Yesterday, my co-ed flag football team won the championship!! We went undefeated in the regular season and then pulled out the championship win in epic comeback style after being down by two touchdowns going into the second half!
But the reason this post is titled, "Girl Power" not, "Flag Football Champions" is because not only did we win, but we did it with an extra girl on the field on both offense and defense the entire season. In this particular league, teams must always have at least two women on the field at all times. Often times, teams will put their female players in "less critical" positions, but not our team!! We played with three women on offense (center and two receivers) as well as three women on defense (rusher and two linebackers) and we utilized a female player in some way in every single play of the game.
When I was reflecting on it this morning, I had a few different thoughts come up, and I wanted to share them!
Thought #1: Women are underestimated all. the. time.
When we roll up with a mostly female team, other teams expect to beat us. Even the photographer who was there for the championship game said, "you guys didn't look like you would be the team to win it all." I won't lie though, being underestimated does make winning all the more satisfying.
Thought #2: Women are incredible learners.
Growing up, none of the women in this picture played football because it wasn't a sport that was offered to us. But I would say at least 90% of the men in the league grew up playing at least pop warner but most likely high school and maybe college football. They've had a chance to learn the game over the course of a lifetime, whereas we have had a few years at most.
On top of this co-ed league, I also play in an all-women's full contact flag football league, and many of those women also play in an all women's semi-pro tackle football league. Again, none of these women grew up playing football. But within a few years of entering the sport, they go out on the field, draw up plays for each other, help each other learn the game, and play absolutely beautiful, hard-hitting, football.
Speaking for the women who I play with, we didn't originally enter the sport with an ego. None of us had played before, so we enter with open minds and a learning mentality. This growth mindset opens up so many doors for us to be better than expected. We pick up on the game faster because we want to learn, not because we think we're the best.
Thought #3: There are amazing men out there who want to see women succeed and are not intimidated by their success.
The four men in this picture (Andrew, Mike, Tarik, and Jason) could have all played the entire game and had the women sub in and out for each other, but they said the team was stronger when we had our girls in. They took themselves off the field to let a woman play. We need more men like this who can look at a woman and say, you know what, you're in, I'm out, for the good of the team. Not just in sports, but in all areas of life.
Congrats, Achievers! I am so proud to be on a team of people who support each other, build each other up, and celebrate each other's strengths! And now, on to the next one!