Pablo’s Got a New Sport

An in-depth story of Pablo’s new favorite sport, girls flag football. Written by Rae Willridge and Leah Douglas

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Credits: Jamie Neilson

     Girls flag football is burning up the field with an aggressive determination to win, with both Varsity and JV representing our school and making Pablo proud. From an undersized club to a booming new sport, the girls flag football team has been welcomed into the inferno. 

     As a new CIF sport, the girls flag football team is dominating the competition with a score of 18-7 at the last varsity game against Aliso Niguel High School. They have currently played 7 league games with varying outcomes. The girls really have proved that with enough effort anything is possible. 

     With 15 girls on varsity and 13 on JV, the team has made bonds that are unbreakable. Leah Vanderveen, a freshman on JV, said it best when she stated, “The whole team is so nice and uplifting on and off the field. The girls that played last year are so welcoming to all of the new players.”

     The team considers team bonding very important. They regularly have lunch together and when the weather is nice they go swimming. During away games on the bus they blast music and have a good time. Through these fun activities they have grown together and have become more like a family than a team. 

     The team started playing as a club two years ago but this year is its official debut to being a certified school sport. In past years the team was small and had inconsistent practices a couple of times a week. Now, with a consistent practice schedule and two full teams, the team has done an incredible job growing and recruiting more members. 

     Katie Neilson was one of the first original players and has since become captain of the varsity team. She has watched this team grow since the start and has fought hard for it to become an official sport. Neilson stated in an interview, “It’s so nice to finally wear the Mission jersey after two years of flag football being a club.” Neilson also mentioned how much she loves her team and the sport she plays.

     Flag football has had an incredible impact on many of the girls on and off the field. Avin Mohammadi, a freshman on JV, states, “It’s all like we’re one big family.” So many girls use this sport as a home away from home. Flag football is a place where many of the girls are able to escape their life and get lost in running plays and scoring touchdowns. It’s incredible that it is  finally getting

 the recognition it deserves. Especially since people view it as “scary” or “aggressive”. 

     Yes, the sport can be aggressive, but as Geneva Bjornstad, a junior on JV, explains, “I wish people understood that girls flag football is much different than boys tackle football. So there are different rules and regulations.” And Vanderveen says, “I wish people understood that even though it has football in its name it is definitely not as aggressive as tackle football. And I think if more people knew this a lot more girls would be playing.”. They all state that flag football is not as scary as people make it sound and more girls would have a blast if they joined!

     Flag football has positively impacted all of their lives and even people before them. Vanderveen explained, “My mom inspired me to join because she played in high school! And she balled out!” People have so much to share about the impact and importance of flag football and how wonderful it is. If people would just listen or even do research maybe it wouldn’t be as scary as they think. 

     These girls are so incredibly dedicated to flag football and will continue to improve and grow together. They will continue to destroy their biggest rival Trabuco High School and win. The players have become like a second family to one another and they will continue burning up the football field today, tomorrow, and for many more years to come.