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Solving problems with flags and a football

Competition runs high when SU sororities play Powder Puff football for charity.

A wide receiver and cornerback matched glares as the sun set over a vast grass field on a Sunday afternoon. Tension runs high as the crowd chants and cheers as they line the sidelines. One score could end the game as the teams compete in overtime of the championship game.

Amidst all these scenes of a typical football game there is something different. The players on the field are not wearing a helmet and pads, they are wearing flags. The players are not bulky men ready to bring down the opponent at all costs, but rather sorority girls eager to pull a flag off their counterparts.

Photo: Chelsea Thibodeau

The Syracuse University Sorority Powder Puff tournament took place Oct. 11 and 12 at the Skytop Fields on South Campus. Even for the most dedicated of football fans, the form of football that took place over these two days might have seemed unfamiliar.

There was not one tackle made during this tournament. Instead, the play was stopped when a flag was pulled off the waist of a player indicating a tackle. There were no fumbles in this tournament. Once the ball was dropped by a ball carrier, the play was called dead.

The actual playing field itself did not match the average football field. Instead of the vast 100-yard field that many have grown accustom to in American football, these sorority girls were limited to a 50-yard field to compete on.

The battle in the trenches also was not like that of a National Football League game on a Sunday afternoon. Any offensive lineman in this tournament could not extend their arms to push against a rushing defensive lineman. They were only allowed to keep their arms crossed when attempting to defend their quarterback.

The ultimate gain of the tournament was not for personal gain or pay like one might expect in the NFL. This was for charity and the benefit of others as all the proceeds collected from the competing sororities went towards Vera House, an organization whose mission is to put an end to and support those who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.

All these unusual aspects add to the uniqueness of the tournament, but the one constant that carries over from any other football game is the intensity of the players. The tournament is not taken lightly by any of its participants.

Plays are drawn up and strategies are discussed in the days and weeks leading up to the tournament. When the Delta Gamma sorority caught the final pass for a touchdown to win the championship, the release of joy from the team showed, while it may not outwardly seem like it, this is just like any other football game.

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