The defending flag football intramural champions in the woman’s league at Southeastern Louisiana University are looking for a chance at “State” again. Many teams compete every year, wearing their color jerseys and letters to take home the honor of being named “Intramural champs.” The girls in red earned that honor this past year in 2016. These sorority girls make a transformation during this time. Hair up, no make-up, with the jerseys tucked in and cleats on, and no jewelry on is just a bit of an explanation of what these girls look like on game day. “The ladies of Alpha Omicron Pi are known around campus as being very competitive and taking intramurals very seriously,” said one of their coaches Austin Henderson. The season just started back up and they are one game and a couple practices in. AOII is the only sorority to ever do two teams because so many girls show up to tryouts. The B team consists of mostly the freshman and then the “A” team is made up of the older members. This year the coaches came together to decide to move a freshman up to the “A” team, Madison D’amico. She said she is thrilled to have the position of quarterback, but of course a little nervous too. “I’ve played sports my whole life so I was excited to learn about intramurals here at Southeastern and have the opportunity to be on such an amazing team,” said D’amico.
Last year, AOII went undefeated in the regular season and through playoffs and made it to the championship in Strawberry Stadium where they then played Alpha Sigma Tau. “There’s nothing like playing under those lights on that field with your sisters in the stands cheering you on,” said Angelle Suire. It was a long hard-fought season said defensive coach Griffin Hakenejos, member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. “We got just where we wanted to be though, on the road to state.” The state competition was held at Northwestern University in Nachoditches, Louisiana. Teams from all around the state came together to compete for one trophy. AOII got one win out of the weekend, but lost two tough ones to send them back to Hammond, Louisiana. Suire said “It was just nice being able to wear my letters on my jersey representing us and Southeastern. We played hard and had fun and that’s all that matters.”
Austin Henderson, Beau for AOII and offensive coach said “These girls are nothing but a joy to coach, I can tell you that. I enjoy making color coded plays for them and play cards to where the quarterback can wear them on the wristband and call plays on the field.” “Our first game this year wasn’t the best, but that is okay. At least we played the other AOII team and got some good, real practice in. The end of the season is the time to peak anyway.”
These games take place at North Oaks Park in Hammond and last about an hour with two refs calling the game. Many students come out here in the fall semester on these fields to cheer on their favorite teams. This extra-curricular activity is not taking very lightly here at Southeastern these six weeks in the fall semester. Usually the roster consists of six teams, five sororities and one team called DET. Everyone then plays each other twice and then it is time for playoffs. Playoff ranking is done by each team’s record from the regular season. AOII actually set a record in the regular season, by keeping every team they played held to zero each game. Another asset that sets AOII apart in this season of flag football is their team bonding. The girls have a before game ritual they do each time consisting of a chant and listening to their “team song” to get them pumped up. Although their main goal is to WIN, it’s not all about that. The girls strive to have fun and bring their sisterhood even closer with all the competitive mindset.
The team hopes to make it through the season without any controversy with the refs, considering it is what almost cost them the chance at the championship last year. Each game the refs are supposed to be fair and continue to make the same calls. Well the semifinal game last year ended in an uproar as the refs decide to make up their own rules at the end of the game instead of going by the handbook, according to Suire. The girls came together after the game and decided to report the issue to the Rec center and the man in charge. They filled out a report stating the refs cost them the game and explained the whole situation. The Rec then notified the ladies the next day apologizing for the unfair call and promised them another shot at finishing the game the right way. With that being said, the ladies of Phi Mu and Alpha Omicron Pi had a rematch in Strawberry Stadium right before the championship to determine who would be playing in it and AOII won then and did not quit from there.
These ladies and coaches seem very committed and excited for this upcoming season with high hopes and goals of playing in Strawberry Stadium for the big game and making it even further in “state”. Some worries consist of the ref calling and losing so many good seniors last year, but the younger members and even the freshman have stepped up to the plate and really have accepted the challenge to fill those shoes. Their first game against the other AOII team even had the new refs training and showing them exactly what to do and how to make certain calls in different situations, so nothing like last year will have the chance of happening again. As soon as football comes to an end, the ladies of AOII will turn their focus to softball, which takes place in the spring and in which they took home the championship in that also last season.