A Plea for Powder Puff
December 7, 2016
After working hard in practices for three weeks, and creating newfound friendships with the girls on my powder puff team, walking onto that field for the first and last time as a team was an indescribable feeling of both excitement and sadness, knowing that even after all our hard work, we would never have another chance to play. Seeing how many students, staff, and family members were sitting in those bleachers, supporting and cheering for us created a sense of positivity and togetherness, which made the game really something special, not only for the team, but for everyone there.
At our last practice, the excitement levels were out of this world and we started to think, “What if this didn’t have to be the last game?” “What if we were able to have our own season?” Of course, at that time we didn’t have the time or the opportunity to get this idea out there, but since then, talking to students and hearing their voices loud and clear, brings up the question, “Can we do this?”
Seeing that powder puff is one of the most anticipated events during the school year, imagine the amount of spirit Round Lake High School (RLHS) could gain if we didn’t have to stop there. Some say football is a “boys’ sport,” but who is to say what’s a female sport and what is a male sport? Gender equality in all sports should be taken into consideration, and at this time there is no girl equivalent for football, and any girls who want to play tackle football, not just flag, have to play with the boys. “I was a middle linebacker on the freshman team last year,” said Lina Navarette, now a sophomore. “It was hard because the boys were scared to hit me because they didn’t want to hurt me.”
Having to play on a boys’ team can be difficult for girls, and many girls who enjoy the sport are driven away because of it. But that’s what powder puff is for, right? You would think, but a single game and flag football is not enough to quench many girls’ thirst for competition. Sophomore Vanessa Ralph said, “Come on. Who wants to play just one game? Think of having two weeks of practice for basketball only to have one game. And that’s for the year. How lame is that?”
Ralph isn’t the only student who agrees that powder puff is not an equivalent to regular football teams. “Girls should get to experience the beauty of football, and the bond that’s created through the sport,” Sophomore Juan Ocampo, who plays on the JV football team, said. “They should get the same opportunities that the boys get in having more than one game.”
Having more than one game could help the school in a financial respect, as well. “If there were to be more games, students would show up just like they would a football game, which could also mean more money that the school has the ability of raising,” said Sophomore Sierra Rodriguez.
With creating an all-girls football team, RLHS would be opening the door to many opportunities for female students. It will provide girls the chance to get exercise, be comfortable playing football, create special, once-in-a-lifetime bonds with their female peers, and the chance to make a change in how girls are looked at, giving them the chance to prove to the school that boys aren’t the only ones who can play football, boosting both their confidence and reputation. Having a girls’ football team will bring girls from different social groups together, helping calm tensions at school, knocking down barriers, creating a healthier environment for everyone. “I think our school should be the one to make this change because no one really thinks, ‘Hey, Round Lake is making a change!’ Our school will look good,” Ralph said, and added, “And the girls will be happy with it. I definitely think we have what it takes.”
The girls have what it takes, I mean, have you seen how intense those powder puff games get? It’s just a matter of putting the idea out there and being heard. If the idea is heard, and get they opportunity to have more than their one game a year, there is no doubt in my mind that other schools will see what we’re doing, they’ll follow in our paw-prints and before you know it, girls’ football will become just as hyped and important as regular football. Ralph said, “If we can spread this soon-to-be-change like we spread drama, soon all of Lake County would know.”
The girls’ football team would bring a lot of attention to Round Lake High School and the girls could make a historic change in gender equality for football at other high schools too. “Don’t give up on the idea if you don’t immediately see the results you want,” Ocampo said. “We just have to be committed to starting it up, all it takes is commitment.”
A two-hour event for powder puff once a year shouldn’t be the only time these girls get the chance to do what they do. They bring spirit, they work hard, they bond, they experience, and the time they get to do this shouldn’t be limited to only one game. Let’s give these girls the opportunity to show that: anything boys can do, girls can do as well. Let’s make sure their first powder puff game of the year doesn’t have to be their last, let’s make a season out of it!