the game and improving as well!

I was drawn to the IWFL at first simply because I thought it was so fantastic and empowering that women were playing full on tackle football! I wanted to be a part of. I'm very free-spirited and always wanting to try something new; and especially with my obsessive sport ventures I just knew I had to try playing for the IWFL. It was perfect opportunity for me (although expensive!) to learn the game and challenge myself and it set me up for then finding out about the LFL! After the Breakers season was finished Coach Manny mentioned that I would be a good candidate for the LFL, so I called Joey Davenport (QB for the Los Angeles Temptation) and ended up getting accepted to play for the LFL. I was drawn to the LFL because it was different in the sense that we're not only football players, but viewed as entertainment as well which I felt could open up more doors and opportunities for me. Yes, we're getting paid to play the sport, but overall I just liked the idea of it and I wanted to continue playing football!

3. Do you find you are taken seriously as an LFL player? How about an IWFL player? Which do you think has more respect and/or recognition?

Just the word "Lingerie" throws people off! It kind of insults me because at times people do not take the LFL seriously; well not until they actually go on the website to see our game clips or come watch a game live. Some people know about it and are total fans and respect us as true athletes, not just women running around half-naked! That's what I hope to accomplish. Yes, we're in tiny outfits, but I want people to know that we're training and playing real football and that we're women trying to accomplish that one day this may become just as big as the professional men who are athletes! I am very respected as an IWFL player because we're in full gear and have almost replicate to that of NFL rules. Still, just like the LFL, many people do not know these leagues exist and it's unfortunate. But because of the lingerie factor and us being viewed and put out there for entertainment and sex appeal, ultimately the IWFL is more respected in certain ways.

4. Who have been your role models thus far? Do you consider yourself a role model?

I can't say I have a single one role model, but there's specific people I've met along the way in my life that offer me outlooks and inspirations that I would consider that of role models. I admire certain people who have certain strengths and have experiences that I look up to and try to accomplish as well. I do feel in particular ways and circumstances that I am a role model to some. I can only hope so. I do feel I have a certain presence and strength that people look up to and I try to be as positive as I can to help others and my teammates out. There's a lot more growing I have to do and in that journey I hope to improve on being more of a role model for others!

5. What are your plans for the future? How much of your future includes football?

I'm one of those free birds where I just do whatever comes my way! I don't have exact plans for the future, but as far as right now goes my near future plan is to travel a bit more and try to do more soul-searching. I will be leaving March of this new year to Europe, thus the reason for not playing for the IWFL this season. I plan on continuing my athletic route in sports and I don't think I will ever give up sports until I'm too old and/or incapable of participating! I do feel deep down, even if I leave the country for a while that I will be back and continue playing football. It's rooted in me now and I would like to learn more and keep advancing as a football player, as well as being part of the wonderful teams & leagues I've experienced this past year!!!


Joey said...

Michelle is amazing athlete !!!

Lindsay said...

Interesting to hear from someone who plays for both the LFL and the IWFL. I do not take the LFL seriously. Although it would be fun to run around in cute lingerie and be sexy for all those "fans," I would much rather play for the IWFL and be respected as an athlete.

The LFL makes it harder for women's tackle football to be taken seriously. Most people do not know there is a real women's tackle football league. They are only aware of the chicks who play in their underwear, and that is unfortunate.

Liz said...

I agree with Lindsay. LFL is awful. The quarterbacks are terrible, receivers routes are just as bad if not worse. It is a big joke. Men decide on a friday night if they'd rather go to the strip club or the LFL game. It is pretty much the same thing... just with no music. I respect the women who play football while maintaining their dignity. Thank you IWFL and WFA.