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2005 WOMEN'S GALLERY
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Judging by the way it began, 2005 was a great year for the New York Sharks. While other
teams within their league were collecting dust on their uniforms, the Sharks were out setting
out setting new records. The Date was January 2, 2005; The New York Giants were playing
their final 2004 season game at home against their archrivals, The Dallas cowboys. When the
whistle blew for halftime about half of the 60,000 New York and New Jersey fans headed for
the restrooms or the concession stands at Old Giants Stadium.
Just as the last of the men players stepped off the field the tunnel erupted with a loud whistle
and flashes of light blue and black jerseys streaked onto the field. Yes, The New York Sharks
were about to do something which most male high school players never ever get a chance to
do: Run a live team scrimmage on the field of Giants Stadium!
Now, tri state area fans are a fair but tough crowd and it takes something noteworthy to get
their attention. So it was amazing to see crowds of Giants fans literally stop and stare in
fascination as they walked up the aisles. Pat Brown, the Sharks announcer provided live
commentary for the crowd in his usual dynamic voice as the Sharks quickly took the field and
Kicked off the ball. The crowd was absolutely wowed as the women players went at each
other full steam. Val Halesworth quarterbacked one squad and Team owner Andra Douglas
manned the other squad. You can count on the Sharks to leave no doubt about their abilities
and the crowd was totally convinced about those abilities as the Ladies began to toss a solid
number of passes. The Sharks were so electric that they kept the masses totally enraptured
for nearly 10 minutes!
At the end of play the whole stadium erupted as the team gathered to leave the stadium while waving wildly to the crowd. It was a once in a life time experience for those
hardworking ladies to be able to play at the north east mecca of NFL football. You can bet that those gals were walking on air as they returned to the dressing old stadium’s
bubble. As if that wasn’t enough, the ladies were given an extra treat when former Giant great, Harry Carson, stopped by for some photos and autographs!
Yep, it was a great night for everybody involved, it was a historic night. After all, how many times have you seen Sharks at the stadium???
EVENT SHOTS HAVE BEEN POSTED
2005 WOMEN'S FOOTBALL FLASHBACK
There’s a whole lot to be said about the longevity of women’s football. Back in
the summer of 2005
The IWFL Championship game was taking place on the east coast up in
Manchester, New Hampshire. The stars who stepped onto center stage to battle
it out were the dynamic Atlanta Xplosion and The Sacramento Sirens. .
After years of getting knocked out of the box, The "Hot-lanta" natives were only
too proud to have fought their way to the Big Show. They were certainly looking
to travel back to Georgia with the championship belt in tow. Oddly enough The
Xplosion won their berth by beating league nemesis,The New York Sharks. In
the past, it had been The Sharks who'd knocked the Xplosion out of playoff
contention on more than one occasion .
But when Georgia stepped off the bus in New York for that match in 2005 it was
clear from the start that this was a stronger Georgia Team than the Sharks
were accustomed to playing. There were new athletes, an even more resolute
attitude and a different outcome.
The out come : Atlanta 3....... New York 0....
NORTH VS SOUTH & EAST COAST VS WEST
On this day,there was blood in the water and it belonged to the Sharks.
With that win under their belt the Gals from the peach state headed further north to Manchester in search of just one more win.
As for the Sirens,they arrived fresh off of a solid season of wins . They'd been to the winners circle more than once and were actually the defending
league champions. The west coast is known for producing top notch athletes and the trait certainly carries over to women's football because the Sirens
showed up in prime form. Of course, everyone expects a championship to be a slug fest and that's exactly what the game was.
In the end Sacramento held sway over Atlanta and took the crown home for another year. Of course there were hugs, tears and kudos on both sidelines.
It was a great end to a great season in women's football.
Ladies Of The Gridiron
They say everything is big in Texas but have you taken a look at New Hampshire?
The air is fresh, the trees are big and some of the people are not much smaller than the stately oaks which
traverse the state. Pride runs deep and quit seems to be a word which has been eradicated from their
dictionaries. Can you imagine playing against a team who has this mindset? That’s pretty much what it was
like playing against the Manchester Freedom circa 2005. Like the great trees which they live around these
ladies were grand, healthy and fast.
By way of history the Freedom shake the ground when they land with field leader Katia Paskevitch who is a
former Russian Olympic hockey star. Katia is a dynamic player who can almost be literally all over the place.
With sharp skills she puts on a real show weather toting the ball from the running back spot or patrolling the
defense from the linebacker position. Of course, a good athlete gets well used and so you can count on her
to do triple duty on special teams as well. Truth be told she gives hip-checks which are from another planet,
a vestige of her native sport.
But for this game the Freedom were without Katia (due to a broken hand) and while they did give it all they
had the Sharks were at a point in the season where they fired on all cylinders, they were relentless.
In the final wrap up they dominated the stalwart Freedom and thirstily looked to the next obstacle in their bid
to win another championship.
Untold Tales In Women's Football
Now, for some unknown reason in the cosmos, a pretty healthy number of bona-fide football players gathered from the New York Tristate area when the
opportunity finally came knocking for them to strap up and play football. Most of these gals took to full contact like fish to water, almost as if they’d been
playing all their lives. While males are notorious for doing so, these women even enjoyed entertaining each other with highly animated tales of how they got
their battle scars.........All, just like the males do.
While history may not tell all the antics and anecdotes, the untold tales still remain a part of the “Herstory” of women’s football. Those were the days when
one of the very talented but playful Sharks would absolutely make sure to get the very first tackle of every home game just so that she could say to the ball
carrier, “Welcome To New York !” Of course that greeting was scuttled by the league but the fact that it even occurred shows just how similar the women’s
game is to the male’s game.
These were the days when so many of the battles were truly epic, and the only reason the combat ended was because the clock ran out. The skirmishes
between the Sharks and the Bay State Warriors were particularly intense and this made for some unbelievable efforts by both teams. In one early April
game in 2005 the Sharks traveled north to do battle in the cool afternoon air with Bostonians.
In very short order both teams made it totally clear that they’d left the kid gloves home!
From the very first kickoff both teams began working themselves into the kind if lather reserved only for the archest of arch rivals. The first word that came
to mind when watching the Bay State Defense was, “remarkable.” Initially the Warriors defense defended everything New York threw at it with the kind of
the savvy swagger seen in a 1970’s NFL highlight reel. Who could forget how red shirted defense shut down the faltering Sharks offense in the first
quarter, all while scoring 6 points of their own.
We can still hear the foreboding theme music playing as the tide began to turn.
Who could forget how the Sharks began to turn things around by the third quarter and who could forget that Bay State remained tenacious down to the
very last play of the game. One of the things which we find amazingly different about women’s football is that they play it from an emotionally different place
and that makes for great pigskin every time!
Who knows of the untold tales which are
interwoven into the foundation of any sport .…
Back in 2005 the New York Sharks were living
up to their reputation of being a Black and blue
No, the reference didn’t refer to the team’s
colors, it referred to the bruising they left on
their opponents at the end of games.
You have to give some serious credit to any
woman in the country who played football in
the early 2000’s, they didn’t go through the
feeder systems that young men experience.
It was simply suit up and learn the game or quit.
Now, while some level of quitting did go on,
most who played stuck with it. These were the
days when The Maine Rebels, The Rhode
Island Intensity, The D.C Divas and so many
others had loads of colorful gals with the kind
of spunk that it takes to blaze a trail into a
sport which up to that time had been reserved
for men and boys alone.
FLASHBACK: FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME: FROM JAPAN TO THE USA
untold stories of the things athletes
endured in order to achieve their
dreams of being the best at their
particular sport. Yet you won’t hear a
back story like this one any time soon,
we guarantee it:
Imagine loving football so much that
you’re willing to fly nearly 7,000 miles
just to get a chance to Suit up! Back in
the early 2000’s, that’s exactly what
Junko Tanida, who lives in Japan did.
She left behind family and friends and
headed to California’s west coast to
play football with other women.
Make no mistake about it Junko is a
receiver through and through from
braids to bones. While the California
teams she played for in the IWFL gave
her great experience and exposure,
rigs which didn’t toss the pigskin
nearly as much she’d hoped.