Save girls' 12x12 contact Flag Football

For the past 50 years, the Sudbury District has been a trend setter in providing a sport (flag football) that offers a unique opportunity for high school girls to participate in, that has traditionally been a "boys only" sport.

It is estimated that approximately 500 girls participate on Flag Football teams in this district each year. While many of these girls are endowed with exceptional athletic ability, many are not. These are the girls that, if not for Flag Football, would not participate in any high school activities. Flag Football gives these girls a sense of belonging, not only to the team, but to their school. It helps them develop confidence and a sense of well-being and pride. This in turn often provides incentive to attend school and work harder in their studies.

If Sudbury was to abandon our current 12x12 system of Flag Football (and perhaps switch to the 7x7 system), it would mean that approximately 300 girls would no longer be able to participate in Flag Football. It is for these girls that we want to save our 12x12 contact Flag Football. With the success of the Toronto District School Board in mind, (who will permit the 12x12 girls season to continue) we hope to share in their accomplishment.

The following messages are from players of the Sudbury region, who would like to explain to you what Flag Football means to them:

• "Flag football was my first sport to join in high school. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people and discover hidden talents I have. It makes me feel a part of a big family." -Getty Mandu, Offensive line player

• "Flag football is a sport that needs different body types. I believe it's important to play sports, as it builds character, confidence and pride. If the game we're to change, we would be letting go of more then half my team mates. This is a sport that I and others enjoy because of it's diversity." -Emelie Côté, Offensive line player

• "This sport gave me the opportunity to become stronger both physically and mentally. It gives girls the chance to prove that them too can play a high intensity, fast pace, physical and quick problem solving sport. If we changed the rules to the 7x7 system without contact, it would feel like we are part of a smaller family since there would be less girls playing. This sport is for any body type and physical strength therefore some girls wouldn't feel like they belong and wouldn't be motivated to play. Also as a running back, if there wasn't any contact, there wouldn't be any challenges for me to make a touch down since the O line is there to protect me.'' -Jenelle St-Jean, Running Back

• "I want flag football next year because it's something that has been apart of our schools for a very long time and has always been one of my favourite sports to play because we are all just one big family and it brought me a lot closer to many of my class mates from all grades and I think we'd all be very upset if we lost it" -Anonymous, Safety

• "Flag football isn't just about winning, or the sport itself. It's about the bonds that are created on the team. Everyone has to work together as a unit, and that's how you win. I have made the best memories being apart of my flag football team. I wouldn't trade it for anything else." -Kayla Yitts, Offensive line player

• "My name is Sarah Muscolino and i'm a second year flag football player at Marymount. My position switched between every single position on the offensive line, so obviously, the lines are important to me. If Flag Football was to switch from 12x12 to 7x7, my position(s) would be annihilated and I would most likely no longer be able to play because I wouldn't have a position due to the fact that my skill levels needed in order to play a running/passing game, aren't as top notch as they would need to be. I can say this for myself, and a few other girls on my team as well : 12x12 flag football has given my team and I's success for multiple years and it would be absolutely heartbreaking to give it up at the drop of a hat" -Sarah Muscolino, Offensive line player

• "Flag football allows us as young high school females to escape the reality's of life. Not only does it help us grow as individuals, but it encourages the important values in life like determination, teamwork and most importantly, finding a passion. Taking away the normal formats of flag football would mean taking away dozens of opportunities for girls to play high school sports. Flag football may be the only sport these girls participate in and having a team to lean on is very important to have, especially during times of stress" -Anonymous

• "I've been on the flag football team for 3 years now. Next year will be my senior year and last season. I can't express how much I love this game. I have had an undefeated career and would love to attempt another championship win next year. I have made so many new friends younger than me and older than me and I can thank flag football for that. We know the risks when we play this game, injuries happen in every sport, flag is no different, we follow the rules, we don't hurt anyone on purpose. Don't take the sport we know, love, and respect away from us." - Jade Davies, Offensive line player

• "Flag Football means a lot to every school. Being a big team means anyone can play whether you have skill or not. In grade 9 it is hard to fit in at first and get the hang of the school and your peers, but joining the team allows you to meet the older girls and feel more comfortable in the school. In football, there are many different positions for many different types of athletes. If you don't like running but you're strong, you can block! If you like catching, wide receiver or tight end! Can't block but want to be a big deal? Center! Can't run but sure can throw? Quarterback! There is a position for all. Many Flag Football players from Sudbury can agree, when we are on the field we are competitive but off the field we laugh about the memories we've made on the field." - Miranda gray, tight end

• "I want flag football to happen next year. This was my first year and I think it's the best thing ever! Although this game challenges me physically, I love it. I also love the family aspect of our team (which has 25+ members). The coaches have been nagging me since grade 9 to play and I don't know why I hesitated until this year. I really want other people to experience the family aspect of flag football and the experience of the game. If it goes to 7x7 there will be less people able to try it out and unfortunately, every o and d line players blocking skills, including mine, would not have a place on the team." -Angelina Lam, right tackle and defensive line

• "Ever since I was a little sports have been my passion. When I'm on the Football field, it's my happy place, it gives me confidence, I can let go of my stresses and it's truly my happy place. When I play this sport, it brings out the best in me because it's what I feel I am the best at. If we play 7x7 we lose most of our family because 12x12 gives ALL girls the opportunity to perform their skills. I do play this sport for me, but mainly I play for my team because we have an amazing bond. Flag Football is where girls show what they can really do and prove they deserve to be on that field. We already don't have equipment and rules like men's football, so why take away the closest thing we have to real football? Contact is what makes football the sport it is today. Us girls know that Flag football will never be the same if we change the entire game to 7x7. -Sierra Landry, Offensive line player

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