Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Powder Puff football proves girls like grass stains, too

by John Halverson

October 17, 2013

No disrespect to any other sport, but my favorite sport of all-time is Powder Puff football.

Put the demeaning title aside for a moment and Powder Puff football is everything I like about sports.

Competition.

Skill.

Fun.

It is a Badger High School Homecoming tradition.

Refereed by teachers and the school principal, it’s played under the lights behind the high school every fall.

Apparently, Big Foot High School stopped its game this year because some of the girls wore clothes that were inappropriate. I don’t even want to know what that was, but the Badger girls used their uniforms for identification and trash talking.

The seniors had names on their backs like “Big Black,” “Ditz” and “Baby Girl.”

The freshmen uniforms said: “WE HOPE YOU LIKE HOW GRASS TASTES.”

The juniors wore tie-dyed shirts.

And the sophomores wore pink.

In the world of men’s sports the only pink that’s worn takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the NFL. (In fact, former Oakland Raider’s owner Al Davis once said that anything but black or silver was a sign of gender confusion).

Apparently, in the world of girls sports pink has a different connotation.

In this case it meant winners, as the sophomore pinkettes won the championship, first beating the seniors and then the freshmen.

Athletes were in evidence on all sides.

My daughter played high school sports, so it wasn’t as though I haven’t seen some great female athletes — but Powder Puff football is especially telling because it’s a sport few if any of them play on a regular basis.

They didn’t throw like girls. The quarterbacks threw spirals.

And while it’s flag football, the girls sometimes played like it was tackle diving for a flag and, well, sometimes taking an opponent out on the process. There were even a few audible “whoas” from the refs — all of whom were men.

Grass stains were apparently a sign of pride just like they are in the men’s game.

And, as in the case of both sports and life, you could tell who the leaders were.

They played quarterback or were the ones rousing their teammates in the huddle.

As everywhere in life, leadership comes in different stripes. After an opponent scored a TD, one of the girls tried to rouse her teammates by saying “It’s OK…” She was interrupted by another girl saying “No, it’s not!” Good cop. Bad cop.

There was some sideline help, too. Seniors from the men’s football team were helping coach and cheer on the senior girls.

When the girls scored, the senior boys did pushups to honor them.

I didn’t see any bullying — no one yelled at a teammate because they made a mistake.

No one picked a fight because she’d been knocked to the ground.

There’s no crying in baseball, the movie says, and there’s apparently no crying in Powder Puff football.

Grass stains, yes. And probably a few bruises. But no tears.

So let’s get back to the title — Powder Puff.

According to Wikipedia, Powder Puff football started at the collegiate level during World War II when many male football players went to war.

The head of a homecoming committee at the time, a male, of course, said the very idea of women playing football “was enough to curl your teeth.”

But they played — and there’s no record of curled teeth.

Wikipedia says: “The term originates from the powderpuff used in cosmetics for powdering. Typical female behavior at the time … included repeatedly taking out a powderpuff and a small mirror to powder themselves in public.”

I saw no mirrors at this year’s game.

No makeup — except for the fearsome war paint some of the girls wore.

And when they ran toward another player or the cameraman — which was me — I saw no mercy.

Halverson is editor and general manager of the Regional News.