Letter to the Editor: Edward Miller defends Powder Puff game

This letter is a response to “The Patriot In-Depth: Powder Puff provokes class pride”  by Meredith Haggerty.  To read the original article, click here.

In the October edition of The Patriot, In-Depth Editor Meredith Haggerty quoted Mr. Paaby, a longtime spectator of Powder Puff games. Having coached in over 30 of the games, I would like to add a different perspective, from the standpoint of a coach.

The game was initiated by the late Father Riepe, JC’s principal and president. Father Riepe’s intention was to give those girls not involved in fall sports the opportunity to be a part of an organized athletic team.

The game, as viewed by Paaby, was about “knocking the other team down and tackling, although prohibited. It was more of a physical confrontation, of who could be bigger and better.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Playing by the rules and good sportsmanship were a priority by the coaches.

Of course, football at any level involves a certain amount of body contact. Unintentional roughness and collisions sometimes happen.

The caliber of past coaches, that speaks for itself, would not have tolerated otherwise. To mention a few: Gary Scholl, Al Ward, Joe Gallen, David Huber, Tim Perry, John Hughes, Kristen Porchella, and a beloved nun from the ‘70s, who also coached basketball, Sister Rita Woelke.

Paaby also comments on the improved caliber of play today as opposed to the past. It is inconceivable to me how this can be accomplished with only three practice sessions.

In the past we were hard pressed to teach the skills of offense, defense, kickoff, and kick return teams in the required six practice sessions, with two experienced coaches.

One last thought: we made sure that every girl who came to practice session played the game. Can that be said about the game that was played in 2012?

We practiced hard and played hard to win. Many positive lessons were learned by players who otherwise would not have had a sports experience at JC.

I always thought that’s what sports were about. That’s why I coached Powder Puff for so many years.

Edward Miller