LAURIER’S ANNUAL POWDER PUFF TOURNAMENT BRINGS THE INTENSITY, COMPETITION AND PHYSICALITY TO GIRL’S FLAG FOOTBALL
It was fourth and two. There was time left for just two plays, the team on offence was down by six. The quarterback was in shotgun formation, got the snap, dropped back. With nothing open, the only thing left to do was scramble. The defense made the stop just short of the first down, and the game was over. This was not one of the NFL’s conference championship games, but a semi-final game between the Born Stars and Who’s Next? at Laurier’s annual Powder Puff tournament. The tournament is one of two held annually at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, the first featuring all Laurier teams and the second featuring teams from across Ontario. Both feature teams of girls playing ten on ten flag football, though as I quickly saw, some of the games were just as physical as the tackle variety, with girls throwing big blocks and crashing into each other on rushes up the middle. “Even though it’s a flag sport, it’s very physical. You can’t go into it thinking you won’t come out with bruises the next day,” said Caressa Edwards, a defensive end in the tournament. The teams, aside from Brantford’s, are coached by players from the varsity football teams, and are typically made up of 20-30 players. The tournament is definitely a huge stride in deteriorating the stagnant idea of football as a sport reserved for guys. Games saw linebackers taking out blockers, tailbacks cutting all over the field for big runs, quarterbacks going deep to receivers, and even some trickery, including a well-executed half-back pass, and a not so well-executed flea flicker. The tournament is a step in advancing girl’s activity in football, as previous efforts such as the Lingerie Football League and the Bud Bowl, have proven to be more about sex then sport. For those of you trying to figure out if you read that last sentence correctly, yes, there is a Lingerie Football League. “Everybody really gets into it, and it shows that there’s some really athletic girls at Laurier. You see some of the catches they make and it’s like, 'oh shit, that’s as good as a guy would be,'” said Pam Van Asseldonk, a Powder Puff safety. “It’s also a sport that lets any girl of any body type get involved in a team activity.”
“It’s a really good way to give girls a chance to get out there and have a lot of fun at the university level,” said Edwards. “It gives girls a chance to get out there and play, when girls wouldn’t usually have the chance to learn about the game the way Powder Puff allows.”
When asked what newcomers to the sport should come to expect, Van Asseldonk cited the Four P’s of Powderpuff: “Passion, pride, purpose, and of course, party”.