Powder Puffs compete to bring breast cancer awareness

It was a grudge match like no other. These warriors clashed on the gridiron, each trying to gain control of the rock and thus the game. These players were out for blood it seemed, but thankfully, none was shed. The only things gained at the first annual Spangdahlem Powder Puff Football Tournament were the coveted 1st Place trophy and bragging rights.

Four teams consisting of 80 players signed up to be part of this one-of-a-kind event at Spangdahlem — to raise awareness and contribute money toward breast cancer research.

“I chose breast cancer awareness because someone close to me is battling the disease and although I can’t be there to show support, I try to do whatever I can to bring awareness to the cause and to honor those we have lost and the ones that are still battling the disease,” said Phillip Hamilton, event organizer. “I chose flag football because I believe it truly shows how strong these women are and even for the ones that have never played before.  Once they hit the field, they become another person. They become competitive and driven and I believe that is what happens when [some] women find they have breast cancer.”

Many of the teams practiced for weeks leading up to the tournament and some even went so far as to get matching football gear made — one, to show their team spirit; and two, to honor those diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I never played flag football before, but I knew it was going to be fun,” said Tamara Lunn, a member of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Pink Ladies team. “So why not do something for a good cause and have fun at the same time? Raising awareness for breast cancer research, knowing the risk factors and knowing what I can do to detect breast cancer early is important.”

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The tournament attracted a huge fan base, even some of the volunteer referees were impressed by the amount of energy the teams brought to the field.

“The games were very intense, but when you think about the reason behind it – Breast Cancer Awareness – Everyone is bringing a different story,” said Andre Thomas, one of the volunteer referees. A lot of these women were representing someone in their family, a loved one or friend. All these women are bringing all that intensity to the football field.

Thomas said he was pretty excited to see the competition. He said at some points of the games, the intensity the ladies brought was higher than what he’s seen when the guys play [intramural flag football].

T.T. Bang-Bang won the championship trophy after defeating the Pink Ladies by one play I overtime. Next year, Hamilton hopes to put together an even bigger tournament, inviting teams from nearby installations to participate – T.T. Bang-Bang will have to defend their championship status against even tougher competition and possibly the Pink Ladies who are looking for a championship rematch.

The tournament raised $1,000 toward a Breast Cancer Awareness Organization which is part of the 2015 Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas. The Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas is Department of Defense Charity dedicated to military and civilians who contribute monetary donations to people and communities in need. In 2014, unified combatant commands pledged more than $8.2 million to many of the thousands of charitable organizations. Thus far, 92 percent of the Spangdahlem community has been contacted through unit CFC representatives with 626 members pledging $88K to the campaign. More donations are expected to come in from electronic pledges via MyPay and the CFC websites.  Spangdahlem community members have until Friday to contribute to CFC-O. To donate, contact a unit representative for a pledge card or logon to MyPay to make an electronic contribution.

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