Seattle Players in Support of Coach After Highly Publicized Halftime Speech, LFL360.com, Pete Richmire

LFL360.com, Pete Richmire

Long after the dust settled on the Seattle Mist’s 55-36 victory over the Green Bay Chill in week two of the Legends Football League U.S. 2013 season, the media storm surrounding the game had just begun brewing. It was however, not the players doing battle on the field, but Seattle Mist head coach Chris Michaelson’s minute-long half time video clip which had taken the national media spotlight.

One minute… well, maybe a little longer, but still…out of the entire half time speech, one minute is how this entire coaching staff, team, game and league is featured. It brought out educated responses such as “it’s only lingerie football” (which it is not) and “it’s not that serious [of a sport]” (which it is). The fact that these media outlets have probably never seen an LFL game allows one to not put much stock in their comments. Please, Mr. or Ms. Sports Commenter, watch an entire LFL game and see just how serious this game is.

See how players from around the country, not to mention from countries all around the world, work out year-round for the 32 minute games in which they put forth more athletic and mental intensity than any sport played today. They put in time watching film, conditioning, learning how to execute complex plays and defenses, nursing very real injuries, all to win a very real trophy. Is it still not serious?

They play for all-star status which has taken players to all-star games in Canada, Mexico, Australia and soon Asia. They play a sport that already has full leagues in the United States, Canada and Australia. They play because they have that drive and desire, not because they are given millions of dollars. They play because they have that intensity and talent. Is it still not serious?

They have coaches all throughout the league that share that desire and understand exactly what these athletes go through to play as a team. Coaches that also leave everything they have on the field in pursuit of team victory. These coaches watch film, design plays, hold try-outs, make roster decisions and plan for practices and games. The head coach of the Seattle Mist has been honored as the best of the best, LFL Coach of the Year. When asked about that, Chris Michaelson will not even boast, instead he recognizes what other coaches around the league do for their teams as well.

So then about the half-time clip, which does not need to be rehashed here, it is no surprise that the Mist players and other coaches, along with people affiliated with team reacted the way people who understand this game did.

Mele Rich summed it up best this way “watching over the locker room footage I am proud to have a coach that cares that much, a coach that has high expectations for his team.”

Maybe Jessica Hopkins, Mist veteran and captain had a problem with it. “To say that Coach Chris is passionate about football, coaching and seeing our team be successful would be a huge understatement. Anyone that knows him or has played for him knows he works hard and excels at everything he does” she said.
But Jessica, he said bad words; words which we have seen players use on the field of every sport and in any locker room! “Hopkins went on, “He has the respect of anyone that meets him because you don’t want to let him down. He makes you want to be a better player, a stronger leader and ultimately a better person. He has high expectations of his team and staff and treats us as football players, not women. That’s how we prefer it to be.”

Mist assistant coach and defensive coordinator Travis Russo seems to agree with Hopkins. “We have the most passionate and dedicated coach in the league! These girls love to play for him, and I have his back behind everything he does. These girls play and compete at the highest level. I’d tell everyone to come to a game and then tell me what you think.”

Another Mist veteran, Lashaunda Fowler said, “the locker room talk was no different than any other locker room or pep talk from any coach I’ve had.”

Mist rookie phenom Shuree Hyatt was surprised by the negative press. “I feel very confident it has to do with the fact that we are females versus anything else. Those people that take that scene negatively don’t really understand how intense this sport really is.”

As for it being only “lingerie football,” the media may have insulted the players far worse than a dedicated coach ever could with that comment. “This is real football,” said Mele Rich. “In Washington we have practiced in 27 degree weather because we are dedicated to this game. Nobody knows what we go through to be the athletes we are or how many hours we put in at the gym to get in shape to play these games, get ready for the bruises and turf burns that come and go,” she added.

It seems that Coach Michaelson understands what these players go through, and he gives them the same effort. Here is a challenge to the media covering this story: go watch an entire LFL game, see and feel the intensity of these players, and then see if you can understand how serious this is. After that, replay that half-time clip and try to understand that by making this a national story you may have put Chris Michaelson on the fast track to another Coach of the Year Award.