Meet Your Militia: Kandi (#65/OL)

I don’t think it’s news that your Militia Cheerleader was not a lifelong die-hard fan of the game of football. I liked to watch the Pats on TV, sure, but I had never attended any kind of football game before attending a Militia game. And while that was five years ago and I’ve learned massive amounts since then, I’m still very much an amateur fan. People like Backseat Coach apparently grow like six more pairs of eyes when they watch a game – that’s the only way I can think of that they can take in so much at the same time. Unless I decide consciously to keep my eyes on a certain player before a play starts, I’m generally just looking at wherever the ball is at any given time. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. It’s no secret that the playmakers get the attention; they’re who we’re usually watching.

I think it must take a certain kind of strength and self-confidence to be someone other than them; to go out on the field play after play and know that it probably won’t be your name that people remember. To know that there’s little chance that you’ll end up in the spotlight of a press release or a news article. To know that no one off the field may ever understand exactly how good you are at what you do.

But you get to know this, too: those players in the spotlight – those stars shooting down the field or leaping above everyone else to make a catch – there’s absolutely no way they’d be able to do any of that without you there to do what you do. Their successes are your successes, even if other people don’t always know it. So yeah, I don’t think everyone could play that role. But some can. And some rock it big time. Meet Kandi.

[status_ok]When did you start playing football, and how have you seen the game change in the years since you started?[/status_ok]

meet your militia.kehindaI started playing football back in 2008 when the Militia first came into existence. My best friend’s sister got me involved; I had never heard of women playing tackle football before then. I do think the knowledge of women’s tackle football is progressively increasing. I say this because when I travel to away games, more often than not I’m stopped by people in the airport as I carry my shoulder pads in one hand and my boarding pass in another. They ask me what sport I play, and when I tell them “professional women’s tackle football” I get all types of reactions. There’s old ladies who tell me how much they support women in sports and there’s manly men who bring up the Lingerie League. Sometimes I have to laugh and just educate people about the progression of this sport, where we started and where we want to go. And we have such a supportive owner who provides us with Militia-related gear which allows us to advertise for the team – and the sport – with Militia logos on our vehicles, warm-up jackets, bags, etc. Women’s football is definitely becoming more known.

[status_ok]Tell us about the process of making a really amazing block. Can you tell when a play is going to work before it happens? What do you look for? Are you conscious of making decisions or does it feel more instinctive? (Answer only if it doesn’t give away trade secrets!)[/status_ok]

Ha! Trade secrets. Even if I gave the other team a hint they still couldn’t stop us ’cause we are a machine that CAN’T be stopped! Like any good athlete you have to size up your opponent. Figure out their weakness and expose it. Now there is no secret to making an amazing block; it just comes down to knowing the play and which direction it’s going. For the offensive line, you want to make your job as easy as possible. On a run play you know that the back is gonna be right on your a** – and we have some fast-a** backs so you have to say to yourself, what’s the easiest route to take to get to where I want to go? and then do it effectively. Now with certain teams like the Divas, there’s a pretty decent middle linebacker – she’s like the piece that holds everything together. If you break that piece, they start to fall apart. So in my eyes that’s my point of attack.

© Barry Millman, Threepairs Photography
© Barry Millman, Threepairs Photography
I try not to think too much on the field because being in your head just makes you over-think and you begin to second guess what you should and shouldn’t do. The key is having confidence and trust – trust in your team and confidence in your coaches, knowing that they prepared you for the battle. So when I am on the field it’s just pure instinct. The greatest feeling as a lineman is knowing you made an awesome block that allowed the back to get more than 10 yards or a touchdown on one play. Sometimes I just get amped on cracking a player and making them fall to the ground and wearing them out until they’re struggling to get back up each time. I want every team who plays the Militia to remember the Militia.

[status_ok]Our last Meet Your Militia participant credits you as the reason she started playing football. Do you moonlight as a recruiter or what?[/status_ok]

Yes, I did recruit her. We played in a basketball league together and she was my biggest competition. I liked her “athletic swag”. I think that’s what I look for with any person I am trying to recruit. I mean, I don’t go out with the intention of recruiting but I guess you could say that’s the coach in me, always looking for talent. When I came onto the Militia there were tons of ladies who had been playing for six years or more already. I knew eventually it would take a toll on their bodies and the Militia would need some young new bodies to continue the march to greatness. So when I am out and I come across a female who has played a sport – particularly basketball – who I think would be a good candidate for the Militia, I go to work. Sometimes I’ll even invite them to the afterparties to meet the team and coaches. You know Beasley loves new bodies, especially tall ones. New bodies make the current players better, whether it’s making them work harder to keep their position or just giving numbers at practice to go up against. Bottom line, I am always looking to continue the existence of good talent on the Militia.

[status_ok]What is something that’s made you feel supported as a Militia player?[/status_ok]

Junior, Scout & Kandi
Junior & Kandi holding Baby Scout (who apparently thought this was a gameface picture)
It’s funny because earlier in my athletic career, I never really liked anyone coming to my games to cheer me on because it always made me nervous. But now that I am older, it makes me feel good when my family comes to cheer me on, yelling my name from the stands and waving. But also knowing that we as a team have so much support not only from family and friends but from the town of Somerville makes me feel good too. I like turning around and seeing the stands jammed packed with the colors of red and black and skull and crossbones paraphernalia. Or the kids running around after the game asking for our autographs. Makes me think to myself, wow, we are making such a positive impact, not just for women’s football but women’s sports. That’s an amazing feeling!

[status_ok]What is something you’d like to see happen that would make you feel more supported?[/status_ok]

For the next step, I’d like to have us broadcast on TV. I mean, we already have the commercials why not go a step further and provide people who can’t physically be at the game the ability to still see us in action? Not to put Junior (#99/OL) on blast but her parents live in Western Mass, about an hour and a half away from Boston. Her dad rushes home from work to watch the game on the livestream but more often than not there are some issues and he’s unable to see the game, which makes him angry. TV broadcasting would not only allow people who can’t make the game to tune in but it would also allow us to reach an even bigger audience – which can lead to bigger opportunities.

[status_ok]Rarely do we here on this site explore topics as personal as addiction, but I think we’ve built up a sufficient level of trust. As such: exactly how many pairs of sneakers do you own, and which are your current favorites?[/status_ok] [one_half]

Ha! People have been asking me this question and it was only a matter of time before you did. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s an “addiction” – more “a love for”. Addiction sounds so bad! But I’d say I own around 70 pairs of footwear. I can totally picture people’s faces after reading that but I promise you, I am not a hoarder. I used to have more but I have been downsizing lately so for every new pair I buy, I give a pair away – usually my “bust downs” (worn out, holes, no tread, really dirty) which I’ve been told aren’t really “bust downs” because I’ve worn the shoe like once or twice. I actually considered selling them on eBay – I mean, after all, I am a Militia celebrity…someone would buy them, right? Heh.

It’s really hard to say which pairs are my favorites. I have so many. Lately I’ve been hooked on the really bright colors, like the Nike’s I bought a week or two ago. I don’t really want to reveal the name now. I am saving them for a “show-stopper” type of night. Who knows? You may see me rocking them on Saturday night after the game.

[/one_half] [one_half_last]

Sneaker Fiend

Often imitated never duplicated profiles my style
Never sport a sneaker that ain’t worthwhile
Won’t see another on the street rep like me
From the throw back Jordan’s to the current industry

Got love for my sneakers no need to say more
Especially the Vans in which I rock hardcore
You’ll be amazed, got Sperry’s for days
But don’t try to search, they’re not on eBay

Stacks of kicks, for that last minute clutch
They add to the gear and give it the final touch

As a matter of fact,
My closet’s so stacked
Had to create another rack
Just to keep them intact

Kicks so fire, too HOT for TV
Can’t go anywhere without the envy.
So I guess I am a fiend!

-Kandi

[/one_half_last] [status_ok]Thanks, Kandi! We know you’ll kick some ass tomorrow in whatever footwear you sport.[/status_ok]

Buzz Alert! have you read Backseat Coach’s Round 2 Game Previews yet? No? What the hell’s the matter with you?

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