When was the last time you were awake, ready to go, ready to run and ready to compete at 7:00 a.m? Oh, did I fail to mention that this is in bitter cold -20 ̊C January weather- three times a week? This is not a lifestyle for the fragile.

Laurier Brantford’s toughest Powder Puffs competed in their first inter-Laurier game on January 28 as part of a tournament at the Waterloo Campus. The girls, who also refer to themselves as “Back That Pass Up,” lost their first game 24-6 against the Rough Riders, one of nine teams from the Waterloo campus. Melissa Mullen, president and captain of the team, scored the lone touchdown. Winners of this tournament receive serious bragging rights.

The team is fairly new to Brantford but their confidence is contagious. Despite their loss, they prepared for two big games the following day. The Powder Puff’s brightly coloured sweaters boast their slogan “Look pretty, play dirty!” The team is knocking down both opponents and stereotypes with their unexpected motivation and participation. They have managed to recruit 26 players since early in the first semester, as well as five male coaches who don’t take training lightly.

A Powder Puff morning begins when it is still dark outside. The girls must get out of bed early enough to layer their classic attire: cleats, mouth guard, three pairs of pants, under armour, thermal shirt, two sweaters and a jacket. The team then treks to their practice field at Central School. Training and drills begin at seven, three times a week, whether there is a foot of snow or a sheet of ice.

Upon interviewing Mullen, the vibe that “Back That Pass Up” means business was apparent.

“It is just flag football, but it can get pretty physical because girls are running at each other,” says Mullen. “We’ve had a few injuries so far- a broken nose, and that was just a practice.”

Though the tournament is against Laurier (Waterloo Campus), it is an opportunity for the Brantford team and campus to grab some much-needed credentials. The Facebook group associated with Brantford Powder Puff football describes the team as a way to “show Waterloo that Brantford can represent!”

“I think we have a better shot than we’ve ever had, we’ve practiced so hard,” says Mullen.

Brantford’s tiny campus is often labelled as lacking athletics. However, dedicated and active students like Mullen are making changes for a more athletic and healthy student body.

“This is the first year [they’ve] had sports clubs so everything is kind of new. It is our trial and error season,” explains Mullen.

“It is a stepping stone towards more athletic teams to come to Laurier Brantford,” says Jordan Ammendolia, fourth year Law and Society student and acclaimed member of Brantford Campus Council.

The team is scheduled to compete against other Canadian universities on February 10, 11, and 12.