Powder Puff Football has become my life, and I have not even played yet. Finally, this Friday, Nov. 15, I will get my chance. For the past two months, along with the FRIENDS Initiative and the Junior and Senior class committees, I have become consumed by planning a Junior vs. Senior Powder Puff Football game. For those of you who don’t know, a powder puff football game reverses gender roles – girls play football and guys cheer. It began as a way to draw juniors and seniors, disconnected, living off campus and who have begun to stray to Capitol Hill, back to the Hilltop. Now, the game’s significance has grown into something much greater than I ever expected. Powder Puff football is for fun, service, caring, leadership and learning.

The game, in its most raw sense, is just a women’s football game and – if only that – is inherently fun. Add to that junior and senior guys dancing, jumping and singing on the sidelines in cheerleading uniforms. Now imagine Ted Bauer (COL ’03), Senior Class Committee chair, in a vintage pink prom dress. Already the event is unique, comical and fun. If people just go out, cheer, drink hot chocolate, coffee and cider and eat breads, muffins and pastries the day will be a success. But I will challenge the game to mean more.

With the first annual Traditions Day on the horizon, the football game becomes a new and dynamic tradition. It is a celebration of Georgetown’s tradition, not just of sports, playing and hanging out on the front lawns, but caring for and service to others. Born of the Jesuit philosophy, these are some our school’s strongest and oldest traditions. The junior and senior teams will compete to donate proceeds from raffle ticket sales to the American Diabetes Association and Breast Cancer Awareness, respectively. The winners will donate 60 percent of the money to their charity, and the other charity will receive 40 percent – so that no charity “loses.”

The game will be especially meaningful to students who were friends with, knew or were touched by Sarah McFlynn (COL ’04). Sarah, who would have been a junior this year, died in early August. Sarah’s diabetes severely complicated an abdominal infection that caused her death. Vanessa Wattles (COL ’04), one of Sarah’s good friends and the junior team’s captain, said Sarah would have played in the game and is happy that we can use the game to remember Sarah and donate money to a cause that was significant to her. The seniors chose to donate to Breast Cancer Awareness to honor senior Renee Cherkezian’s (NHS ’03) dedication to this cause on campus. Renee has been working hard since freshman year, initiating Breast Cancer Awareness week, and last year raised $12,000 to donate and bring attention to the cause. The Powder Puff game has further become an opportunity to highlight and identify female student leaders and the passions and causes significant to women. Lastly, the subtext of the game is gender stereotypes. Girls playing football – our brains almost trip over the idea. In this moment when sex-role stereotypes are reversed and suspended, there is an opportunity to explore some of these issues and possibilities.

Women now play equally on all kinds of traditionally male-dominated and defined fields and behaviors. It begs the question: “In catching up with men: What are we catching?” The subtle message of the game is to get women and men to critically reevaluate social norms and the society and culture that shape us and our potential and responsibility to shape it. This may seem like a tall order, but on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Philodemic Room-President’s Office in a faculty panel discussion, this connection between football and women’s leadership will be explored. Women’s Studies Professor Bonnie orris, who teaches “Gender and Athletics,” School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Bette Keltner, NHS Professor astorovich, who teaches “Organizational Leadership and Behavior” and others will explore these issues.

The Powder Puff game will be fun, but it also speaks to our values and offers an opportunity to remember, celebrate and give back. It is a chance for college-age women and men to think about gender roles and stereotypes.

Megan Krug is a junior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

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