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Flag football fun: Student initiative helps establish new sport

Photo credit: Melinda Wang
Flags and footballs lay on Archer’s sport court. Athletic Director Kim Smith and junior Cezanne Silverton worked together to bring flag football to Archer, which upper school students can sign up for in late October.

When you think of high school sports, Friday night football games may often come to mind. At an all-girls school like Archer, where there was no football team, students were previously unable to take part in what some consider the “normal” American high school experience. This changed when flag football arrived at Archer, as students will soon be able to attend football games.

Athletic Director Kim Smith and junior Cezanne Silverton worked together to bring flag football to Archer’s extracurriculars. Silverton contacted Smith to request the sport to be piloted.

“[The appeal process was] so much easier than I thought it would be. In my head, I thought I was going to have to go through the budget, and thought how are we going to raise [the money]? How are we going to get coaching?” Silverton said. “It turned out that Coach Smith had already been looking into it. There was not as much needed on my part as I had originally anticipated.”

Smith said that when adding to athletic extracurriculars, she ensures the sport fits Archer’s mission of “empower[ing] young women to discover their passions and realize their true potential and environment that is ambitious and joyful.” 

“I always revisit the mission because every sport fits with the mission of the school. For example, last year, we had people that were interested in surf, and we had enough interest and a partnership with a boys school to introduce that as a club sport,” Smith said. “A lot of it is initiated by the students at Archer.”

The California Interscholastic Federation officially approved flag football as a girls’ high school sport this year. CIF’s federated council unanimously approved this decision to “push to get more female athletes on the field,” according to CBS news. 

The first informational flag football team meeting was Sept. 15, but it was cancelled due to lack of attendance. Flag football is after school on Fridays and will officially begin in late October, according to an email from Smith. The sport is only available to upper school students but will remain in the middle school fitness curriculum. Smith and Silverton are planning scrimmages, and 21 students are interested in signing up for flag football.

To officially bring flag football as a sport at Archer, Silverton reached out for help from seventh grader Posie Hexner, who has experience initiating Archer’s lacrosse clinics

“I thought it would be cool if I could bring something new to Archer. I spoke to the middle schooler who brought lacrosse to Archer, and that made me have the realization it is possible,” Silverton said. “[I thought] if she can do it, I definitely can.”

Athletics Assistant Madison Witt focuses on team scheduling and transportation with middle and upper school sports teams. She is also involved with the process of bringing new sports to Archer. 

“Last year, we had lacrosse clinics during the fall. [Flag football] is not necessarily a clinic. It’s going to be a sports club and student-led,” Witt said. “We have a good amount of students that are signed up.” 

Silverton said she participated in flag football lessons over the summer because she wanted to try out the sport. She also said she wanted to provide opportunities for other students to do the same.

“I’ve never self-identified as an athlete. Even now, I wouldn’t put it forth as the first word when I speak about myself. It’s an opportunity with no consequences,” Silverton said. “The hope is that somebody else will enjoy it, and some other people will want to pursue it as a sport.”

Junior Phoebe Ramirez is planning to join the flag football team. She has played coed flag football and said she had fun playing the sport.

“[Flag football] helped me gain confidence, and it’d be fun at Archer, especially because it’s a new sport,” Ramirez said.

Witt acknowledged the CIF’s decision to recognize high school flag football for girls as a varsity sport. She said there should not be a sport that’s only for men or only for women.

“Part of the reason why we’re doing that as a sports club this year is to see how the program runs. If everyone likes it, we’ll make it a varsity team next year,” Witt said. “Flag football is inclusive to all people that want to play sports, so if you enjoy it, go for it.” 

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About the Contributor
Melinda Wang
Melinda Wang, Senior Reporter
Melinda Wang joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and is now a senior reporter. She takes art classes and is invested in community service outside of Archer. When she isn't doing homework, you can find her reading, sketching or taking photos.

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