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The football season is back in swing and Queens is the venue for the New York Sharks, the metropolitan area team that continues to play with the Independent Womens Football League in Jamaica.
Yes, its an all-women tackle football team that has already creamed the competition 45-6 in its first game against the Montreal Blitz and shut out Bostons Bay State Warriors 40-0 in their most recent game on April 27.
The IWFL consists of 14 teams nationwide and in Canada that play in two divisions. The Sharks are part of the Eastern Division along with six other teams that each play an eight-game schedule. The Sharks have five home games, but you dont have to sit in Shea Stadium traffic to get there since the games are held at August Martin High School, 156-10 Baisley Blvd., Jamaica.
The next home game is scheduled for Saturday.
Sharks owner Andra Douglas doubles sometimes as quarterback and is also commissioner of the IFWL as well. Douglas, 43, who is also the creative director for Money Magazine, began playing flag football in college.
I purchased the franchise at the last minute, because I felt that it was something I was able to do and because I have been playing with some of these women for 15 years, Douglas said.
Tight End Tara Passoni, who lives in Elmhurst, explained why she enjoys playing tackle football. I chose tackle football because it presented an unparalleled opportunity to play a womens sport at a professional level, she said. I have always enjoyed football, although my only real exposure to it was playing touch football in the streets of Queens.
Tackle football is an amazing sport, she added. You get the chance to step out onto the field and see what youre really made of. Every play, every moment on the field, is a new chance to perform, which you can either excel or fail at. And no matter how you do, you have to pick yourself up and do it all again on the next play. So the game is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one.
Passoni, who rowed crew for Sarah Lawrence College and has been a weight lifter as well, was hooked from the moment she put on the football gear.
It had been during tryouts in my first year that I got that chance, and I remember thinking that it was one of the coolest experiences I had ever had, she said. A year and a half later, Ive only come to love it more and more.
Passoni said she plans to play for the Sharks as long as she can, and hopes to continue to grow as a player while the IWFL grows as a league. I believe that as we get more exposure, sponsors and higher attendance levels, the Sharks organization will continue to be one of the strongest in womens football. I would be honored to be a part of that development.
All post parties are being sponsored by Douglaston Manor where both the opposing team and fans are welcome to join the Sharks. The next scheduled home game is at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are available and may be purchased at the gate or by calling 212-645-4611. Visit their website www.nysharksfootball.com.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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