As the Monty Python line goes, “And now for something completely different…”
I’m not sure how this even started, but I noticed something on twitter one day about a woman who had tried out for and earned a spot on the Green Bay Chill – that other football team in Green Bay. I did know that the Chill are coached by former Packer fan favorite Gilbert “The GraveDigger” Brown. However, it also dawned on me that I really knew little else, if anything, about the Lingerie Football league, other than, um, the outfits they wear.
I’m always interested in personal stories, so I started to wonder, what is the back story of a woman who wants to play full-contact football, an… ahem… “man’s” game, but do it while dressed in rather feminine outfits? As the saying goes, “Enquiring minds want to know”, so I sought out this young lady and asked if we could hear her story. She more than willingly obliged, so here is the story of Jackie Gaertig, pride of Oconto Falls, WI, and newest member of the Green Bay Chill:
As a young child I would watch the Green Bay Packers every Sunday and have been a die hard Packer fan ever since. My stepfather was a big Packer Fan and I swear you could hear him throughout the whole neighborhood cheering during the game if the windows were open.
My freshman year in High School I was on the Pom Pom team and our football team had made it to State. I danced every halftime show during the football season, and had the chance to dance for halftime at Camp Randall Stadium where the Wisconsin Badgers play. Our High School Football team went on to win State that yr. The following year my family moved to another town 15 minutes west of Oconto Falls but I was still connected to football throughout the rest of High School, as captain of the Cheerleading Squad.
The few years I dated my high school sweetheart, his mother had access to Packers tickets for a few games every season. This was my first chance to go to a game and it strengthened my love for the game of football and of course, the Packers. Our seats were the first row above the tunnel. I had tears in my eyes the first time I walked into Lambeau Field. I will never forget those first few games I attended.
When I started dating my current fiancé seven years ago, I got the opportunity to go to almost every single Packers home game every year and have the same great seats 15 rows up every game. I go with my fiancé’s mother to every game since the rest of the boys in their family aren’t even really big football fans. (Editer’s Note: WHAT?!?)
My fiancé’s mother has worked for the Green Bay Packers Organization for over 17 years. She is the Administrative Assistant to the Coaching Staff and does all their play books and also has 2 Super Bowl Rings. When she first started with the Packers there were less then 100 employee’s within the offices; now there is well over 500. She works long hard hours and is truly a great woman and one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
In February of 2011’ I got the chance of a lifetime to go to the Super Bowl. I flew down on a jet with the Packers staff. I also got to stay in the hotel with the players and staff, where I met a lot of the Packers players and continue friendships with half a dozen of them. These players are just regular people too like you and me, but around Packers Country we know they are treated like gods.
I wasn’t aware of where our seats would be for the Super Bowl until a week before the game. To my astonishment they were in the corner end zone only 10 rows up! The few days before the Super Bowl I looked online out of curiosity to see how much our seats were valued at and they were going for over 8 grand! I paid face value of $900! That week I felt like the luckiest girl in the state and will treasure every memory for life. The moment we got off the plane we were shuttled to our hotel at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas. We were escorted by over 50 police cars shutting down traffic at every stop light and intersection. This felt like rock star treatment and something I had never seen or experienced before.
That week it snowed and was very cold. With the roads covered in ice, we pretty much were stuck in the hotel since most buses wouldn’t come to the hotel in that kind of weather. It seemed like we had brought the Frozen Tundra to Texas. During the Super Bowl I took so many pictures; I didn’t want to miss one moment of the action. The huge jumbotron TV they had hanging from the center of the stadium looked as if it were as big as a city block back home. The shear size and magnitude of the stadium and its contents were massive and mind boggling.
Following the Packers glorious Super Bowl Victory that night, there was a grand party back at our hotel for select family, staff, and players. There was unlimited food and drinks, and Kid Rock played at the party for several hours on stage in a small ballroom. I was feet away from Kid Rock, smiling ear to ear as he is one of my favorite music artists.
I took several videos and lots of pictures. Kid even donned a Cheesehead while he scratching records on top of the turn tables smoking a huge cigar for several minutes on stage. I got to mingle with players and staff, dance, drink, and even held the Super Bowl Trophy with my Fiancé’s mother and one of her bosses, Dom Capers. I partied that night until I had to leave to get on the plane to go home at 6am.
Last summer at a Rock Festival I saw a group of girls on stage called the “Green Bay Chill” that supposedly played football. I was very curious to know what this was all about, so that following week I researched online and found out it was a new expansion team for the Lingerie Football League. That fall when they started showing games on MTV2, I would watch it every Friday in the bar while I was bartending.
When the opportunity came to tryout for the Green Bay Chill Football team in mid-April this year I wanted to give it a shot. Tryouts were tough but I made the team!. We were put through tackling and agility drills, as well as running pass routes and throwing drills.
This sport is full contact; tackling, running, catching, and shows the true talent and athleticism of these players. The uniforms resemble that of a bikini swimsuit with shoulder pads, a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and cleats. Some see the sport as degrading to women, or a complete joke, but to those people I say you are under-educated on the sport. It’s more then just pretty girls running around in swim suits on a football field.
I see it as some really dedicated women showing they can be tough and play a man’s sport just as well as anyone in the NFL but they just happen to be wearing less clothing. Some tennis players have just as little clothing on, beach volleyball players wear just as little, gymnasts uniforms leave little to the imagination as well.
Celebrities, of course, wear less clothing in public or on stage and are considered “role models” so I don’t see why so many people get worked up over the uniforms. It’s the player’s choice to be on the team and they know what they have to wear, how hard they have to work, and all the risks associated with the LFL.
Many of these girls have children, go to college, and work full time. I myself work full time as an Administrative Assistant for a manufacturing company, bartend on the weekends at 2 different bars, and do some stand up comedy when I can.
The girls on the team are spread out all over the state; roughly half from around the Green Bay area and the other down around Milwaukee. I live the furthest north, about 35 minutes north of Green Bay. There are weekly practices held for the half down in Milwaukee on Sundays, and Wednesday nights for the local girls in Green Bay area. There are group practices held monthly in an indoor practice facility in Brookfield throughout a whole weekend, and appearances almost every weekend in summer to get the word out about the team.
For now I am limited to my psychical activity within the team until I get the go ahead from my Neurologist to play/practice because of a bad head injury I sustained 6 yrs ago, and I have Epilepsy as well. But I plan to be an important part of the team’s defensive layout for the 2013 season once my health is cleared.
The Lingerie Football League is arena-type football with a 7 on 7 format, 14 active on the roster and 6 inactive. There are two 17 minute halves, 6 points for a touch down, 1 point conversion from the 1 yard line, and 2 point conversion from the 3 yard line with no field goals. Last season, the Chill had a 1-3 record in their inaugural year, but the go0d news was that the one win was against the Chicago Bliss (Another Editor’s Note: Can you say, “The Bliss Still Suck?”). Certainly, the team plans to improve on that record in the upcoming season.
The head coach of the Green Bay Chill is former Packers nose tackle Gilbert “The Grave Digger” Brown. I’m truly blessed and excited to learn from one of the best defensive players in NFL History as I am competing for a defensive position on the team. The Green Bay Chill play at the Resch Center in Green Bay for the home games and travels away for the other half of the games during the season. There are currently about a dozen teams within the LFL.
Previously played in the fall, the decision was made after last season to move the league to the Spring. Thus, the next season will start in April of 2013. That will also serve to give the LFL teams plenty of time to practice, recruit better players and be that much stronger for the upcoming season.
The LFL has now expanded outside of the United States as well, to include Mexico , Canada , and Australia with more countries to follow in the coming years. It is the fastest growing sport since its debut in 2009’ and will only continue to grow in popularity as time goes on. Go to www.lflus.com for more information.
And now back to our regular programming…
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.