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)
  • vmichael-dav
    9/08/2016 - 08:25 p.m.

    In response to "No More Tackle Powderpuff Football," I disagree that girls can't play tackle. One reason is that girls can do anything a boy can do, "Florida allows girls to play on boys' high school football teams," as it states in the article. Another reason is that if girls want to put in the risk, then let them, boys have a risk too. "The car ride to the game is more dangerous," Lori Walsh said. A third reason is if the girls have fun doing it and don't complain, then why take it away? "It is a once in a lifetime or maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity." Even though I think it is still very dangerous for them to play, they should be aloud to play Powder-Puff football.

  • carterc-bla
    9/15/2016 - 10:28 a.m.

    I feel like they should keep powder puff football as a tackle sport. If girls can play on a boys football team for a whole season then why can't they play one game with all girls. If anything the hits would be softer and even more safe. The powder puff team is raising more money than the boys team in one game.

  • matthewh1-bla
    9/15/2016 - 12:02 p.m.

    The powder-puff game attracts more people than the boys team because it was something that hasn't been done before. I know this is more popular because it says ''the game raised 7,000 dollars last year.'' All the people on the girls football team had to borrow pads and helmets from the boys football team,but he pads were way to big for the girls to fit in, which led to more injuries over the span of the season. I think this is a good idea to let girls play football because we need to treat girls with the same respect we do guys, so I see no harm in girls playing football.

  • mylest-bla
    9/15/2016 - 01:13 p.m.

    I think it is unfair to stop the power-puff football. The power-puff girls attracted a bigger crowd than the boys for a reason. the power-puff girls raised about $7000 for the school as well. If your going to take away power-puff football why don't you just take cheerleading or soccer or BOYS FOOTBALL.

  • ronans-bla
    9/16/2016 - 09:32 a.m.

    This article is about how they are going to stop powder puff. I do not think they should because it attracts more people because it is unique. The more people it attracts the more money you get.

  • bstric-wim5
    9/16/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    I think the powder puff games attract more people than the boys do because when you see a boy play football you think

  • noahh-sto
    10/13/2016 - 11:42 a.m.

    because it only happens a couple times a year and everyone wants to watch girls play a guys sport.

  • gavinm-sto
    10/13/2016 - 03:03 p.m.

    Because it is girls doing it and not guys u dont see girls play football that often.

  • madilyn-dav
    10/13/2016 - 06:30 p.m.

    In response to "No More Tackle Powder-Puff Football," I disagree that the annual girls' tackle football game should be canceled. One reason I disagree is that the girls never get to play football like the boys do, so why take away that once in a lifetime chance to experience playing an intense contact sport? Another reason is that since this annual football game has a lot of people coming to it, the girls get to feel what it's like to have a big crowd come to a sports event for them. It says in the article "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." A third reason is the girls aren't really even getting injured. The article says that "Girls get hurt cheerleading and playing soccer and basketball, they say, so why not ban those sports, too? Even though the girls have a chance of getting hurt, I think that the girls should get a chance to play anything that boys get to play. It wouldn't hurt the boys to stand on the sidelines and cheer for the girls every once in a while.

  • maxo-lew
    10/27/2016 - 12:50 p.m.

    Great story! I think that they should let the girls decide if they want to play, other than banning the game.

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