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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Ryan looks to defend interhall flag football championship

It is bright and sunny in South Bend, and campus is hyped up about football season. The residents of Ryan Hall, however, have a slightly different focus. They are excited about the upcoming flag football games and have already started practicing.

As the 2018 women’s flag football champions, they held their first tryouts on Sept. 18. With a team of four coaches and one captain, the Wildcats’ tryouts for the A Team began with a spirit of community as the entire team huddled together in a circle with Fiona McCarter leading the pack as captain.

The off-campus senior is heading the team in her fourth year playing flag football. McCarter, a wide receiver, started playing on Ryan’s team because her cousin pushed her into it, and the rest is history.

“I played flag football in high school when we’d have turkey bowl games and started playing for the dorm because my cousin was on the team,” she said.

Photo Courtesy of Ellen Geyer
The Ryan Hall interhall flag football team poses after their championship game victory Nov. 18 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Although Ryan won the championship last year, the odds might be stacked against them this season. Ryan’s former quarterback and wide receiver graduated last year and the backup quarterback recently had surgery done. Along with these players, the Wildcats also has to replace some players from the offensive and defensive lines. Since flag football is not a contact sport, one would assume that injuries are unlikely, but McCarter has had her fair share of rough opponents.

“I got a concussion two years ago during a game,” she said. “I was running with the ball and I turned around at a weird angle, and there was another girl standing right beside me. I did not see a defender, and my head collided with hers and hit the ground. I got a concussion, and she also broke her arm.”

Her sister forced her into an ambulance, and her mother was not happy. They asked her to stop playing, but McCarter’s love for the sport could not hold her back from the game.

Ryan has a long-standing rivalry with neighboring Welsh Family Hall, which lasted long before they played each other in the flag football championship last year.

“Welsh Fam’s always been our biggest opponent,” McCarter said. “I have always had a hard time playing against them, but we beat them in the stadium last year.”

Ryan Hall’s success on the field last year was a combination of skill, camaraderie, understanding and coordination. They are equally determined this year.

“We would really like to bring the intensity and success that we had last year,” she said. “On the field, we were pretty good. I am hoping to bring some of that back, even though we have a lot of the team to replace. But I am optimistic.”

McCarter praised the skills of one of the Wildcats’ returning players.

“[Senior] Libby Cresap is definitely a player to watch out for,” McCarter said. “Last year she brought the intensity and never let a single ball past her.”

Intramural sports are meant to encourage community and inclusion. Given the purpose of “dorm sports,” it could seem odd that Ryan Hall hold tryouts for flag football, which would mean cutting players that do not meet the desired expectations. McCarter said that tryouts serve to enhance competitiveness.

“There has to be [tryouts] because there is a maximum amount of players you can have on a team,” she said. “I think it should be like this because it maintains competition. If you don’t have the time or zeal to play then there’s always the B Team.”

Tryouts for Ryan’s team are held in a systematic manner. The players can try out for any position they want, and the coaches decide who will make it to the A Team depending on the requirement of the positions that need to be filled. No one is denied the opportunity to play, just to be on the A Team.

Ryan lost to Welsh Family in the season opener Sunday, with a final score of 7-6.

Despite the early loss, Ryan Hall is optimistic for the flag football season. Their next game is this Sunday against the Shamrocks of McGlinn Hall.