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The Future of Football

For many Kansas Citians, fall means football, but for students at an all-girls school, the field looks a little different.

“Touchdownnnn!!! Kansaaaasss Cityyyy!” Chiefs announcer Mitch Holthus yells into the microphone as Patrick Mahomes scores his second touchdown of the game. The GEHA stadium immediately bursts into a frenzy of shouts and screams in response. 

As the summer air turns crisp, Kansas Citians can be seen sporting their Kansas City Chiefs gear almost every Red Friday and NFL Sunday. For most, Chiefs games are a staple Sunday activity. Junior Logan Lewellen has been attending these games with her family for 13 years. The team has won two Super Bowl trophies and three AFC West championship games in that time, led by quarterback Mahomes. Due to her lengthy tenure with the Chiefs, though, Lewellen recalls a team long before Mahomes.

 “My earliest memory is with the quarterback Alex Smith,” Lewellen said. “He would always throw the footballs to the fans.”

As she has gotten older, Lewellen has gained a real grasp on football, and her fondest memories are the more recent games, like the AFC Championship against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Now I [understand the games],” Lewellen said. “It took a couple years, but I would always ask my dad or my cousins questions, and now I understand it a lot more.”

Aside from Sunday, Monday and Thursday NFL games or weekend college football, STA’s “Friday Night Lights” look different from many other high schoolers’ in the KC area. The Rockhurst High School stadium lights shine on crowds of blue sweatshirts, Rockhurst students in their designated section and STA students sitting in the parents’ section. Ahead of freshman year, many students look forward to attending high school football games, even if they aren’t for their own school.

STA students are invited to attend Rockhurst games, and many do. Freshman Charlotte Kuechler has gone to a few games this year.

 “I only really watch the important games, because they can be fun and exciting whenever everyone’s actually watching it,” Kuechler said. “For the most part I just go there to hang out because that’s where everybody is on Fridays, where all your guy friends are at least.”

Because Rockhurst and STA are separate schools, STA students can struggle to feel included at the games. Some students, including Kuechler, even feel that they miss out on certain typical high school experiences due to this division.

“Sometimes I wish we could have the same experiences as  being a cheerleader on the sidelines and that kind of stuff,” Kuechler said. “I think sometimes the Rockhurst boys are like ‘get out of [the student section]’ to STA girls…so it’s hard.”

However, health and P.E. teacher Caitlyn Kogge believes that not having a football team has a positive impact on STA’s student athletes.

“I wouldn’t say that STA students have missed out on anything with the absence of football on campus specifically,” Kogge said. “Many students choose to spend their weekends at games to watch friends and siblings play. Conversely, I think that all of our sports get a better chance to shine without being overshadowed by a sport like football. Our high school experience at STA has so many wonderful things that other schools never get to have.” 

When senior Neisha Tolliver saw her older brothers playing football through high school, she realized that she wanted to be involved in the sport as well. Her parents got her enrolled in competitive flag football, and she has played ever since. 

Tolliver mentioned that the number of players on her team is emblematic of the number of girls who likely wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to play football. 

“The team that I’m under has so many people on it,” Tolliver said. “Especially girls because all we can do is play flag [football].”

While it does differ from traditional high school football, Tolliver says she loves playing and wishes other students knew how fun the sport is.

“I like the environment,” Tolliver said. “For one, it can be all-girls or it’s co-ed, and everyone’s just playing at the same speed either way.”

On Oct. 10, Kogge sent out an all-school email notifying students of a new intramural flag football program which started Oct. 24 with seven teams in the league. Tolliver and senior Catherine Gyllenborg brought the concept to Kogge’s attention and she loved the idea because of the empowerment that flag football brings to women.

“I think that allowing women to occupy spaces typically reserved for men is always empowering,” Kogge said. “Flag Football is an example of a sport that people love but women and girls are not always members in the conversation about where it should be played and who should be included. Now that this variation of American football is growing and women and girls are leaders in that movement, I think it is very empowering.”

Tolliver hopes that the addition of flag football to STA’s intramural docket will increase interest in the sport.

“I hope that it gets more people to play competitively,” Tolliver said. “If we get more people like that, then [the sport] will definitely expand throughout the years. I know right now a lot of colleges are adding flag football to their teams. So I feel like if more people get involved, it’ll improve the sport as a whole.”

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About the Contributors
Tierney Flavin
Tierney Flavin, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, dear Dart fans! I’m Tierney, one of your co-editors-in-chief (shoutout Mrs. Hirner on the compound modifier). This is my third and final year on The Dart and I can’t wait to pump out more news! If it were up to me, I would read The Dart 24/7, but I also love watching movies. My favorites are “Interstellar,” “American Pie” and “Love, Rosie.” I couldn’t live without my cat Beezus, burritos or energy drinks. You can follow my beverage review account @tierneyandvioletjudgebeverages for elite content… Anywho, here’s to the best year of Dart ever!!!! Happy reading! Love,  Tierney
Molly Sonnenberg
Molly Sonnenberg, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Molly Sonnenberg, and I am a junior. I love expressing myself through writing and couldn’t be more excited to be on The Dart staff this year! I also love capturing STA’s favorite moments through photography, whether it's a lacrosse game or graduation. When I’m not at school, you might find me going on excursions with my friends, watching movies or TV shows (ask me about any Netflix show and I’ve probably seen it), drinking chai lattes or practicing yoga. This is my first year on staff, and I can’t wait for all there is to come!

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