Powderpuff: controversy or camaraderie?

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Sophomores Emily Dempsey, Meg McDonough and Maureen Shumay flex their tattooed arms. Photo by Patrick Goodman.

Several underclassmen battled their more experienced upperclassman rivals in this year’s Powderpuff game on the cloudy Saturday morning of Groundhog Day.

As they slugged it out, dozens of excited fans generated an electrifying atmosphere while enjoying free and delicious stuffed potatoes from a food truck funded by Campus Activities Board (CAB) and organized by Mica Stephens, the recreational sports intern.

In this injury-plagued and intensely emotional game, the upperclassmen triumphed over the underclassmen … or did they?

“I think [the referees] gave them six extra points at the end. I think it was definitely rigged,” freshman powderpuff player Clare O’Brien said.

“They probably gave points or, you know, extra yardage just to make sure [the upperclassmen] won,” added sophomore powderpuff player Erin Quinn.

“Basically, I think if it’s close … [the referees] will give [the victory] to the upperclassmen,” sophomore powderpuff player Claire Archer said.

However, the upperclassmen believe that the underclassmen were, in fact, the ones at fault.

“I don’t think the score was rigged,” junior powderpuff player Abby Thorpe said.  

Clare Basil, a senior powderpuff player, agreed: “No. [I] guarantee it.”

“[What was] not fair and square, was [that] there were some underclassmen tying their flags,” Basil added.

She agreed with Margaret Capizzi, a senior powderpuff player, that this happened not because of malicious intent, but that, “they just had the faulty flags.”

So, was the game rigged against the underclassmen?

“Normally we would use two official referees, but in my experience, they weren’t fair,” Stephens said. “When I was an underclassman, preference was given to upperclassmen, so as someone who could make a difference, I wanted to do that … I knew I could get good alumni to [referee].”

These alumni were Dominic King and Andrew Bonello.

Quinn is convinced that King and Bonello cheated.

“I spoke to them immediately after, and then that night, and they admitted that the upperclassmen had to win,” Quinn said. “They never explicitly said it, but you could kind of tell by their body language. They were a bit nervous. Still on edge.”

However, the underclassman coach, Charlie Ramsay, thought that the referees actually helped his own team.

“Talking to the upperclassmen and the refs, it sounds like we were out of time for the extra point, but … we were so excited about running [the play, that the referees extended the time for us] … After we scored the extra point it was technically a tied game, even though some of the upperclassmen were saying it was 25-20, so the game ended at 22-21,” Ramsay said.

The plot thickens. Both stories seem viable. Some believe that the refs may have added points to the upperclassman team to preserve the tradition that the upperclassmen must win, but others, like Ramsay, think that the referees aided the underclassmen by giving them more time.

Still, the evidence is not conclusive, especially because of the discrepancies between the accounts of what happened.

Thus, it seems that this controversy will never be resolved.

While there are disagreements, it has not divided anyone, permanently.

“Even if it’s rigged, you have camaraderie, and you meet new friends,” Quinn said.

“[Powderpuff is] such a good way to bond,” Basil added. “You’re screaming in each other’s faces … it is behavior you never really exhibit anywhere else; people’s personalities come out in a distinctive way.”

“At the end, I was angry and bitter, but in the long run, my life is bigger than the powderpuff football game,” Archer said.

There you have it. There’s nothing to worry about. Well, that is, unless you are an upperclassman like Basil who noted that she must quickly “find a job” before graduating.

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