Senior Flag Football and Powder Puff traditions live on

        Senior year comes with some inherent benefits such as senior patio and senior lot, just to name a few. Along with these eponymously designated physical spaces, seniors also enjoy special traditions that date back to the creation of Westminster in 1951. Although Senior Powder Puff and Flag Football can’t quite hold a candle to the illustrious history of storied rituals such as the ceremonial mudslide or finally stepping on the seal at graduation, the laid-back, seniors-only sporting events provide the upperclassmen with a much-needed jolt of fun in the midst of a stressful school year.

        Senior Flag Football has never been a very consistent tradition, with classes electing whether or not to organize a league. Following the class of 2016’s decision to not continue the tradition, the classes of 2017 and 2018 have eagerly brought it back.

        “We wanted to do something fun that we heard about done in the past few years,” said senior Grant Pinkston, who is a league referee along with senior Carter Osterling. “It is a lot of fun.”

        Although members of Westminster’s football program do not take part in the league, the response following the announcement of Flag Football was enormous. The league, which slightly resembles the NFL in its structure, is home to six teams of six or seven players, all of which are built through a draft.

        “Around 42 people signed up after the announcement, so out of that pool, the six volunteer captains drafted their teams,” said Pinkston.

        The draft, however, is where the similarities stop between the two leagues. Westminster Flag Football has a much shorter, 5-week long regular season that stretches from August 24 to September 28, and cumulates in a postseason tournament. The league abides by all normal flag football rules, with no contact, special extra point guidelines, and five players per team on the field at a time, though the games are played on smaller 60 yard fields located by the back tennis courts. Because of this adjusted scale, teams have four downs to go 30 yards to score. The games are split into two 12 minute halves with a running clock, besides the final two minutes of each half, which are played with clock stops.

        Though the rules of the league seem on par with that of a real football game, the Senior Flag Football league is much more casual and laid back, with a focus on fun and convenience.

        “We just kind of mess around,” said Pinkston. “People take it as seriously as they want to take it, but it is a good time for about an hour and a half every Friday afternoon after school.”

        Seeing as Senior Flag Football is often overshadowed by other, more historic, Westminster traditions, it comes as no surprise that the Senior-led games often take a backseat to the weekly Westminster Varsity Football games, with whom they share Friday game days with. However, both Flag Football and Varsity Football have enjoyed great seasons thus far; the Wildcats boast a solid 2-2 record highlighted by a big win over rival GAC, and the Flag Football league has enjoyed competitive, fun games, with multiple teams fighting for the top seed. Currently, senior Jake Jameson’s team leads the league with a 2-0 undefeated record.

        “Jameson’s team is really good,” said Pinkston. “Definitely something to watch out for.”

        However, seniors Richard Spencer, Theo Moss, Jack Minson, and Alykhan Painter all follow closely behind, with each of their teams holding on to a 1-1 record. Rounding out the league, senior Ben Forte’s squad sits in last place with a zero wins through the first third of the season.

        Looking ahead, all of the teams are hoping to make a deep run in the postseason tournament. Although every team automatically qualifies for the playoffs, securing a top seed is paramount to postseason success, as the ultimate goal is to end the season as Flag Football champions. While a prize has not been decided upon, every team is playing for something even more important: bragging rights.

        The tail end of the Flag Football season marks the beginning of another Westminster tradition known as Powder Puff Football, whose season openers will take place in late September. Powder Puff is an even more inconsistent tradition than Flag Football, as it was recently discontinued due to trouble caused by the boys coaching the teams. However, the tradition was resurrected last year, and the class of 2019 looks to continue that trend this fall.

         “The senior boys always do flag football, so Powder Puff was something the girls wanted to start so that we had something to do as well,” said senior Marion Kronauge.

         This newly revived tradition has been met with much excitement, as the games will provide ample time for the girls to hang out and relieve a lot of school related stress. Seniors have already decided upon their teams, and are looking forward to the beginning of the season.

        “I’m really happy that we’re doing a Powder Puff league because I’ve heard it’s really fun,” said senior Cecie Basset. “It’s going to be awesome being on a team with my friends who I wouldn’t otherwise play a sport with.”

         Besides the fact that Powder Puff Football is played exclusively by girls, there are many similarities between it and the Flag Football league populated by the senior boys. In both leagues, tackling is not allowed, and players must follow the regular flag football rules. Like Flag Football, the season will end with a postseason tournament at the end of November following the end of the eight game schedule.

         Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the senior boys will have any role in Powder Puff, despite the best efforts of Powder Puff organizers. Whether or not the boys take part in Powder Puff this year, the seniors still have a lot to look forward to, as student leaders are working to develop a winter basketball tournament and a school wide Powder Puff league.