In physics, a Force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a certain change, either concerning its movement, direction, or geometrical construction. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity, to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform.
I’ve seen the Force play. I’ve watched them cause flexible running backs to deform and change shape. I’ve watched them change a game’s direction with one quick pass for a touchdown or an interception by the defense. You can see quite an obvious physical change in an entire team as they begin running up the scoreboard. It. Happens. That. Fast.
Is Chicago’s women’s football team representing their name by definition? I dare you to say no!
The Force are coming off a win last weekend at their season opener. They played the Kansas City Tribe and won 21-14 which is HUGE! Why? Both teams are amongst the best in women’s football, with the home team winning every contest since 2007. But this year The Force said, “No More!” Could this be the season everyone has been waiting for since its inaugural season in 2003?
I spoke with Darcy Leslie # 67, 2011 Defensive Co-Player of the Year and 2011 WFA All-American linebacker, and she had this to say. “We are all hungry for a championship. I see it in everyone’s eyes, I feel it at practice. We have a large amount of veterans returning this season and some very talented rookies. We have a strong defense and a very talented and educated defensive coordinator.” Ashley Berggren # 80, who made a HUGE impact last year earning 2011 Rookie of the Year and 2011 WFA All American honors, told me that this year’s team is different from last year due to the team’s experience, fortitude and a determination to be the best.
I wanted to know more about these dames of defensive dominance so, I dug a little deeper. It’s hard to imagine these intimidating players were just like you and I. I wanted to know what makes them tick, their fears, and their most embarrassing secrets.
Meg: Ashley, as last year’s rookie of the year what advice would you give to this year’s rookies?
Ashley: Be patient with yourself. The physical and mental commitment can be overwhelming at times. Focus on getting better each and every day.
Meg: Darcy, as a former inside linebacker myself, I know how brutal your position is. The real question is how long can your body hold out for hitting people as hard as you do?
Darcy: To be honest, I have no clue how long my body can continue doing this. I am 25 and if I can continue playing for another five or ten years, I will.
Meg: Ok ladies, I what are you most looking forward to this season?
Darcy: I am looking forward to having a strong powerhouse defense again. We have not had a strong defense since 2008. I am excited about the amount of talent we have this year. We have a strong veteran core and excellent rookies who are eager to learn.
Ashley: Game day! Walking out on the (home)field with my teammates for the first time.
Meg: To play women’s football you have to be tough? So, tough women, are you scared of anything?
Darcy: Ha ha, I’m not sure if I want to answer this. I am terrified of heights and snakes. I just now got the chills thinking about it! I’m sure my teammates will not let me live that down.
Meg: What about you Ashley?
Ashley: Absolutely, being left all alone in a room with a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake.
Meg: Being on the Force takes up a lot of time, its one heck of a commitment. What would you be doing with all your free time if you weren’t playing football?
Ashley: I’d most likely spend more time playing my guitar, working out, reading, and keeping up with the Kardashians!
Darcy: Yes, playing on the Force does take up a lot of time. However, if I was not spending three days out of my week playing football, I would probably be playing some other sport. I’m lucky my partner loves me and can accept my addiction to sports. I would feel incomplete if I did not have that in my life.
Meg: Do you ever want to have kids and if so would you encourage your girls to play from a young age if they wanted to?
Darcy: I do plan on having kids. My mother allowed me to play football for the park district when I was 11. I was the only girl on the team and she had no problem with it. If my daughter decided she wanted to play football I would definitely encourage it. I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy.
Ashley: I would expose my kids to all different types of sports and activities. If they happen to love football, then I’d be their biggest fan.
Meg: Football equipment stinks! What is your smelliest piece of equipment?
Ashley: Cleats! I have to warn people before entering my car…”enter at your own risk.” even more dog hesitates before entering.
Darcy: Oh boy, my gloves and football cleats smell awful. They are the first thing I take out of my football bag when I get home.
Meg: Do you have any crazy pre-game rituals or game related superstitions like having a lucky pair of socks?
Darcy: I always need to take a nap.
Ashley: Sorry, no crazy pre-game rituals besides sitting outside in complete silence and just breathing.
Meg: What is something embarrassing your teammates would tell me about you?
Ashley: I spontaneously busted out with the running man dance move while my opponent was on the ground. It may have resulted in me spending the rest of the game in the locker room.
Darcy: I am pretty whiney. I get made fun of being so whiney all the time. Taz (#53 Keesha Brooks) in particular likes to point out my whining.
Meg: Do you have a favorite meal to eat before a game?
Darcy: Well, Albi (Zhubi, WR) and I used to eat Pita Inn before every home game last year, but it is too far of a drive. Now it’s just a turkey sandwich from Potbelly?s.
Ashley: (Remember that) mint chocolate chip ice cream cake (I talked about earlier?)
The Chicago Force is back in season with their home opener Saturday April 21 st at 5pm. But, The Force has a new home. They will be playing up north at Evanston Township HS’s Lazier Field, 2285 Church Street, Evanston, IL .
So get your plans together to cheer on The Force as they continue their march towards the championship. As if you need any additional reason to get out to the game, Chicago Bears # 71 Israel Idonije is going to be performing the coin toss before the game so be sure to arrive early. These ladies play in rain or shine so no matter the weather they will be out there fighting for a win. The Force play the Columbus Comets who finished last season with a 5-3 record. But, don’t let their record fool you…they had six players names to the 2011 WFA All-American Team last year and all six women are on this season’s roster.
After the game join them for the post-game party at Hop Haus, located at 7545 N. Clark in Chicago! Drink specials and food will be provided. Ample parking is available!
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About The Athlesbian
Meg was born and raised in Chicago where she became an avid sports fan the moment she laid her eyes on her first ball. She has a knack for picking up any sport quickly as most four sport high school athletes would. Meghan played two sports in college and spent her post college years playing women’s pro football, capturing a national title, before having to quit due to injury. She still plays numerous sports in rec leagues around the city and boasts at a recent team tryout knocked out 51 consecutive push-ups in a minute. Always willing to try something new she just played in her first rugby match. Meghan currently works as a fire-medic and is finishing her Master’s degree from University of Chicago, and no, unfortunately, its not in sports reporting!