Jasslyn Ray, founder of the Women’s Flag Football Intramural League at Grambling State, is proud to say, “Football is not just a male sport. Women can play too.”
Earlier this fall, Ray saw signs posted in the GSU Intramural Center for participants to sign up for flag football.
She signed up along with a few other young ladies.
However, there were not enough women to make a flag football team.
The ladies who signed up for the team were told they would have to play with the guys’
intramural league. Ray then decided she would find enough women interested in participating in flag football.
She was successful in her search and formed a three-team league.
While trying to organize and have practice, these gridiron warriors encountered hardship.
Many of the male flag football players did not give them respect.
And when it was time for the men to practice, they wanted the women’s league to immediately end practice and get off the field.
“They took us for a joke,” Ray said.
Despite the negativity and lack of respect received from outsiders, the women’s teams came together and enjoyed a great season of flag football.
Why do the participating young ladies like flag football?
“It is an exercise I can do outside of regular exercise such as running or working out,” said Ayana Ray, a junior at GSU and sister to the league’s founder.
“I got to meet many great people, and it was so much fun.”
Junior Bridgett Lard said, “The sport was something new, and I never thought about playing it until I was asked and decided it would be fun to try.”
Ladonna Williams, a sophomore at GSU, said agreeing to play was merely an extension of how she feels about the sport. “I always loved the game of football, and it was so fun to play.”
Sophomore Sequoia Burdine agreed with her fellow players.
“Flag football is entertaining, a great workout, and I have fun playing,” she said.
Ayana Ray described the highlight of the season as “practicing and learning new plays.”
“Football is hard to play” despite the fun she had, Ayana Ray said.
Bridgett Lard said the best moment of the season for her was “when I caught my interception.”
One of the best moments of the season was when they went to Nichols State University to play with Louisiana Tech University, said Ladonna Williams.
“It was an awesome experience even though we lost,” she said.
“Winning the last game of our season to go and compete in state,” Burdine said.
But with every high point comes low points.
The worst moment of the season for Ayana Ray?
“Losing, because we practiced a lot, Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 5 p.m. until late night.”
Ladonna Williams said the team’s loss to Louisiana Tech in double overtime at the state playoffs was the worst part of the season.
Burdine was more specific about the season’s low point. “When we got to Nichols State, one of the best runners on the team hurt her leg during the first play, ” she said.
Many of the young ladies were able to gain from this experience knowledge of the game of football, new friendships, and respect from many spectators.
Anyone interested in flag football next fall is encouraged to sign up.