One of the things I spent yesterday doing was finding out more about women in football — one of those topics that I never expected to be learning about, but found myself unexpectedly fascinated by.
Unsurprisingly, women’s football flies under a lot of people’s radar. When I got home and told my roommates (one boy, Z, one girl, E) that I’d been researching the sport and its leagues, Z’s first question was “How many of them aren’t powderpuff football?” (Powderpuff was a term I had never heard before; when it was first brought up I got really confused because I thought we were talking about the Powerpuff Girls and couldn’t figure out if people were talking about jerseys with Buttercup on them or what.)
It turns out there are at least three major women’s football leagues in the US, all working on promoting women’s involvement in the sport and providing ways for female athletes to get involved: the Women’s Football Alliance, the Independent Women’s Football League, and the Women’s Spring Football League. These leagues are trying to provide resources to and raise the profile of pro female football players in a sports world where people are more likely to think women are the ones in the cheerleading skirts, not the pads and jerseys. (Meaning no disrespect to the cheerleaders; God knows I wish I was as flexible and strong as those women!)
On a more community-based level, there are myriad numbers of women’s flag football leagues all over the country — probably more my speed, given that I’m five-foot-nothin’ and liable to get trampled by a tackle — where women can take the field in a more casual way.
Also let us not neglect the phenomenon of high school powderpuff football, because if the quotes on Tumblr are to be believed, those young ladies are NOT messing around. Do not mess with a competitive high school girl, man, and do not seek to suggest that she’s just as impressive as the pro ladies pictured above; she will bull through you faster than you can say “Pretty In Pink.”
To conclude, here’s a video of the first female football player ever to be featured on a Wheaties box: nine-year-old Sam Gordon* being more hardcore than I have ever been.