The powderpuff touch football game, the annual matchup between the junior and senior girls, has been cancelled this year due to injuries sustained and a flood of complaints of unnecessary roughness and aggression in recent years.
Last year when the classes faced off, two girls collided on the field in the first quarter, and one of them, Sonya Martel, had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance with a neck injury. For safety reasons, it was decided that the game would be cut short: it ended at the conclusion of the first quarter.
In addition to physical roughness, the game has also been plagued with negative comments and bad sportsmanship. Some players felt that the tone was upsetting and said that that took away from what should have been a friendly rivalry. Some felt it was so extreme that they expressed reluctance to compete in the future. These sentiments ultimately lead to the discontinuation of the tradition.
But the powderpuff game has not always been a negative experience and in past years, students have enjoyed the sense of camaraderie and bonding during the pre-game activities: making t-shirts, creating catchy chants, and in the end, playing touch football under the lights on the football field in front of packed bleachers.
Many students feel that the aggressiveness would not have been an issue this year, nor will it be in years to come.
Senior Marin Churns felt that last year's injury was an isolated incident. “I think everyone was scared when Sonya was taken off in the ambulance,” she said, adding that in the future, “precautions...should be taken so no one gets hurt.”
Many juniors were upset and frustrated over the announcement that the traditional powderpuff game would be discontinued. Having watched classes compete throughout their high school and middle school years, many were eager for the chance to partake in such a right of passage.
Junior class officer Abby Taaffe had her own ideas about altering the rules of the game to make it safe and infuse the fun back into the competition. “Student athletes should be the ones allowed to play powderpuff, because they’re trained for not only athletics, but have the endurance and skill to protect or deal with injury,” she said.
It was also suggested that participating students and their parents review and sign a waiver or health form which would protect the school from liability. Both ideas of limiting participation to athletes and requiring a waiver have gotten positive feedback from the student body. While there was no powderpuff game this year, the hope is that it will be reinstated as a safer, more friendly tradition for future classes to enjoy.