Crossing over the sidelines, now girls can be on the field competing in a popular sport, not just watching and cheering.
Girls in football? No way! Believe it or not, girls are playing football now—hopefully you saw it for yourself. Women’s soccer was recently just accepted as a competitive sport within the Hmong community, which seemed to be a big change. But even a bigger change is happening right now: girls are playing football at the annual 4th of July tournament, something still hard for many people to believe; it is surely a sight to be seen.
In the past, sports have always been men only, until now of course. The field was a man’s territory, his haven—his home away from home. Now, women can call it a second home as well.
Women, in general, have come a long way from stay at home moms to the token girlfriend watching her boyfriend from the sidelines, which used to be the only way a girl was involved in sports. We’ve all seen the girlfriends who are dragged along to all the practices and games. We’ve all seen the group of girls, the so-called “groupies” a team has, usually made up of the players’ girlfriends or wives. To emphasize, the men’s football team, Unrated, even had specialized jerseys made for their women who wear their own numbers and even their own names on the back: a real jersey! So real in fact, that if these women were to run into the field to play, they would have blended in perfectly, aside from the obvious fact that they would be female.
Crossing over the sidelines, now girls can be on the field competing in a popular sport, not just watching and cheering. The times have changed, maybe not a lot, but at least a little.
Flag football is not really a sport you’d think women would play. Soccer and basketball? Sure. Volleyball? Of course. But football? How did these ladies come up with football? Well, given the chance to hang out at a pre-game barbecue with the men’s team, Wolfpac, and the women’s team, the Black Widows—the answers just came rolling in.
“It all started as a fundraiser for a high school banquet,” reminisces Mai Chong Xiong, a tight end for the women’s flag football team the Black Widows. Many high school girls initiated a flag football tournament as a way to raise money. Teams were created and interest in female flag football increased immensely. Because of the growing interest, some girls decided to take flag football further.
With around nine competitive flag football teams out there, these females are showing the public that they are here to stay. Although the elderly still wonder why females choose to play flag football, the younger generation understands and fully supports the females who do play. Not only that, but even the male players support the whole idea of women’s flag football, sometimes the men even coach the female teams; the stereotypical thought of “women can’t do what men can do” only exists in a small percentage, which is where biological differences come in.
The women’s teams do not scrimmage against the men’s (just in case you were wondering). “It’s no match. When it comes down to it, guys are much more athletic, physically,” says Ricky Vang, tight end and back up quarterback for the men’s team, Wolfpac. No argument there. The good thing is that there is no competition between male and female teams and that the men fully support the women. The bad thing is that competition between females is fierce. It might just be very competitive at the moment because of how new the sport is, but nonetheless, it is clear that these women are on the field to win.
So what does female flag football have in store for the future? Hopefully, more interested girls. Although there are quite a few lady football players out there already, there is always hope for more, especially for out-of-state teams.
In the future, the Twin City teams hope to face more females from out-of-state. But for now, interested girls are always welcome to join in on the fun. Current players suggest to interested girls to just get into contact with anyone they know; their friends and their families might know of some football players. If you see teams practicing at a park near you, stop and stay hi, maybe throw the ball around a little. Also, don’t be discouraged if you’ve never played an organized sport before—many of the players now didn’t play a sport before agreeing to play flag football.
Even if these ladies play a tough game, they really are nice and approachable; maybe that’s the difference between male and female football players.