Winning a national championship is the dream of every sports team. For the St. Louis SLAM, that high water mark came in 2009. But for the women on this football team, it’s still a struggle to get recognition and support in their hometown.
Listen to the Voices of St. Louis feature on the St. Louis SLAM:
The SLAM–part of the Women’s Football Alliance–has been around for a decade. The women are passionate about their teammates and the game. They practice at Ladue High School and play home games at Oakville High. To keep the team going year to year, each player must raise money and try to bring in sponsors. Since no one gets paid, there’s a day job to deal with as well.
Coach Quincy Davis says the women in many ways are easier to coach than men, because they know they don’t know a lot about playing the game. They didn’t have the advantage of playing Pop Warner and high school and college ball, so they don’t have the ego or think they’re better than they really are. Even the most ardent football fans on the team say there’s a big difference between watching the game and playing.
That said, the fans in the stands are impressed with the performance. Some female fans say it’s really entertaining and different. Some male fans say these women really hit, and hit hard! Emily Strong, who is on the disabled list this season, tells me that when people question them (“Is it PowerPuff? Is it lingerie? Is it flag football?”) she just tells them, “Come see a game. See if for yourself. And then they’re hooked.”
Special thanks to Dave King for his production skills and Michael Calhoun for additional audio!