Perfect partnership and brilliant bonds. The annual Powderpuff brings unity to the EHHS school community once again.
Each year, the game takes place at Frank Crisafi Field on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The game runs as similarly as possible to regular football in terms of rules like false starts and pass interference. Both teams have eleven players on the field at each time. These compose of position players and offensive and defensive linemen. During the game, there is a running thirty minute clock for each half, except for the last two minutes. This year, there were also three referees for the game, an unprecedented number.
Powderpuff is an exciting time for not only the students that participate, but for the EHHS community as a whole. Students, administrators, families, and friends come to watch as EHHS’ junior and senior girls face off in this traditional flag football game. The game is a remarkable way to lead into the Thanksgiving holiday and build school spirit before the annual football game against Branford. It also allows the girls to bond and partake in a sport they normally would not play. Ultimately, the game strengthens several aspects of the EHHS community.
Through the game, students and teachers are able to connect in an environment outside of the classroom. Having the teachers coach the students is a facet of the EHHS Powderpuff game that sets it apart from others. EHHS math teacher, Ms. Erika Williams, was a coach of the senior team for Powderpuff this year. Ms. Williams shares that she loves getting to know students on a level other than academics through her role as a coach. The student-teacher relationships developed through the game form comradery amongst EHHS students and staff, and thus enhance the school atmosphere. Principal of EHHS, Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, expounds on this by saying, “One of our focuses here is building relationships with kids; when a teacher is working outside of the classroom with students they may not have in class, it further strengthens those relationships. It's a great thing to see.”
A significant takeaway many girls claim to get from Powderpuff is the bond they build with their teammates. “All of the students on the junior team were very close and built strong relationships. There was an extreme amount of teamwork because we knew that we had one goal: to beat the seniors,” says Bianca Apuzzo, who played defensive line for the junior team. “Being apart of the defense, for example, we had to become very close and learn how to work as a group, as well as build our trust in each other in order to make a cohesive defense.” The game allowed the girls to work together as a team to achieve the common goal of winning the game. With the large amount of players per team, the level of coordination and collaboration had to be strong. Tatum Punzo, who played tight end and quarterback for the senior team, felt that she was able to form many relationships with new people through her participation in Powderpuff. “You make new friends since there are girls on the team that you don’t necessarily talk to or have class with[...]” she shares. “We had a very high morale as a team [during the game]. We were all pumped to compete and were happy to be around each other.”
The game is an exceptional opportunity for the school as a whole to forgather and show its spirit. Senior football player at EHHS, Jake Marquardt, thinks of Powderpuff as an opportunity to unite the school community and cheer on students as they partake in an enjoyable game of flag football. The game is a memorable time for everyone at EHHS, regardless of their age or whether they participate or not. Mr. DeNuzzo expounds on this, saying, “For those that don't participate - if they’re underclassmen that will participate in the future - it gives them something to look forward to.” The environment the game creates, not only for the players, but for those viewing the game, I think it’s an opportunity for other spectators to have a fun night where they can see their classmates have fun on field and interact in the stands and enjoy that piece. For the participants, it’s a memory to look back on,” DeNuzzo adds.
Though the EHHS Powderpuff game has previously been successful in terms of strengthening school spirit, many people have pondered how it can be improved. Mr. DeNuzzo suggests that getting football players more involved in the game can help build more relationships and unite the school community further. He proposes, “Having football players coach the game, teach concepts of the sport to the participants, or act as cheerleaders. Overall, having them be active participants versus spectators is something we can work on for the future.” EHHS can incorporate some Powderpuff traditions from other schools to enhance our own school spirit during the time of the game. Sheehan High School, which puts on an exciting Powderpuff game every year, engages in many school-wide activities that build anticipation for their game: a staff appreciation luncheon, a faculty scrimmage, and a pep rally. Bianca proposes similar ideas to these, saying, “I think that we should get the whole school more involved in the game somehow, whether it is doing a pep rally, spirit week, or just getting more and more people to know about it.” The EHHS Powderpuff game rallies together students and faculty, enhancing companionship in the community. However, there remains room for the school to grow in terms of the spirit shown at the time of the game!
The Powderpuff is a time of elation and enthusiasm at EHHS. It strengthens relationships throughout the entire school and thus heartens the school community. The senior and junior girls are able to acquire friendships and memories that will last them a lifetime.