West Ottawa needs to bring back girls powderpuff football

Lily Taylor

Picture taken after this year’s powderpuff events.

Students hate the first day of school, but they love homecoming week. 

   Homecoming football games, spirit days, and powderpuff are all traditions that make homecoming week fun. Girls powderpuff football is something that has been around for decades. It is a tradition that many people look forward to. Recently West Ottawa High School has discontinued girls powderpuff football, replacing it with dodgeball. This decision has led to fewer people participating in powderpuff and overall less excitement and spirit for homecoming week.  

  The decision to end girls powderpuff football has left numerous students frustrated and overall not willing to participate in powderpuff. In a survey sent out to West Ottawa females, twenty-five students said that we should bring back powderpuff football. Similarly, twenty students said they would be more likely to participate in powderpuff if it was football instead of dodgeball. So if the students miss powderpuff football, why do we do dodgeball instead? Senate advisor Cathy  Engel explains that there are two reasons football left. “We saw a lot of students getting hurt and a lot of coaches did not want their athletes playing because they didn’t want them to get hurt and then damage their season. Reason two, no one came. We don’t really like to put on events that no one comes to because they are all fundraisers, so that limits what a class can make financially.” 

  With a game like football, injuries may be inevitable. But, there are many safety precautions that can be taken to ensure that students will not get injured and ruin their own sports season. Implementing more practice times before the game so players get used to the game can reduce the risk of injury. Stratford High School has all of their participants wear mouth guards and instead of flags, a one-hand touch shows whether a player is tagged or not. If other schools work around injuries for powderpuff, West Ottawa can too. 

  As for interest, there are new students at West Ottawa every single year. It has been four years since powderpuff football has been a part of homecoming week. That means there is a completely different group of kids at the high school. Just because one group of kids may have not been interested, does not mean it will always stay this way. Interests and participation changes throughout the different years. 

 Not only does a survey prove the interest in football, but also students themselves. Sr. Ella Bently says, “Bring back football. Not many people watch dodgeball, and personally, I think it’s boring compared to football. I know I would have done it if it was football.” Similarly, Sr. Elaina Dishinger says, “I think they should bring back football because a lot of other schools have football. I feel like more people would be interested in participating and they would have a better turnout if it was football. Plus, it makes more sense than dodgeball because the boys would coach us for football which they play. Like how the volleyball players coach the guys who play volleyball.“ 

  People who have participated in powderpuff football in the past also prove how much fun this event is. Soph. Josie Nelson from Holland Christian is participating in her school’s powderpuff football this year, “I am on the powder puff team and it is really fun. Everyone gets really excited and hype for it at our school.” Similarly, graduates from West Ottawa High School reflect on the fun memories powderpuff football brought them, “Powderpuff was always such a fun time and an amazing memory from high school.” Powderpuff football brings people together and is something people look forward to. It is a tradition that should not be thrown away so easily. 

  But not all hope is lost for powderpuff football. Mrs Engel says, “Nothing is ever off the table. It just takes knowing we have student interest, with enough time to plan the event. If you come to your administrators, your class advisors and say, hey we are really interested in this, then we can start putting that together but we also need time to do that.” It is clear there is a lot of interest in bringing back powderpuff football, all that’s needed is a group of interested students to come forward. Bringing back powderpuff football will implement a new excitement and spirit into West Ottawa’s homecoming week.