My last season playing football was an emotional roller-coaster and one I would prefer to omit from my career. I tore my ACL and Meniscus in our 3rd regular season game against the D.C. Divas. I attempted to come back for playoffs and we suffered a bashing by the Boston Militia. I announced my retirement at the end of the 2014 Chicago Force Women's Tackle Football Season and left the game pretending to be satisfied with banner year we had in 2013.
In late 2015 I moved out to California to pursue my music career. In less than a year I have played some of the most coveted venues in Los Angeles, collaborated with talented producers and musicians to produce and release my song "All-Un-American", I'm currently in the studio for my Christmas song, "Every Year on Christmas", I've auditioned and been cast in stage shows and film shorts, busked on the streets of Santa Monica and helped to create a weekly private concert series in Brentwood called, SunSeshLA, which I have the honor of hosting every week. I've just begun writing my L.A. chapter.
Prior to leaving for Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this past September, I received a phone call from the owner of the Chicago Force, Linda Bache. She informed me that 2017 would be the final season for the Chicago Force and wondered if I might be interested in playing for the franchise's swan song. For anyone who has uprooted their life to start over in a highly competitive city like Los Angeles, you know how unappealing it is to even think about "going back". I told Linda I was honored to be thought of, but I just couldn't put my music career off any longer for fear of losing momentum.
I called Linda back two days before my departing on my African adventure and informed her that I would like to play one more season for the Chicago Force. The idea of having another shot at a final season was very appealing. I've also wondered what kind of player I might be if I was in top-notch shape. I jokingly, but honestly, have dubbed myself the "Fat Quarterback", because: french fries and beer. We talked at length and I told her my concerns of losing all the progress I've made since moving to LA. We came to a compromise. I will be flying out to Chicago weekly for practices beginning in January and continue to do so through the 2017 season. This comes out to 7 months of weekly travel. Business jet-setters might scoff at this temporary travel stint, but it will definitely be a challenge. No first class fancy towels for me. I'll be rocking toddler-fit leg-room and praying I don't get stuck with a middle seat every week. Turns out women's football and music are not the most lucrative occupations, who knew?!
My weekly schedule will look something like this: Every Tuesday afternoon I'll fly to Chicago where I will jump off the plane and onto the football field for practice. Chicago will be prioritized for football practices, one-on-one sessions with my teammates, speaking opportunities, acoustic shows, and all of the never-ending social media house-keeping. After Saturday practices I'll fly back to LA in time to play shows, prepare/host/co-run SunSeshLA, record my new album, and take meetings with people (that's what we do in LA, we take meetings and pretend like we're special).
Am I crazy? Yeah, I'm certifiable! BUT (BIG BUT) I know this will probably be the most educational, rewarding 7 months of my life AND I am lucky enough to have amazing people in both Chicago and LA to slap me when I go to negative town. I got to meet my new teammates (and hang with the oldie but goodies) this past weekend at tryouts. I am so damn lucky, you guys! The people in my life are beyond special. I cannot and would not do this without knowing I had a reliable/strong "team" in all aspects of my life. It cannot be stressed enough that these people vaporize my stress with their support and I would be a pile of whiny poo without them (what an image, huh?).
So, January will begin this madness when I fly to Orlando for Team USA tryouts...Oh yeah, did I mention it's a Team USA year? Then to Chicago to begin practice with the Force. Join me as I share all of the ups and downs of being an economy class, jet-setting, Indie Artist, Quarterback. I promise, it won't be boring!
Here's to saying 'yes', putting yourself to the test, and giving your best (rhyming isn't always cheesy, but it most certainly was there...deal with it!)
With Grit and Grace,
Sami Grisafe #15