Learning the Ropes of Football at the Oregon Football Women’s Clinic

Sally and Helfrich

Meet our guest blogger, Sally with Duck head coach, Mark Helfrich. Despite being 8 months pregnant, she took to the turf at the UO Women’s Football Clinic.

For more than 10 years, the coaches and staff of the University of Oregon Ducks Football team have hosted a fun, informative evening of “Football 101” for women. And last night, I was able to join the festivities.  It was truly a ball, even though I had to forgo the wine from King Estate (which really adds to the atmosphere) due to current pregnant condition, it was a great evening of football and women.

I have a basic knowledge of football, and have been religiously following the Seattle Seahawks since I was 5 years old, but even with my background in football, I learned a ton last night! The coaches did a great job of introducing nuances of the game, and the ladies asked lots of really good questions. It’s safe to say I’m now qualified for 200 level football!

After snacking on typical Northwest  football fare (bbq ribs, salmon, shrimp and Caeser salad and crisp apples), we were divided into groups and represented by NFL Teams.  I was randomly, but painfully, placed on the Patriots (I can’t stand the Pats). Each team travelled between nine different stations where we met with the Defensive Coordinator, Offensive Coordinator and several assistant coaches to learn specifics on offensive and defensive plays, and learn the roles of the position players. We even had the opportunity to line up for a play. I juked the center and got to the quarterback. However, I’m pretty sure it was because nobody was going to block a woman who is 8 months pregnant.

To wrap things up, we got to tour of the amazing facilities at the University of Oregon. Including a  nutrition bar, treatment room, pilates equipment, and state of the art training equipment. It’s safe to say our Ducks train in style.

The evening was a blast, and I really appreciated the chance for a group of women to get together and share their love for what is traditionally a male dominated sport. With the emergence of Women’s Football leagues, women are taking a directly active and visible role in football playing.  But with the number of women present and knowledgeable at last night’s event it is clear that we have been around for a long time to support our teams, call the plays that should’ve been called and toss the old pigskin at half-time!

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