Let’s teach everyone about football

As the highly-anticipated college football season rolls around, fans are excited to see their favorite team utterly destroy their opponent.

As for me, I’m excited to feel the crisp autumn air, stroll in the grove with my sorority sisters, walk in Malone Stadium and wear my super cute heels to the football game.

Although I’ve lived in the south my entire life, the kingdom of good old American football, I am completely clueless as to how the popular sport is played. Sometimes, I don’t know the difference between a touchdown and a field-goal kick.

Unfortunately, I am a part of the stereotypical belief that women do not understand football. This belief does not speak for everyone though. Have we ever considered that men may be just as confused or clueless about football and women may be first-down geniuses. I don’t think we have ever thought about that.

Last week, ULM hosted a Women’s 101 football clinic that aimed to teach women the basics of the game. The clinic featured a Q and A with head football coach, Coach Matt Viator and his wife, Schantel Viator. Then, the event moved onto a session that broke down the offensive and defensive sides of the game, followed by a fashion show. 

I understand what the athletic department was trying to do for the  females of the university, but I do believe the university missed out on a great opportunity to bridge the gap between men and women regarding football.

Let’s put both on an equal playing field.

In America, we assume that men live, breathe and eat the game. But, we have to realize that there are many cultures living in this melting pot, and they may not know the game at all; this includes men and women.

For example, an international student may not understand what football is because their version of football is “fútbol”, which is American soccer.

Throughout the entire clinic, it was emphasized that women make up over 67% of the campus population. So, they felt as if this would be a great way to celebrate women and include them in sporting events.

But, we have to remember there are entire women’s football leagues out there. As a matter of fact, there are three 11-on-11 full contact women’s amateur leagues in the U.S. and they’re not the powderpuff teams we see most girls (including me) played in high school.

They are fully padded and they play the game as if they are members of the NFL.   Teen girls are now playing on their respective high school football teams and women have high coaching positions in the NFL.

Making the event just about connecting with a woman’s husband or boyfriend through football and including a fashion show at the end is kind of demeaning. Women know more than what the world thinks we know.

Now, I totally agree with making some events exclusively for women. But, we can’t assume that all women don’t know football, and we cannot assume that all males know football.

To avoid this, I believe  in  the future we should maybe change the name and call it “Warhawks 101 Football Clinic.”

This name change would include men and women interested in learning the Warhawk football experience.

Diversity and inclusion is strongly emphasized on this campus, and we should honor that unique aspect by having more events that encourage men and women to interact with each other equally.