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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: Football is for the girls too

Zaria+Flippin
Sia DeyKoontz
Zaria Flippin

On Feb. 14, 2024, the Illinois High School Association announced that girls flag football will be officially accounted for as a sport in the state of Illinois.

Illinois is now the ninth state that is recognizing girls flag football as a high school sport along with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and New York.

I feel like this shows how the movement of women in sports is continuing to evolve over time. With the rise of girls playing flag football, especially in the city of Chicago, I think this was a very smart move to let girls flag football join the list of IHSA sports.

The release made by the IHSA continues on to say that the inaugural IHSA Girls Flag Football State Finals is scheduled to take place on Oct. 18-19 in 2024.

As a woman who absolutely loved playing flag football in elementary school during physical education classes, I was ecstatic to find out the sport will be recognized in the state of Illinois.

If girls flag football was offered while I was in high school, I already know I’d be the best running back for my high school.

One of the many reasons why I’m overjoyed with this decision by the IHSA and the other states that have accepted girls flag football as a high school sport is the fact that the sport of flag football as a whole is evolving.

In 2028, flag football will join the Olympic roster.

I think the addition of this sport as an official high school sport is a big step for high school athletes. It will allow them to show their talents and craft to possibly get recruited to join the Olympic team.

There are four years for high schoolers to show their abilities on the field to have the chance to play in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

If you actually take the time to sit down and watch what these high school girls are doing when they play flag football, I believe you’d be very impressed.

I don’t think people truly understand how much talent it takes to play football, and I also don’t think people believe that flag football is a hard and intense sport.

Although there is less physical contact in the sport of flag football, the players still need to learn how to be physical on the field.

Another reason why I’m happy with this choice is that it shows a side of women where they aren’t sexualized while they’re playing the sport.

Lingerie football has been something that I could never fully understand. Yes, these women are incredibly athletic, but why do the uniforms consist of a bra and booty shorts?

The answer? Sex. Sells.

I’ve never been a fan of that motto, but in all honestly, it is just the reality we live in. There really isn’t a lot that we can change about that.

With the addition of girls flag football as a high school sport, you don’t see lingerie as their uniforms, but you see an actual uniform: jerseys that aren’t cropped and aren’t see through, shorts that don’t stop to where the thigh starts.

Girls flag football is showing that girls shouldn’t have to be sexualized in order to prove themselves. They put on their jerseys and helmets and show their talent and craft on the field, not on their bodies.

With all this being said, this proposes a statement and a question to think about in the future.

The statement: Football is not just for the men; it is for the girls too. With the evolution of girls flag football in the nation, high school girls are really setting the tone on how girls can do anything guys can do, maybe even better.

The question: With the evolution of girls flag football, is there a possibility that we will be seeing an NCAA approved collegiate women’s flag football program in the future?

 

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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