IWFL: Dallas Diamonds vs Houston Energy

5 04 2010

Dallas Diamonds defend against the Houston Energy

Way back in November 2010, I discovered women’s professional football. And when I did, I wrote, in part,

As I am childless by choice, I can only empathize with how my would-be daughter might thrive in the world today. My hope, if I were a parent, and I do hope this for your daughters presently, is that if she wanted to play any sport you can name, that opportunity exists. And if it didn’t, that people would recognize and fill the void. I hope that if she asks, “teach me how to play,” she will learn. I hope that if she says, “I want to be on the team,” she will be welcomed aboard. I hope that if she says, “I want to do my best,” there will be mentors, team-mates, friends, teachers, coaches, and most importantly, her parents to help her realize that potential.

For those of you who didn’t think that football was an option for you or a female loved one, I can tell you first-hand that indeed, it is. And you don’t have to take it from me.

My prior article concerning women’s football was inspired by the discovery of the Women’s Football Alliance. As fate would have it, there is more than one women’s professional football league. The Dallas Diamonds are the local team with the IWFL.

As seen in the above photo, IWFL football is full contact, real football. The uniforms match. There are coaches and coordinators. The players block, pass, tackle, run, and kick like any serious football player. The only discernible difference, besides the Dallas Diamonds being a not-for-profit organization and highly reliant on volunteers both on and off the field, is that the players are female.

What warmed my heart, as I sat in the second row of Pennington Field in Bedford, Texas this past Saturday night was hearing the crowd buy in to the concept of women’s professional football. I heard excited football fans. I heard comments like “throw it to her… that’s a mismatch all day long!” or “she’s easy to tackle… but tough to catch!” One young woman in the front row told her family that she wanted every scrap of Dallas Diamonds fan wear to show her support everywhere and anywhere. I saw young boys wearing Dallas Diamonds shirts. I saw men, young and old, cheer for women’s football.

I don’t say this to mean that the IWFL, the Dallas Diamonds, or any female athletes require male buy-in and approval to be successful. I point these things up to note that even toiling in relative obscurity, the Diamonds have worked hard to deliver real football action. Football is religion in Texas. If Texans are lining up to see your games and wear your gear, you’re legit. The Diamonds, without question, are legit.

Unfortunately, my camera is still hard to master so I have a folder full of blurry photos. My “word pictures” will have to suffice until the next game.

The Houston Energy certainly seemed formidable during the pre-game warmups but never really established much of a rhythm on offense. The one weak area on the Dallas side was the punting game. I mean, it looked like I was punting. We’re talking pray it goes 10 yards punting. The stadium announcer claimed more than one punt was blocked by Houston but all I know is the ball twirled end over end a lot, every time. Like I said, this is a volunteer army and it’s not going to be a ringer for NFL games. On the up side, Dallas played tough defense and rarely if ever committed my personal pet peeve, tacking from behind so the ball carrier gets extra yards.

The purple and black uniforms of Dallas made me think of the games I attended at Northwestern University, and Houston’s red and white looked similar to Indiana. If I could make an improvement to the “official” atmosphere I’d like the stadium announcer to pump up the crowd similar to Northwestern’s stadium announcer and conclude the play commentary with an emphatic “FIRST AND TEN Dallas on the [opponent’s yard line]!” As it stands right now there is a squad of junior (we’re talking 10 years and under) cheerleaders and two “atmosphere” generators in the stands, leading chants and beating a purple bucket in lieu of a drum. Which, I have to add is really clever and added to the “DIY” atmosphere of the event.

Dallas creamed Houston 34-12. The next home game is against the Minnesota Vixen on Saturday, April 24. I’m going to try and organize a van load of new fans but either way, I’ll be there. I’m officially a season ticket holder.

Which brings me to a final point: Once again, the Dallas Diamonds represent an excellent family friendly entertainment value. Smoking and alcohol are not allowed at the game because the stadium is school district property. That put a crimp on tailgating but I saw a wide range of fans having a good time and cheering on the Diamonds. Bedford is on the other side of the DFW Airport relative to Plano, which hurt at the gas pump, but it was worth the drive and the stadium was comfortable. If you’re missing real football action and want to cheer on a Dallas-area team while you’re waiting for college and pro football to start back up again, come check out the Dallas Diamonds. And bring a friend!

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