Do you remember hearing about womens football? The teams had names like Vixens, Voodoo Dolls and Herricanes. Well, guess what, it is still here and Womens football has not only survived, it has grown. With size came organization. Theyve got conferences, divisions, playoffs and title games -- the whole schmeer!
There are the five (yes, five!) womens football leagues. WAFL, WPFL, WSFL, IWFL, LTFL. This year almost sixty teams are conducting tryouts. Theyre playing year round and coast to coast.
The teams of the WAFL just wrapped up their third season. Their Pacific Conference has teams in Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Hawaii, Phoenix, Rose City (Oregon) plus two near LA.
Although womens football has not gained the publicity it deserves, people are beginning to inquire about this intensely provocative sport. The big question being: How good are they? All admit talent is spotty, but at their best, womens teams could compete with male teams of comparable size.
Case in point: The Seattle Warbirds.
They break from the huddle like theyve taken ten thousand snaps. They hit their spots like robots and for an icy instant theyre a menacing tableau, then - Hut! Hut! Hut! The snap! The QB turns and pounds the ball into the gut of a 140 pound locomotive. The guards pull like bulldogs on broken chains. They turn the corner looking for somebody to hit. A safety takes the challenge. The pads pop like pistols. You feel the concussion through the soles of your shoes. Jagged clods of dirt loft into the air and a linebacker bellows, Put that girl downnnnn!
jockstraps! This is real football!
Who are these women and where do they come from?
A look at the San Francisco Tsunami sideline before opening kickoff shows the various units gathering in small knots. Quarterback Heather Bruno, ponytail poking out from her helmet, moves methodically from group to group. Bruno loves every molecule of the game and it shows. She takes the big hit and bounces up like a spring. When the whistle blows theres nothing on her mind but the next play. She just graduated and has one eye on the advertising business. She is definitely management material.
Five mornings a week Shea Cannon gets her family off to job, school and daycare. Her own workday is delivering office supplies. On Saturdays shes a defensive lineman. Shes fueled by her husbands support and her teammates heart. Shes prouder of her family and team than she has words to express. She cracks a big smile when telling that her co-workers are finally coming to a game.
Bagsby has the best swagger of any running back in football. Shes
earned it. One hundred and forty pounds of estrogen, muscle and cleats.
She lines up blockers; takes on tacklers. Shed play six quarters if
theyd let her.
These women all have one thing in common. Theyre at ease, at ease with the world and at ease with themselves. They have a complete and quiet faith in the overall rightness of what theyre doing.
All Photography Larry Roszkowiak
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