HAMMOND- Strange as it may seem, intramural co-rec flag football teams sporting girls in major roles is becoming a common occurrence. Skilled women flag football players are just as valuable to their team as the guys are, if not more so.
In co-rec flag football, the girl players are the key to a team’s offense. Will Theall, a senior who’s played the sport for three years, says the rules force teams to make yardage with girl players. “After a guy gains yards on an offensive play the next play becomes closed,” Theall said. “On a closed play, a girl player must advance the ball for a gain before a guy can advance the ball again.”
Some teams run a completely different offense on closed plays. Jacob Currier, a sophomore who plays with the co-rec flag football team the Catholic Lions, says his team changes strategy on closed plays.“On closed plays girls are essential because we normally use them at quarterback so we can have all of our guy receivers running routes instead of a guy forcing a throw to a girl,” said Currier.
In order for a team to move the ball effectively and score in flag football they must be able to make plays with their girl players. What makes them more valuable is if a girl player throws, catches, or rushes in for a touchdown it’s worth nine points, instead of six, according to Theall. “If a team has good girl players, and can use them effectively, they have a big advantage over the other team since they can score more points easily,” Theall said.
Some people might think that because co-rec leagues have men and women players, the level of play might not be as competitive; however, that’s not the case. “I was surprised with the competiveness of some of the games, I was not expecting people to play rough,” said Jennifer Ernst, a freshman player on 2Legit’s flag football team. “I was worried that some of the guys would treat us too nice since we were girls, but they did not hold back.”
According to Alicia Volpe, a freshman who played volleyball and flag football with 2Legit, the girls played equally as hard as the guys. “I found that the girls were just as competitive as the guys when it came to both sports if not more so,” she said.
This sentiment was echoed by her teammate Kailee LeBlanc. “In some instances, I think the girls can be more competitive than the guys,” LeBlanc said. “Probably because football is more of a guys’ sport, so girls who love to compete feel like they need to try even harder to make an impression.”
The idea that flag football is a guys’ sport serves as motivation for some of the women players. “I personally liked playing co-rec flag football because I found it interesting having to play against guys considering it’s a guy sport,” Ernst said. “I found sometimes we could use being a girl to our advantage because some guys were not expecting a girl to catch, or run fast to pull a flag and were surprised when a girl made a good play.”
According to Ernst, co-rec sports give girls a chance to prove they can play with the guys in intramural athletics. Ernst said, “I think many girls wanted to really show this side of them because we are always looked down on when it comes to sports so it makes you want to be that much better.”