she liked it or not, Tynnetta
Rasheed always seemed to end up
in a leadership position in her
athletic pursuits. And, quite
frankly, by the time she graduated
from college, she just wanted
to hit someone.
Rasheedhad always been a football
fan, watching televised games
"like there's no tomorrow,"
and when she wasn't on the hardwood
as a point guard for the Iowa
State Cyclones, she played intramural
flag football intramurals. But
while she had the athletic skill
and competitor's spirit to tackle
the real deal, "actually
going out and hitting someone;
I didn't think that would be a
Think again, said friend and
fellow athlete Diane Goldsbury.
Since the establishment of the
Des Moines Courage in 2004, Iowa
has been home to, not just the
Cyclones and the Hawkeyes, but
the Independent Women's Football
League. And last year Rasheed
eagerly took on a new leadership
Having savored the adrenaline
of scoring the first touchdown
in her first dominating game in
2005, Rasheed will be back in
the pocket this year. But 2006
marks a new phase for local women's
football, with the Des Moines
Courage giving way to the Iowa
Crush, a team with fresh management,
a new name and an updated logo.
And, with the season's start just
three months away, they're looking
for a few good women to shore
up a team, that Rasheed says,
is going to "open some eyes"
in the IWFL this year.
But those with anything less
than a passion for the game need
not apply. Rasheed says her commitment
to the team is akin to a full-time
job, but she isn't paid. The team
does have spaghetti dinners and
beer busts to raise money, Goldsbury
says, but many players cover their
own costs for gear and travel.
Rasheed even pays out of pocket
for twice weekly physical therapy
sessions to ensure she's 100 percent
after a late hit last season left
its mark for most of 2005. But
while team members may take a
hit to their pocketbooks, the
chance to play unfettered football
"You go through all kinds
of emotions really, from ecstatic
over a good play to dragging your
ass back to the bench after a
missed tackle," Goldsbury
says of the team's eight regular
season games. "But there's
also a sense of you've got 40
of your best friends out there
and the goal is to beat this other
Of course, these are best friends
who expect you to show up on Saturday
morning and bust your butt for
four hours so they're sure you've
got their back once they take
the field. As Goldsbury points
out, their team may be diverse
- from professionals to bowling
alley owners, from college student
to teachers - but a dedication
to grid-iron physical fitness
is a quality they all share. For
Goldsbury, who trains on a near-daily
basis, it's all about strength
and stamina. You don't want to
start dragging in the fourth quarter,
she says, and "you don't
want to be pushed around, you
want to be the pusher."
"When you're putting on
the pads you have a sense of armor
around you, a sense of durability,"
she says. "But really, in
this game, you have to have an
aggressive attitude, you have
to tell yourself you're going
to put the hit on someone. You
have to have that mindset."
And don't think for one second
that mindset is clouded with sugar
and spice. The women's game is
absolutely identical to the men's
game; same rules, same plays,
same take-no-prisoners approach.
"Girls can get down,"
Goldsbury says. "There's
some trash talking out there."
Especially when they take the
field against Detroit. Because,
well, "those girls play dirty,"
So while Goldsbury says many
come to their first women's football
game out of out of sheer "you're
kidding" curiosity, it's
the athleticism and excitement
that bring them back for more.
The Crush may not have NFL trainers
like the ladies in pro-football
towns like league-leading Chicago,
but these women aren't overly
concerned about standings anyway.
They're more interested in getting
their fair share and proving that
the ability to score a touchdown
has nothing to do with testosterone.
"It's just fun getting
out there and doing what women
haven't been allowed to do, what
we should have started a long
time ago," Goldsbury says.
"Why keep it a right to the
boys?" - Carolyn Szezepanski
To become a Crush player, contact
Jackie Ward at 515.271.5571 or
For a game schedule and other
information, visit iowacrush.com.
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