Lindsey Clark and The Benefactor
Lindsey Clark owes her pro football career to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Last spring, Clark, a UNT recreation and leisure studies major, stood in line to audition for Cuban's television show The Benefactor when she met Dallas Diamonds defensive tackle L.T. Sanders.
After 20 minutes of talking with Sanders, Clark decided she didn't care about making the show. She wanted to make the Diamonds.
"Right in front of me is this large, muscular woman in a football uniform — I thought she was being silly to get on the show," Clark says. "But L.T. changed my life."
Tryouts for the Diamonds were held in April, and by July, Clark was on the team and getting a weekly reminder of why Benita Francis, No. 55, is nicknamed "The Train."
"Benita makes my head hurt the most," Clark says. "At the kickoff in each game we have about the same speed getting to the girl at the end of the field. We usually sandwich her and collide into each other.
"It feels like … like being in a train wreck."
This past season Clark played as a rookie defensive back for the Diamonds, who won the 2004 Women's Professional Football League championship.
Clark, who is 5'5" and 160 pounds, says what hooked her into women's football was the physical challenge. She played football with neighborhood kids when she was 12 and practiced with the wrestling team in high school, though she never competed.
"It's like a natural high that makes you want to do better every time you step on the field," she says. "And I've always been the type of person that's always looking for that challenge, that kind of high."
Nothing makes her day more than being able to tell people what she does for a living.
"I'm always proud when people ask and I can say I'm a professional football player," Clark says.
The Diamonds are also what brought Clark to UNT.
"So many of the women on the team had degrees," she says. "They were computer designers, hematologists and engineers. One day the team captain asked me, 'Lindsey, what are you doing with your life?'"
Clark didn't have an answer. She had been working as an aerobics instructor while taking a class or two at the local community college. With the encouragement of her teammates, she enrolled at UNT during the Diamonds' season.
"Football has really changed my life," Clark says.