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.
 
After 50 years of spirited competition between seniors and juniors, 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 packs 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, also citing 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, 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, which they lost 17-12 to the Class of 2015.
 
Donning pads. Strapping on helmets. Hearing the roar 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 say, so why not ban those sports, too?
 
They also note that Florida allows girls to play on boys' high school football teams, including several female kickers and 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 (23)
  • collinf-2-bar
    5/17/2016 - 11:39 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than the boy's team because it is a special occasion. "The game makes our town special. It is a once in a lifetime or maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity."

    I think it is unfair that they are stopping the game.

  • matthewp-6-bar
    5/19/2016 - 11:30 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than the boy's team. The reason for this is because it is a game that happens only once a year and people like seeing women get to play football competitively. This is shown in the article by," The game packs the stands, something the boys' Jupiter team rarely does." My opinion about this article is I think the principal should let them play because they understand the safety risks.

  • wendyg-moo
    5/24/2016 - 01:38 p.m.

    It he power puff game attract more people than the boy's team because girls are playin a boys sport and a lot of people would want to see the girls playing football.

  • alexanderc-6-bar
    5/26/2016 - 08:04 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than the boy's team. The reason for this is because it is a game that happens only once a year and people like seeing women get to play football competitively. This is shown in the article by," The game packs the stands, something the boys' Jupiter team rarely does." My opinion about this article is I think the principal should let them play because they understand the safety risks.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    5/26/2016 - 08:43 p.m.

    The Jupiter High had banned both the boys and girls football team because too many people had been getting injured from a person tackling another person in football and injuring the other football players. The principal of Jupiter High wouldn't like to risk anymore injuries to be happening when people are playing football so he would need to ban football from the high school to let more injuries to happen. The girls might have been able to play the powder-puff game which the girls can be able to get less injuries than the boys because they would always be playing football.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why does the powder-puff game attract more people than the boy's team?
    Answer: I know that the powder-puff game attract more people than the boy's team because when less injuries happen, the more attraction that the powder-puff game can attract than games that get a lot of injuries.

    • AdelineR-dec
      1/17/2018 - 12:09 p.m.

      I play football on an all boys team and I have so far only got hurt once this year. I think that they should let the girls play.

  • carlym-4-bar
    5/26/2016 - 11:12 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attract more people than the boy's team because it only happens once a year. "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."
    I enjoyed this article because the girls are able to be the football players, while they boys are cheerleaders.

  • ethang-1-bar
    5/26/2016 - 11:43 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than boy teams because "It's a once in a lifetime or maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity." which shows the importance of this type of event. This causes people to be more attracted to this game because it's more rare than other regular games. I found this article interesting because I never knew about this type of event ever but now that I know, it sounds like a very interesting event already.

  • avab-4-bar
    5/27/2016 - 12:01 p.m.

    Because it a bigger cause and it empowers women to express their inner man. Its what makes their town special.

    I found this article interesting because I've always wanted to play tackel football, but on a girls team.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/01/2016 - 01:34 a.m.

    I hope that the tackle powder-puff football will be back with more safety gear and more time to practice. The students really like this and want to keep on doing it but there were too many injuries and not enough time for practice.
    I think that the powder-puff game attracts more people than the boy's team because the boys dress up as girls and do cheerleading.

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