Why Women Play Football
One of the first questions people ask when they hear about the D.C. Divas is, “Why would women want to play full-contact football?” Here are five reasons women love playing this great sport!
1) Football is an American Sport: If baseball is America’s national pastime, football is America’s national obsession. The NFL and major college football are two of the most popular sports leagues in the United States. Football is a terrific, uniquely American sport that challenges athletes physically and mentally. After playing football successfully, many athletes claim that everything else in life seems easy by comparison. That challenge is what draws so many people – men and women alike – to the great sport of football.
“Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.”
– Vince Lombardi, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach
2) Football is a Team Sport: Many women have athletic success in individual sports, but athletes who have played team sports will tell you that there’s nothing quite like being part of a team! Women’s football gives athletes a chance to be part of something bigger than themselves and to play alongside other great female athletes.
Women’s football players build lifelong friendships, not only with their teammates, but often with their opponents as well! Women’s football is a unique sisterhood, a large family of women who support each other. The connections made between women’s football players are bonds that often last a lifetime.
3) Football is a Physical Sport: One of the main concerns recruits have about playing football is the risk of getting hurt or injured. Moreover, there have been major news stories recently about some NFL and major college football players, mostly from the 1970s and ‘80s, who are suffering from health issues due to repeated concussions they sustained during their careers. The seriousness of their stories cannot and should not be minimized or trivialized.
With that said, women’s football and men’s football differ in a few respects. Because most women don’t have the same size and speed as NFL and elite men’s college players, the long-term injury implications of men’s football and women’s football cannot be compared. This does not mean that such injuries cannot or will never happen in modern women’s football, but the days of players being rushed back onto the field after suffering multiple concussions is, thankfully, in the past.
Make no mistake…football is a physical sport. Athletes in women’s football take the game seriously and often deliver punishing, painful hits. Torn ligaments, sprains, and even concussions do happen. However, if an athlete is coached to utilize proper tackling techniques, she can drastically reduce her injury risk. In addition, the improvements in modern football equipment and the increased attention now being paid to concussions and its effects have dramatically improved the safety of the sport. Too many women let the stories they hear about injuries to elite men’s players cloud their perception of football and keep them from participating in a truly rewarding and empowering sport.
When those fears are put aside, many women realize that the ability to hit is one of the greatest things about football! Football is one of the few sports that allows athletes to let out their aggression and embrace physical play without fouling out or being disqualified. Most women find that the rush of playing full-contact football is addictive and eventually come to welcome the rugged nature of the sport.
4) Football is a Competitive Sport: The passage of Title IX in 1972 vastly expanded athletic opportunities for women in high school and college. More women are playing sports in high school and college than ever before. Sadly, after college, many women are in their athletic primes but have no post-collegiate opportunity to continue their athletic careers.
Football gives women a chance to compete on a national stage after college. Women’s football is a nationwide sport, with dozens and dozens of teams in cities all across the United States. It provides a unique opportunity for female athletes to continue competing at an elite level, even after their college careers are over.
5) Football is a Women’s Sport: Why should you play women’s football? Simply put…because you can! Football was closed off to women for decades, because it was historically considered a “man’s game.” Even today, the stereotype of associating football exclusively with men persists, despite having been shattered in virtually every other sport, even physical sports like hockey, boxing, and mixed martial arts.
Today’s women’s football players are pioneers, taking advantage of an opportunity to play football that was denied to many women before them. They show the world that anything is possible and that women can do absolutely anything they set their minds to. Women’s football players serve as role models in their community, setting an example for young girls to look up to when they pursue their own dreams.
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”
– Mike Singletary, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker