Fall weather brings Powder-puff football to Balad
Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Football season is well underway and the cheers and roars on Friday and Saturday nights at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, belong to the women.
The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soulja Girlz is one of 10 Powder Puff football teams that play twice a week at JBB.
Spc. Chanell Shropshire, supply clerk with the 13th SC(E) and a Jacksonville, Fla., native, said she and Cpl. Mariah L. Robins put the team together.
“We sent out a mass e-mail for anyone in the 13th SC(E) that wants to play,” said Shropshire. “If someone doesn’t have a team, they can play with us or any of the other teams as well.”
She said civilians are also allowed on the teams.
Shropshire said it is too late to sign up now, but another season may be in the works due to the success and positive response to this year’s season.
According to JBB’s flag football Web site, the rules follow the general guidelines of flag football. It is designed to be a game of speed, skill, ability and cunning, not a physical, pounding or pushing game. Good sportsmanship and fair play is of utmost importance and should be exercised at all times, said the site.
Shropshire said she enjoys the games because they relieve stress.
“This gives females an opportunity to play and it is something different than the usual female sports they offer here,” said Shropshire.
She said she believes this is the first powder puff football season here.
Robins, a supply specialist with the 13th SC(E) and a New Iberia, La., native, said the experience has been good for her so far. She said on her last deployment, she did not play any sports.
“Lots of companies in the past did not participate and there was really nothing else to play besides basketball for females,” she said. “I’ve seen them try to get flag football for females going before and this time they actually stuck with it.
“This is something different to get our minds off of all the stresses at work and it’s also a chance to meet new people from the other units as well.”
Robins said sometimes the games get competitive.
“I think we need a little bit of that on the field,” she said. “It makes it exciting and adds to the game. Overall, everybody out here shows good sportsmanship.”
The main reason they are out there is to have a good time, Robins said.
“I am happy that people are coming out here to support us,” she said. “We have gotten some unexpected visitors and I hope more people come out to support us in the future.”
The Soulja Girlz, the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)’s powder puff football team, set out to defend the opponent’s passing attack, during the game Nov. 14 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.