No more tackle powder-puff football In this photo taken Monday, May 2, 2016, Jupiter High powderpuff football players Caitlin Walsh, Megan Mendoza, Haley Osborne and Savannah Tardonia, in front with ball, pose for a group photo in Jupiter, Fla. The clock has run out on what boosters describe as the nation's last tackle powderpuff football game. (AP Photo/Terry Spencer)
No more tackle powder-puff football
Lexile

What boosters describe as the nation's last tackle powder-puff football game is no more.
 
The game was played for 50 years and was a spirited competition between seniors and juniors. But now, Jupiter High's principal has canceled the annual event. He said he doesn't believe helmets and shoulder pads borrowed from boys' teams adequately protect the girls who get crunched in the game.
 
The cancellation blindsided Jupiter. It is a middle-class suburb on Florida's Palm Beach coast. The game fills the stands, something the Jupiter boys' team rarely does. The game raised $7,000 last year, parents say. While boys dress like female cheerleaders in tight shorts, crop tops and wigs, the girls get to experience the thrill of competing before a crowd instead of playing softball or soccer in front of a few dozen parents and friends.
 
"The game makes our town special. It is a once in a lifetime or maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity. You can't come back when you are 30 and play," said Haley Osborne. She is a 17-year-old senior who is disappointed that she's missing her final chance.
 
"It is almost like a Friday night in Texas. Everyone comes out to watch the game. That is why you see the uproar. That's what this game means to this town," said Marcy Murphy, a special needs job coach. Her son, Brandon, plays running back on the boys' team. He helped coach the girls last year.
 
But Principal Dan Frank, who has led the 2,800-student school for three years, is firm. This year's game is off. A girl broke her leg a few years ago. Each year players get bruises and sprains. And there is always a chance of more serious injuries.
 
"Student safety is my first priority," Frank said in a statement. "The narrow window of time for student preparation and practice, and the limited availability of properly fitting safety equipment would put our students at risk." An attempt to enlist the town of Jupiter as the game's sponsor failed. Town Manager Andrew Lukasik rejected the idea. He also cited safety concerns.
 
Some girls and their parents said Frank told them tackle powder-puff might be brought back under certain conditions. Instead of two weeks practice, there could be two months so the girls are better trained. Instead of using pads and helmets from the boys' team and a local youth league, football uniforms designed for girls could be purchased. In addition, specific insurance could be bought for the game.
 
Frank would only confirm that he has asked the district to help determine whether the game could be resumed at some point.
 
As for this year, Frank suggested the girls adopt flag football. But the girls wouldn't consider it.
 
Many American high schools host flag powder-puff. It is a no-contact version in which girls stop their opponents by pulling flags off their belts, rather than wrestling them to the ground. But Florida schools already offer girls' flag football as an interscholastic sport.
 
Osborne and her friends, Caitlin Walsh, Megan Mendoza and Sophie Garcia, said their principal also made another suggestion that they found demeaning. His suggestion was that they play a modified kickball game, and have the runner bob for apples at second base, or spin around at third.
 
"We are not in elementary school," Mendoza said.
 
Frank acknowledges suggesting several alternative events, but would not be specific.
 
The members of the Class of 2016 were filled with glee recalling last year's 50th anniversary game. Their class lost 17-12 to the Class of 2015.
 
Donning pads. Strapping on helmets. Hearing the crowd as they sprinted into the stadium. The hits. The fumbles and bumbles.
 
"Remember there were three of us saying 'Let's all just get on Amanda.' But no one could take her down," one girl says. Another chimes in, "One girl got hit so hard her helmet flew off." A third adds, "It is sooo fun."
 
For these young women and their moms, the risk of injury is overblown.
 
"The car ride to the game is more dangerous," said Lori Walsh, Caitlin's mother.
 
Girls get hurt cheerleading and playing soccer and basketball. They asked, why not ban those sports, too?
 
They also note that Florida allows girls to play on boys' high school football teams. Several female kickers have played, as well as a girl who substituted at quarterback in the neighboring county.
 
"That's much riskier," Marcy Murphy said.
 
For now, at least, the game is over.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does the powder-puff game attract more people than the boy’s team?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (83)
  • richardp-wes
    5/17/2016 - 09:03 a.m.

    The powder puff game attracts more people than the boys team because if boys have to dress up like girls to do cheerleading than now girls have to dress up like boys so now it is even

  • samanthas-1-ste
    5/17/2016 - 11:11 a.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more peoples than the boy's team because everything is opposite. Also, the boys are dressed up as girls and its funny to watch everything they do. My high school hosts flag football every year, but I would love to play tackle.

  • nickr32400-
    5/17/2016 - 12:37 p.m.

    The girls were more interesting. The boys are good and all but the girls are more unique than the boys.

  • brinar1-
    5/17/2016 - 12:40 p.m.

    I think that the girls get more people in the crowd because it is more interesting to watch the girls.

  • william1108-yyca
    5/17/2016 - 06:38 p.m.

    I can't believe that the football thing was played at least more than 50 years. But also I never knew that while boys dress like female cheerleaders in tight shorts, crop tops and wigs, the girls get to experience the thrill of competing before a crowd instead of playing softball or soccer in front of a few dozen parents and friends.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    5/17/2016 - 07:40 p.m.

    The girl's game attracts more viewers because it is something unusual that only happens once a year whereas the boy's team plays every week for 10 weeks in a row.

  • melissaj-Ste
    5/17/2016 - 08:05 p.m.

    Because it is a special event for Jupiter High. It is a school event full of history that lets high school girls switch places with the people they see each Friday night on the field. Everyone is going to hurt no matter what, whether they are playing a sport or simply doing normal tasks. They should not take away the option for girls to tackle. Instead they should prepare the girls for the special and legitimate event they are partaking in.

  • joeg-orv
    5/18/2016 - 12:40 p.m.

    The girls get more people in the crowd because it's more interesting to watch the girls.

  • autianae-ste
    5/18/2016 - 01:30 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people because it's different than what we're used to; girls are playing football. I'm an athlete and I would really like to establish powder-puff as an actual competitive sport.

  • tessf-6-bar
    5/18/2016 - 05:48 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than the boys team because it is a lot more common to see boys playing football rather than girls. Girls playing football goes against gender-roles which people probably like to see.
    I am sad to hear that this isn't happening again because it would have raised a lot of money for the school and people enjoyed watching. I don't think it was a good idea because the article said, "The game fills the stands, something the Jupiter boys' team rarely does." (Paragraph 3).

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