Friend Encounters is a weekly series of my friends meeting celebrities.
This picture has everything. It's football players and a coach with a baseball mascot. It features two of my favorite Chicago Bliss players and two of my favorite interview subjects.
I covered the Bliss and the Legends Football League for years. It was a bumpy ride at times. The league wasn't very open to outside media. In fact, at one point I was criticized for being too positive about the Bliss.
First, the Bliss was the most positive thing about the LFL. They won four championships over the last decade. They had the biggest team, coaching staff and fan base.
Second, why would a league not want positive coverage? I wasn't telling lies. I was highlighting the best of the team and the league.
The league has since rebranded as the X League. I am sure it is a financial thing. It has been under criticism from former players and coaches. The pandemic caused the 2020 season to be canceled. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2021.
All of the controversy aside, I made great friends in Dominique Collins and Deena Fagiano, two of the stars of the Bliss and two of my favorite interview subjects. I only met Coach Pike a few times, but we had fun conversations and I remember him from his days as quarterback at Purdue.
I will always have fun memroies of the Bliss. I hope to remain friends with DC, Deena and several others and I look forward to seeing where their careers go.
Covering the Bliss wasn't always easy, but I had a lot of fun. Sometimes, you just take the good and forget the bad.
Ty Ali, Dominique Collins, Clark, Deena Fagiano and Matt Pike in Chicago, IL-July 2016.