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Locker Room

Girls of the gridiron

10/22/2014

The Iowa Crush will hold tryouts on Oct. 25.

The Iowa Crush will hold tryouts on Oct. 25.

The NFL is now entering its eighth week, and it seems virtually everyone has caught football fever by now. Sure, some just have a side comment or an anecdote about particular players, but others live and die by their team.

But don’t worry; there is a cure, and it’s simple: Work out your emotional ups and downs by actually playing the sport — if you’re a woman, that is.

“We’re trying to really build our team, and we’re looking for anybody and everybody who loves the game, is over 18 years old, energetic and wants to take their aggressions out on the field,” said Iowa Crush owner and quarterback Jen McIntire. “It’s pretty hardcore.”

This weekend, female football fans are encouraged to come out and test their chops on the gridiron as the Iowa Crush women’s football team hold its open tryouts at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, 625 S. 35th St. in West Des Moines. But those who think this is a recreation league are in for a rude awakening.

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“It’s interesting to see the people who come out. I think that they’re kind of surprised because they don’t exactly know what they’re getting themselves into,” McIntire said. “Our players are very passionate, and we take this very seriously. Most don’t realize this team is a huge time commitment.”

But their passion for the game shouldn’t deter anyone considering coming out. McIntire knows that, unlike guys, many women don’t have the same experience and exposure to the sport. But that’s what practice is for.

“It’s pretty incredible how quickly I’ve seen new players learn the game. These girls soak it up like sponges,” said McIntire. “The intensity and skill is there.”

If one thing is stressed with the Iowa Crush, it’s the team aspect of the sport. No one person makes this team, McIntire said; it’s a group effort every time they take the field.

“It takes commitment from everybody to make it successful,” she said. “This sport may not be for everybody, but those that have the heart and the intensity will fit in perfectly amongst the Crush.”

As for the tryouts, be prepared for anything. Those who want to come out should bring a water bottle, a pair of cleats and be prepared for any type of weather.

“We’re going to do tryouts, rain or shine. You play the game in all different types of weather: snow, freezing rain, crazy winds. They don’t shut the game down unless there’s lightning,” McIntire said. “We’ll talk with everyone about the tryouts and warm-up as a group and do some drills. Basically it’s like a mock practice to see what it’s all about and have fun with it.”

Passion and intensity included, this is just a fun game to play and the first step on the road to the 2015 Iowa Crush season. Once the pads and helmets are on, spectators don’t just see women playing football, they see athletes competing in the sport they love.

“Watching some of these girls — they play with reckless abandon. And that’s how we play,” McIntire said. “It’s like a bunch of Troy Polamalus out there. It’s incredible. “ CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Iowa Crush Tryouts will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, 625 S. 35th St., West Des Moines

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