MARYSVILLE — On Friday, June 28, a group of adult women from Marysville will don helmets and football gear and face off against a team of women from Lakewood for the third-annual Powder Puff football game fundraiser.
The Marysville Charging Tomamamas are mothers of football players from the Marysville Youth Football League and the Lakewood Cougar Mamas are mothers of players from the Lakewood Youth Football Association. They will compete against one another in a game of full-gear, flag football game at Quil Ceda Stadium on Friday, June 28.
“We have been practicing since early May, and we have 21 awesome players,” said Kym Gallo, who is organizing the event for the Charging Tomamamas. “Our youth football league is a feeder program for both the high schools, so we changed our name to reflect that.”
“Each team will earn money for their organization,” said Gallo, who noted that the team played against Lake Stevens on Friday, June 21, for the Vikings first ever Powder Puff game. “This is Lake Stevens’ first year. They contacted us and said they were interested in playing, and finding out what it’s all about and how much money we could make. We kind of wanted to open the door for them and get their first year under their belt so they knew what they were doing for next year. We’ve always played the Lakewood Cougar Mamas. In our first game we came out $5,000 ahead and last year we made $8,000.”
There will be a gate for each team, so that fans can expect their funds to be spent on their association.
“This is a huge fundraiser,” said Gallo. “Us moms go crazy when it’s a fundraiser and we always have a blast. The past two years we’ve actually been able to buy new equipment, and new helmets and shoulder pads for our players.”
“We are hoping that with the extra ticket sales from the Lake Stevens game, we can reach $10,000 total,” said Gallo. “We are just a bunch of crazy moms having fun.”
During halftime, cheerleaders and Dads dressed as cheerleaders perform a show, and this year participants can expect a rousing rendition of the Funky Chicken.
Dawn Taylor, organizer for the Lakewood Cougar Mamas, is hoping to extend their winning streak.
“Last year we had a great fundraising year and we hope that we win again. Lakewood has been undefeated all four years,” she said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking every year to be honest. The Marysville community is quite a bit larger than ours, and has more players to pull from, so that has us training really hard to prepare for each game.”
Whether they win or lose, the Cougar Mamas love their annual Powder Puff game.
“There is something about getting out there and playing,” said Taylor. “From the first practice ever it was an amazing atmosphere. As a mom, having your kids look at you and say, ‘My mom plays football,’ is awesome. There are so many lessons in football that are also life lessons. Every year, I know that if I needed them my team would be there for me off the field. These are women who are flat-out dedicated — to their families and their community — and it’s wonderful to know that whatever you need, they will be there. I can’t imagine not doing it every year. From the time you start practicing, you live and breathe football. The camaraderie that’s built is amazing and there’s something about hitting someone else in pads,” she laughed. “There is something to be said at the end of a stressful day that we can go somewhere and slam into someone and get the stress out.”
Taylor hopes the communities in Lakewood and Marysville will come out on Friday, June 28, to support their local athletes.
“It’s a great night of family fun and it’s affordable — you can get your family in the door for $10,” she said. “It’s inexpensive and it’s for a good cause. It’s a great facility with good, cheap food, and 100 percent of the money raised goes back to the program for these kids and families who can’t afford to play. For me, if you are a person who can’t go out on the field, you are still helping underprivileged families. Two-hundred dollars is a lot of money. If someone has to choose between buying a prescription or milk and letting their child play a sport they love, I hope this helps them rest easier knowing that they don’t have to make that choice.”
Powder Puff football has another intangible benefit for the women who participate as players.
“I used to be so hard on my child, and now, no matter what, I’m like, ‘Good job son.’ You gain a huge respect for your kids,” said Gallo. “If I could be half the football player my son is, I would be really good. And, I think it brings our community together a lot more and you recognize people on the street and say, ‘Hey, you played in that Powder Puff game! We came to watch you.’”
All the players are football moms, mostly in their 40s.
“Our youngest is probably in her early 30s,” said Taylor. “Most of us are in our 40s. We aren’t spring chickens, but we’re tough and determined. That’s one thing that’s really cool when you see the first year mom and they totally know what’s going on in a football game. There’s something really cool about a woman who really understands football. And it’s great because if little girls are inspired by Powder Puff. They can play for our youth organization.”