Seniors win Wednesday night football


Photo courtesy of Shelly Brown

Julia Youman, Staffer

Weeks of practices with run throughs of plays and grueling sprints culminated on Wednesday, Oct. 9. High schoolers and parents shuffled into the stadium and sat under the lights, eager to watch an intense game of football. The players wore matching shirts to school and advertised on their social media the time and place of the game. Final score: seniors 22, juniors 0.

Though a familiar scene for OPRF football fans, there were a few glaring differences between that game on Wednesday night and the game that would take place two days later. On Friday night, enthusiastic students stood in the “Dog Pound” in OPRF spirit wear, cheering on a slew of males. But on Wednesday, it was junior and senior females the fans cheered on. The players that night faced off in an intense game of flag football, traditionally referred to as Powder Puff.

In the past decade, the sport has been implemented in schools nation-wide. The season is  short in nature, consisting of a few games between girls from junior and senior classes or other schools. At OPRF, the seniors have beat the juniors nine years in a row in the only game of their season.

Senior Alexis Zeiser has played both years and explained what drew her to the sport. “I love being active and I’m super competitive, so playing football was an awesome way to do both those things and make new friends.” The camaraderie of the team is an important aspect of the game as both teams boast tight knit groups of players.

Senior Cheyanne Macklin gushed, “All of the girls were incredibly close, I love it so much because girls from different groups became a little family.” Macklin continued how players “would cheer each other on the entire time. (They) didn’t care who got the ball as long as (they) were winning.”

Seniors won big against the juniors in the October Girls Flag Football Game.

Because football remains a heavily male dominated sport, Zeiser says playing “was so fun because football is a sport that guys usually play. So us being girls and being able to play and actually running plays feels super empowering.”

While the game allows females the chance to play a traditionally male sport, there are still strong undertones of sexism embedded in its name. A powder puff is used to apply powder to the face, a seemingly delicate activity. The word connotes delicacy and fragility which then becomes associated with the females who play. Thus, two years ago OPRF changed the controversial name from Powder Puff to Girl’s Flag Football.

“I think flag football being called Powder Puff is really demeaning and insulting. It sets the idea that we don’t actually play football and we’re not into the game, but it’s actually the opposite,” says Zeiser. Macklin further touched on the demeaning nature of the name. “I don’t mind it being called Powder Puff, but it makes it sounds like it’s not important,” she says.

On top of the name, the rules are also modified. The players explained how the rule changes in itself is conveys a message that women can’t handle playing football like the guys play it on Friday nights. Senior Shelley Brown argued that because of this students don’t take it seriously. “The name makes it seem like it’s just a little “for fun” game that girls play. People think that it’s a joke and that girls shouldn’t play football, so by calling it Powder Puff it kind of just goes with that stereotype.”