I did not know what to expect at all after being invited to training camp for the New York Majesty of the Lingerie Football League last spring.
I arrived at the hotel rather late at night after a long drive into the Middle-Of-Nowhere, Penn., and awkwardly walked into a room of girls that looked at me as if I had a third eye on my forehead. I was the rookie. It wasn't the greatest feeling.
The first few days went well. We did strength and conditioning at 6 a.m., and then tip drills indoors for hours. Being a personal trainer I thought, "I can catch a ball and do a million push-ups, no sweat!"
Then there was Day 3 -- running routes. The other girls had them down to a science, meanwhile I was running a "3-route" while the quarterback was setting up passes for a "2." Running routes, I quickly learned, was not one of my strengths. I kept with it; I practiced; I watched and I learned. I got better, but not efficient enough to play at the wide receiver or running back positions.
What I did learn very quickly was how competitive the LFL was, and that these girls were serious about football. I was frustrated with myself, but determined to become a better athlete. This was the attitude that got me through camp, and, eventually, through the season.
Days 4 and 5 of camp were dedicated to blocking and tackling techniques. We learned pass-blocking, run-blocking and how to read the defense. Then, as defensive players, we were taught how to read the offense and how to adapt from man to zone and vice-versa. Now, these were absolutely strengths of mine. Upon taking my first bucket-step on the offensive line, the coach commented, "We may have ourselves a new center," and from there I was taught how to snap the ball.
The center is often overlooked in football. Although it's a position that requires an immense amount of discipline and focus, the center never really receives the attention that is showered on the quarterback, linebackers or wide receivers. Even when other members of the offensive line sometimes steal the show, the center is overlooked and even somewhat forgotten.
The center is essentially the epicenter of the game, no pun intended. It is the snap of the ball that signifies the start of play and timing is key. I never realized how important the job was, until I experienced the difficulty of snapping the ball before going out to make an adequate block. Some of the greatest NFL players in the game have played center, namely Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson and current Jets Pro Bowl regular Nick Mangold. Being a center, I have developed a greater respect and understanding for those at the position.
It wasn't always an easy road for the New York Majesty last season. I was taught perseverance and discipline above and beyond what life's lessons taught me previously. I am truly honored to be a part of the first ever full-contact, all-women professional football league.
We don't wear much padding, and, yes, we wear sporty lingerie. We're beautiful; we're tough; we're competitive but our passion for football prevails over the fact that we're taking bucket-steps half-naked.
Follow Kiera on twitter-@KieraMassette