October 24, 2017
‘Football is a game for men.’ Atholton High School’s powderpuff football players defied this widely held assumption, as the upperclassman girls fiercely prepared for their first and only game during the Homecoming season.
The game took place on October 7 at 12:30, an hour after the parade. The juniors won against the seniors by a score of 14 to 7, breaking the yearly trend of 12th grade victories. Subsequent to the game, players were spotted congratulating one another for their “good game.”
Rules for powderpuff football are very similar to those of regular leagues, but rather shifts the focus from physically straining activities (tackling, pounding, etc.) to the development of specific techniques and skills. “It’s special because it showcases a different style of athletics—since we use ags instead of tackling, it requires players to be really skilled and aware of the field around them,” said Mr. Stuppy, the coach of the senior powderpuff team for the past four years.
The Atholton community was introduced to this sport in 2004. Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy, along with some of her athletic friends, sought to organize powderpuff practices and games during her last year of high school. Since then, the school has held annual games, allowing for increased participation among girl athletes in Atholton’s sports programs.
“My happiest moment of the game was when I threw a touchdown pass into the end zone to Kelly Simons,” said Christiana Kelley, a quarterback on the senior powder- puff team.This was the three sport athlete’s second time being a part of the annual game. Like Kelley, many members on the team are active participants in Atholton’s sports programs, whether it is tennis, lacrosse, basketball, or soccer. “A lot of the athletes on the team participate in other sports or activities, so it is hard to and a time to practice. Luckily, the girls are all hard-working and were there to play,” Mr. Stuppy said.
The excitement for the grand competition was followed by a series of concerns, one being the designated time for the game. The senior team consisted of many students who had to take the SAT at an overlapping time with the game; some felt that the absence of key players left their team at an unfair disadvantage.
Others also expressed their discomfort with the label “powderpuff football” itself, for it seemed to degrade a woman’s ability to engage in this sport. “I think the irony of the name powderpuff football is that it sounds like it’s something soft and gentle, when in fact, the reality is to- tally opposite. The girls on my squad put their bodies on the line for their team, including our quarterback Ty who broke two nails,” joked Mr. Stuppy.
Despite minimal controversy surrounding the event, nevertheless, the powderpuff game was ultimately deemed as a valuable experience by many of the participants. “I want the readers to know that any junior or senior can take part, and it is a really fun, competitive experience,” said Kelly, encouraging future involvement.
While the Atholton powderpuff game has been around for over a decade, Mr. Stuppy still hopes to grow the program. “Powderpuff is a fantastic tradition that we have had at Atholton, and I have been really happy to be a part of it each year,” he said. “In future years, we hope to move the game to a night time slot earlier in spirit week to kick things off, and perhaps add a charity element!”
No doubt the game will continue to be popular at Atholton. After all, the players on the team were tough enough for powderpuff!