Makeup TouchUps and Football TouchDowns

The History of Powder Puff


Powder Puff has been around for a while.

Last Friday, October 18, 2019, our school honored the annual tradition of Powder Puff. Regardless of whether or not students played, cheered, or watched, it was a great time, although it had quite a contentious result. If you ask a senior, the sophomores broke a rule which would have cancelled out their singular touchdown that won them the game, but if you ask a sophomore, they were the official winners, as declared by Coach Koll. But besides spending an extra-long lunch at the football field watching the girls play and boys cheer, what really is Powder Puff?  

Even through my extensive 20 minutes of research, it is unclear when the first game of Powder Puff was played, although there is proof of games dating as far back as 1931—88 years ago! However, one of the first major games was played in South Dakota in 1945. When the school planned their Homecoming, it seemed out of the question to have boys playing football due to the draft from WWII decreasing male enrollment to a measly 3 students, so the girls stepped in, even if it was against popular opinion. Meanwhile, the first modern game of Powder Puff was played in 1972 as part of a high school gym teacher’s efforts in order to increase girls’ participation in sports. It has since become a staple at schools across the country. 

Seniors v Sophomores in competing for 1st place.

Even though the general concept remains the same, many schools have different practices when it comes to Powder Puff. At our school, we have each grade participate in a tournament, which leads to a first, second, third, and fourth-place team. In some schools, though, only juniors and seniors play. In others, the Powder Puff games are against rival schools in the same cities. 

The name, Powder Puff, is derived from the soft pads for applying powder makeup. Makeup represented something that exclusively used by women, which is why it was chosen as the nickname for a game in which only women would play. Moreover, this was meant to counteract the concept of football being a sport that only men would play. 

Powder Puff is a long-standing tradition among many high schools. Although games are generally played more as fundraisers rather than true competitions, they have become very important to student bodies. Even here, class pride and the spirit of competition drive our students rather than actual rewards. Powder Puff is a long standing tradition, and will likely be around even longer.