The best players in LFL football are determined by how they play every Friday out on the field. They walk out onto the field and put up big numbers, make spectacular plays, and lead their teams to victory by exemplifying everything a champion stands for. They fight for every yard, never give up, and seem to want the victory more than anyone out there. Yes, champions are seen every Friday at LFL stadiums, but champions are made in the offseason.

Success is not a fluke or an inevitability of life, it is a product of how hard you are willing to work for whatever you want most.  It comes to those who do not wait, and those who do not settle for the artificial boundaries and boxes they are placed in.  Instead, success comes to those who are hungry to change the perceptions of the ones who don’t believe.  For example, Elizabeth Gorman had an amazing season last year for the Tampa Breeze, deservedly earning the distinction of ‘Defensive Player of The Year.’ She had an MVP type season, posting 30 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, playing with the heart of a lion. Then she spoke to me and I realized why she is a champion, “I have wanted to play football my whole life and being given this opportunity makes me want to open the gates in the future for more women that enjoy this sport. We want our fans to know the sweat and determination that goes into each play. We are a ladies football league and behind the beauty and the glam lies talented, intelligent, athletic women who have learned this technical game and brought it to a new height not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.”  Gorman embodies the biggest characteristic of an MVP: heart.

Tyrah Lusby had a monumental season last year, posting up huge numbers and leading the league in interceptions and rushing offense.  On the surface, the numbers she put up, 63 YDS/G, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, should be evidence enough as to why I predicted her to be the league MVP this season.  Yet, to say that she is on top of the LFL because she makes amazing plays on Friday would not be fair to someone that practices routes and running drills six days a week, in the offseason. No, I predicted her to be MVP because she is on top of the league and yet she is not satisfied, “I work hard to stay on top of my game because I’m sure someone else is out there trying to take my spot.” Tyrah Lusby rejects complacency, and embodies the dedication and desire it takes to be an MVP of the league.

The Eastern Conference is the perfect place for an MVP as well. It is perhaps more rewarding of hard work than the West because its tough, gritty style of play favors those who are willing to dedicate themselves to improvement. Quite possibly, it is the blue-collar ideals of their representative cities that generate demands of hard work and preparation. Even newcomer Baltimore Charm has adopted the mantra of the Eastern Conference, “The city of Baltimore won’t stand for less than 100% effort on every snap and we want players who will embody that philosophy.” If they are true their word and pick dedicated players, I see no reason why I could not be writing to you later in the season about a frontrunner for MVP playing on the Charm.

Yet, for all the hard work and determination a player puts into the offseason, it means very little if they are not willing to sacrifice for the growth of the team. A champion is willing to be selfish and selfless, and knows that improvement of self is the improvement of the team.  An MVP knows when to step up, and when to step down. As Cheryl Fairweather of the Philadelphia Passion puts it, “one cannot train as a soloist, they must train as an orchestra because one person off beat can destroy the whole performance.”  The true mindset of a champion.