It was a typical Saturday in early November in Buffalo: chilly temperatures, transient sunshine and people gathering to support a fantastic cause.
The host of the Power Puff football game, the Western New York Girls' Schools Coalition: Project Educate (formerly known as the Afghanistan Coalition), raised just over $2,000. The money will be sent directly to the Circle of Women, a nonprofit organization at Harvard University that helps build schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The coalition, initiated in 2002, includes representatives from Nardin Academy, Buffalo Seminary, Sacred Heart Academy and Holy Angels Academy.
Last year, the coalition's primary event was a fashion show, but this year, says co-director Aileen Comer, "We wanted to try something new. We love the all-girls camaraderie at our schools, and we wouldn't have it any other way. But there are certain high school traditions that we miss out on, like homecoming ...
"We thought that it was time to create this experience [powder puff football] for our school communities, raising awareness for an amazing cause in the process."
For weeks, representatives from each of the schools in the coalition chose teams, held practices, planned and designed uniforms.
When the day finally arrived, the 22 teams of girls proudly showed their spirit. Decked-out in vibrant outfits, (for example, pajamas, "Rosie the Riveter" outfits, and even a full-out bull costume), everyone was ready for the thrill of competition. But amidst all the chaos, the spirit of the event was present. With each snap of the ball, the players carried with them the remembrance of why they were playing.
"We were all coming together for such a great cause," says Alanna Downing, secretary of the coalition. "Although our event was first called 'Powder Puff,' in the end we knew 'Power Puff' was a more appropriate title because we were all collaborating to empower women across the world."
Christina Seminara is a sophomore at Nardin Academy.