Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is This Heaven?

No, but its close, this is Iowa. I happen to love living in the Midwest but weather seems to always play a gigantic factor when planning any event outdoors. Last year during our football season we played in sleet, freezing cold, monsoon rains and blazing heat. So why should this year start off any different?
The Iowa Thunder players don’t receive special circumstance just because we’re female athletes. In fact, we’ve been practicing outside since the first weekend in February. Frost bite is always a concern but we’ve learned little tricks along the way. Wearing a plastic grocery bag between socks to keep water out, bringing multiple pairs of hand warmers, and knowing that you can never wear too many layers are just a few. So what happens when Mother Nature decides to dump six beautiful inches of glistening white onto our field……the shovels come out! These pictures were taken just this past weekend and now the weather is in the mid 50’s.
Our competition is still practicing inside!
All hands on deck for clearing the field before practice

We are all anxiously preparing for the upcoming weekend. This Saturday we will be traveling to our first pre season game, funny how the nerves never seem to go away. While we will prepare for this weekend as though it were a league game, we’ve actually been afforded the opportunity of a controlled scrimmage. Each team will have the opportunity to stop play when needed to correct things before the season gets underway. After Saturday’s matchup, the Thunder will travel back home and prepare for team pictures the following day. Lots of exciting news still to come as this season starts to get moving!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to the Blog of the Iowa Thunder Women's Professional Football Team!

Hi, I’m Kendra and this is my husband, Doug.
We’ve been married for four months and we are Weekend Warriors. I discovered a tryout poster for a women’s professional football team at our local gym. Having just completed our last year of 3v3 outdoor soccer tournaments, I was looking for my next competitive sporting endeavor. Nineteen months ago I went to my first football tryout. I was armed with nothing more than a pair of soccer cleats and a passion for the game. I remember walking into the stadium, my stomach doing flip flops. I was extremely nervous to compete in a sport I had never played. I knew I wasn’t very good at throwing a ball but what if I couldn’t catch one? What if what I thought was blazing speed, back in my college days, had turned into a sluggish pace? Would I be able to compete, would they want me on the team?
Well, it turns out you don’t have to be Jerome Bettis, Al Toon or Brian Dawkins to be able to play this sport. You do, however, need a desire to learn and a willingness to exert tremendous amounts of mental energy. “Football is nothing more than a game of high speed chess.” Our Owner and Head Coach, William Grimes, often makes this statement throughout the season. Think about it, football is more mentally challenging than it is physically….tell me that after I’ve taken my fifth Ibuprofen and am on my seventh bag of ice…..but in all seriousness, he’s one hundred percent correct. So, after three combines in the Summer/Fall of 2008 I became a professional women’s football player. I naturally gave my husband no other choice than to join me for this adventure. He’s now into his second year of coaching and serves as both the Defensive Back and Special Teams coach for our team.
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this. I’ve been tasked to create a blog that gives an inside look at what it means to play for the Iowa Thunder. A task I hope to do justice and also provide good representation of professional women athletes. Throughout our season you’ll be given an inside look into our world, the different paths that lead us here, as well as, our joys and pains over the next four months.
First, I’d like to address some commonly asked questions we receive when people first hear about our team. We are Iowa’s only women’s professional football team. We are also the only winning team in state history. Something we take extremely serious and carry with us at all times. We play by NFL regulation rules with two exceptions:
1. We kick off from the 40 yard line
2. We only need one foot to be kept in bounds
We have the same calls and penalties that you would find in any game. This is not touch football or powder puff and it’s definitely not lingerie football.

(first down) (block below the knee) (pass interference) (my personal favorite, touchdown)
We wear REAL gear. Our uniforms are complete with helmets, mouth piece, shoulder pads, hip-thigh-knee and tail pads, etc.

We come in all different shapes and sizes that enable us to specialize in different positions. For example, I play Free Safety, Wide Receiver and I’m also the kicker. Our roster this year has several returning All-Americans from last year, as well as, the league’s most valuable player. We’ve added several talented new rookies to this year’s roster and are excited for our first pre season game next weekend. For complete roster information and player positions, please visit our website at http://www.iowathunderfootball.com/
All home games will be played at the new stadium in Martensdale-St.Marys. Directly South of Des Moines 15 minutes, off of exit 52. We look forward to seeing you this season under the lights!

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi