Sunday, February 19, 2012

Women vs Men; Why Do Women Play Football?

Why do women play football?  When I interview players for my featured player articles I always ask.  For a future blog post I'll compile responses.  But the answers haven't been very illuminating.  Sometimes a "why not?" challenge comes back to me.  For many the answer is simply because she wants to, because it is a great game. 

Coach Bobbie
Then I try to stir up a little conflict or competition.  I ask if the women want to get into the men's league.  In school days girls were historically denied the opportunity to try out for football.  Is women's pro ball opening the door to the NFL.  NFL pay is pretty good. 

Coach Bobbie was one of my early interviews.  She said "We're not women trying to be men; we just want to play a game that is typically deemed for men."

That was a great answer, one she repeated to me a week ago.  But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

The Outlaws share a practice field with the Central Texas Wolf Pack, a men's football team made up of firefighters and law enforcement officers,  part of the National Public Safety Football League.  The Wolf Pack has the field for the two hours before the Outlaws 10:30 a.m. time slot. 

Now I want you to understand I've been an Outlaws fan for many years.  I have a high regard for the talent of these ladies, Ski, Monica, Shadana, Soho.  When I saw the guys leaving the field as the Outlaws arrived, I had this silly idea.  Fortunately I didn't share it with anyone.   I decided to keep quiet until I had a chance to meet some of the Wolf Pack. 

See the football.  It is where the tackling dummy was.
When this guy hit the dummy he almost broke it in two.
The following week I came early and shot lots of photos of the guys.  Here are a few examples. 

He's a big guy.  Slightly airborne.  Note the football.  He has
moved the dummy, too.  The dummy is airborne.

Love this shot.  Focus not perfect but
still you see his elevation.

One fact was immediately obvious.  Men are different from women.  Bodies are built different.  More mass.  When men hit the dummies, they hit harder than women do.  When men jump, they jump higher.  When the guys scrimmaged the pads popped louder.  The guys on the line were six feet tall and solid 250 to 300 pounds. 

So I smiled when I raised my silly idea to Bobbie because there is no way the women are going to scrimmage the men.  Bobbie said we shouldn't try to teach women "to play the way the men do.  We should teach women to pay according to their strengths."  She observed that "men come from a brutal standpoint.  We (women) aren't out to kill people, to rip your head off."

I've enjoyed watching the women play football.  I've admired their athletic ability and their wonderful work ethic.  Their enthusiasm.  Their energy.  The games have been competitive.  And fun to watch.  But for reasons now obvious to me, the women aren't ready to take on the men.
I talked with one of the newer Outlaws, Megan.  She said she played a couple years of football in high school.  At the outset, she was about equal to the boys in size and strength.  But she stopped growing and the boys didn't. 

(You can see more of my Wolf Pack photos at my photo sharing website.)

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