On a warm, blue skied Thursday night, a group of moms are sweating under football helmets and shoulder pads behind Lakewood High School in Arlington.
“We play full gear, full contact flag football,” says Sarah Kummer. “So the only person that doesn’t get tackled is the ball carrier.”
This is Sarah’s second year playing Powder Puff football for the Lakewood Cougar Mamas.
“I am a tight end on offense and a cornerback on defense.”
But it’s her first time ever playing a sport.
“The very first play that we practiced they said, ‘Kummer! Get on the line of scrimmage!’ And I was like, ‘Is that the blue line? The yellow line? I don’t know where I’m supposed to stand!'”
Player, and 42 year old mom of four, Dawn Taylor, says the team was formed five years ago when they noticed that more and more kids needed football and cheerleading scholarships at school. The Powder Puff game was hatched as a fundraiser for Lakewood Youth Football Athletic Association and Marysville Youth Football League.
“It really became an issue when the economy went down,” explains Dawn. “It is expensive, especially if you have multiple kids. To other people, they have to decide, am I going to pick up my prescription or am I going to let me kid play a sport. For a family to have to ask for help, sometimes it takes a lot. The fact that we don’t have to turn anyone away is just amazing.”
Every player on the team is a mom and each year, the game has raised about $10,000 for sports scholarships. And this Friday night they’ll be back under the lights for a game they take very seriously. They practice for ten weeks, starting in April, at first three nights a week and then five nights a week, two hours each practice.
“Probably for about two months leading up to the game, I have a hard time thinking of anything but this,” says Dawn. “You dream about it. You run plays in your head. After the game you think about all the things you did wrong or you could have done, or you think you could have done. Besides the day I got married, and when I had my kids, game night is the best night of my life.”
Dawn says she played Powder Puff once in high school, but it was not nearly as intense as this.
“I think when people think Powder Puff or flag football, and the fact that we’re kind of old, you know, we are moms. But it’s aggressive. We have had broken bones every year, we have had surgeries every year. The moms really just come out and give their all for one night and it’s amazing.”
Sarah and Dawn like showing their kids that football doesn’t have to be just for the boys.
“That’s definitely a huge reason for me to play,” Sarah says. “I want my girls to see that they can do whatever they want. But they don’t have to. You don’t have to play football. But you can.”
“My kids love it,” says Dawn. “They absolutely love it. Especially my boys, I think. This is our fifth year and one of the things I tell the moms when I’m trying to get them into it: I feel like the boys look at you differently. Like, ‘Dude, that’s my mom. My mom plays football.’ It’s really cool.”
The Big Game is this Friday at Marysville Pilchuck High School at 7 o’clock. Tickets are $5 each or $10 for a family, and you can watch as the Lakewood Cougars take on the Marysville Tomamamas.
“This will be our fifth game and we’ve never lost,” Sarah says, proudly. “No jinxing though.”