During the months of January and February it is normal for university football players to be enjoying a well-deserved bit of time off until their training camp commences once more for another season of grueling practice schedules and weekly games.
For a select few players however, these months remain a very important part of their training and OUA season preparation.
When these McMaster football players aren’t spending their season fighting for an OUA title they are using their knowledge and love for the game to give other’s the opportunity to love it too.
That is what Powderpuff football is all about and for Marauder football players like Mike Daly, Tom Sterling, Dahlin Brooks, Aaron Clarke and many others, this is a time for them to step into a new role. The role of a football coach.
With two McMaster tournaments completed, the journey continues for some of the team’s as a win in the first tournament determined if a trip to Laurier University this coming weekend was in the cards.
With a major tournament win for the team of Sterling, Daly and Brooks, they remain one of the select few McMaster team’s packing their bags for Waterloo this weekend in hopes of coming out with a tournament win to end their season on a high note.
As a football player during the months of August through November, many of the Marauder players-turned-coaches know that their love of the game is the reason that brings them back to coach year after year.
Third year offensive linemen Tom Sterling has been coaching Powderpuff football for three years now and loves teaching the concepts to players who remain excited to learn more about the game year after year.
“I’m an offensive line coach and I coach Powderpuff because it’s awesome to see other people who have a passion for football,” said Sterling.
“I love coaching people who are excited to be able to play and the season is always so much fun.”
Sterling also uses his Marauder football playbook as a key tool in drawing up plays for the girls on his team.
“Most of the plays and schemes we draw up as coaches are from our own playbook so it’s a great refresher during the offseason,” Sterling added.
With each coach bringing something new to the table, their roles remain important in shaping the outcome of the season as well as their ability to not only show their understanding for the game but to find a way to teach other’s about it as well.
Fifth year Marauder football player Dahlin Brooks takes his role very seriously and ensures that each player is given a fair chance to play.
“My responsibilities are to come up with practice plans, assess player skills and try to find a position that fits their skill set. I’m also responsible for teaching the girls the basics of flag football and implementing an efficient offense that they can understand and succeed with,” said Brooks, explaining that he does this in various ways which include practices and ‘chalk talks’.
Brooks describes that it is his love for the game, the opportunity to share ideas and concepts and the chance to meet new people that kept him coming back to coach for five years.
“I love the game and I feel I have a lot of cool ideas and concepts to bring to an offense and Powderpuff is a way I can see my ideas come to life,” said Brooks.
They always say winning isn’t everything and in the case of Powderpuff, this remains important in order to ensure the value of learning and teamwork is not overshadowed.
“I like winning a lot but the most rewarding thing is seeing something we worked on in practice executed perfectly. Not necessarily anything big, it can be as simple as keeping your head forward while running patterns,” said Brooks.
“Any little improvement I see in the girls is what I enjoy the most. When we succeed as a team they’re all so happy and I love the camaraderie and support these girls have for each other.”
Teamwork will always be the glue that holds any sport together, and Powderpuff football is nothing short of that kind of a sport.
The concept of teamwork and the notable determination coaches and players put forth is something that could keep any young female Marauder coming back for another season despite the brutal temperatures and icy conditions.
There is no better feeling than being a part of something. A part of a team, and for Marauder football players, there is no better feeling than finishing a season knowing they have taught their team something, whether that would be running routes or simply how to be a team player.
In the end it all counts for something.