When I was in middle school, I used to look at the football players on the field in their jerseys, helmets, pads, cleats, long socks and tight pants.
Most of the girls around me liked watching the game because of the way the players looked in those tight-fitting pants.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed the game. In a way I envied those boys on the field. I always wanted to know why girls couldn’t play football.
I voiced my interest to my father and he laughed at me. I didn’t bother informing my mother; she had already disapproved of my future boxing career.
My dream was shattered. I would never become a football player. I joined the marching band and gave up my desire.
Times have truely changed.
A few weeks ago I was reading an article in the sports section of the Tallahassee Democrat. It mentioned Panama City’s professional women’s football team.
I did a little more research and found that there are actually 21 teams in the National Women’s Football League (NWFL).
Founded in August 2000 by Catherine Masters, the NWFL is well on its way to becoming a major powerhouse for women’s athletics.
The Nashville Dream and the Alabama Renegades were the first two teams in the league. They played a six game schedule that attracted respectable fan and media support.
During the next season, eight more teams were added to the league and the Pensacola Power attracted 5300 fans to their home opener.
Roy Jones Jr. purchased the team after sponsoring it during the 2001 season.
Marci Krauth, director of public relations and media for the Rochester Raptors says that she feels that the best thing about women’s football is the ability to influence young girls.
“Football has always been a ‘man’s’ world, with only a few breaking through to actually play it. This way, more girls are apt to play football from peewee football through high school and possibly college…Eventually, there may also be enough interest to have teams for the girls, instead of playing on the boys teams. The same was true for hockey and soccer years ago.”
NWFL teams hold open tryouts before each season. There is a one time application fee and a brief application form is available on the official website: www.nwflcentral.com.
Officials insist that there is no heavy physical contact during the tryouts.
They consist of timings in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, and the four corner drill.
Other activities vary depending on the person running the tryouts. Clinics are often held prior to the tryouts.
The first games of the 2002 season are scheduled for April 20.
An evolution in women’s sports is definitely taking place. Women are breaking through in sports and becoming successful in ways people never thought possible.
Women have come a long way. From fighting for equal voting rights to equal employment opportunities to Title IX and equal coverage in sports.
Now women have professional sports leagues, even in full contact, tackle football.
Young women have plenty of role models to whom they can look; whether they aspire to be actresses, doctors, lawyers, or even professional football players.
Elizabeth Broadway, 18, is a newspaper journalism student from Atlanta, Ga. She can be reached at Famusports01 @hotmail.com