The idea of it began with a spontaneous pillow fight at a New Year’s Eve rock concert in 2005. But it wasn’t until 2006 at the Vatikan goth bar in Toronto that the Pillow Fight League truly began. The Pillow Fight League — an all-women’s competitive sports organization — combined mixed martial arts and pillow smashing techniques against each other in sixty-six events all across North America and even so far as South Korea. For six years, the costumed superheroes, villains, and anti-heroes of the Pillow Fight League, under creative stage names such as Sally Spitfire, Carmen Monoxide, Olivia Neutron-Bomb and Guillotina battled their way through five minute unscripted bouts of pillow swinging and grappling until 2011 when the organization went into a hiatus.
For five years, with the exception of at least one group known as the Bedlam: All-Girl Pillow Fight Revue made up of some of the League’s members, the Pillow Fight League as a unified national and international sport, group, and event remained in slumber.
This all changed six months ago when Brandy Dawley purchased the rights to the original Pillow Fight League and its tenets: becoming its new President and vowing not only to re-awaken the League, but to introduce it to a far vaster dream. Even though sanctioned by ” the Intergalactic Pillow Fighting Association” according to its home page, the Pillow Fight League has created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in order to provide its athletes and staff with compensation, insurance, training, and contribution to and the reconstruction of overall infrastructure. There are also some very nice perks for backers that want to see the sixty-seventh game happen and who want to be a part of the next chapter of the League’s history.
Pillow fighting as a sport is a fascinating concept. Pillow fighting itself is often associated with girls sleepovers, model shoots, and male fantasies, but there is something incredibly innovative and fitting on a physical and philosophical level in utilizing something considered to be soft and pliant in order to create a harder and challenging sense of atmosphere, activity, and competition. Certainly, there is something subversive in this act.
Once, in 2007 ESPN went as far as to call the League “a glimpse of the future in sports.” Perhaps that future has come again.