Powder Puff: Why did it leave and will it come back to the ROC?


Ms. Bolinger

Ms. Bolinger and her friends pose for a picture after Powder Puff.

Carly Craig, News Editor

It’s homecoming week, and instead of the football players running out into the Friday night lights, the girls who are playing in the Powder Puff game come storming out of the tunnel. The student body has been looking forward to this for weeks, and the time has finally come.

This used to be what Powder Puff was. The girls who did not participate in fall sports would be trained for a few weeks by boys in their grade in order to play in the Powder Puff game. The senior and junior girls would play each other in a game of football for bragging rights. Powder Puff began in Rochester in the mid-nineties and hasn’t happened in several years due to high tensions.

Former Rochester alum and current English teacher at Adams, Ms. Bolinger talks about how she played in Powder Puff during her junior and senior year. She remembers her junior year game being an especially fun experience.

I played in both my junior and senior year. My junior year was the most fun. We actually played at Adams because the RHS field was being redone that year. The stands were packed and I was the team safety,” Ms. Bolinger said. “I actually got an interception and ran for about 20 yards before spiking the ball and getting a 15 yard penalty. We won that game and the senior girls kinda freaked out.”

Mrs. Cusmano talks about how the rivalries between the junior and senior girls became so intense that the school had to stop sponsoring Powder Puff.

[Rochester stopped participating in Powder Puff] because there became a really bad rivalry between the seniors and juniors and they started doing mean things on the field the night of the Powder Puff, and also after and before the game too,” Mrs. Cusmano said. “So the rivalry and the viciousness and the bullying got really out of control.”

Ms. Bolinger talks about the rivalry that she witnessed firsthand when she attended RHS and participated in Powder Puff.

There were several fights and a lot of vandalism of cars,” Ms. Bolinger said. “Our two classes didn’t get along well, so the competition was not friendly. It was after this year that the school stopped sponsoring [Powder Puff].”

Senior varsity cheerleader Samantha Ellison talks about what she thinks a downside of holding Powder Puff again could be.

There’s a possibility of injury,” Ellison said.

Ms. Bolinger talks about how she loved Powder Puff when she was in high school and why she thinks bringing it back to Rochester is a good idea.

“I loved it. I think it gives girls a chance to be looked at as strong and powerful and I always thinks that’s a good thing,” Ms. Bolinger said.

Mrs. Cusmano discusses the actions that she’d like to see put in motion in order for Powder Puff to return to RHS.

“My thoughts from a student activities perspective [back are that] if it was done for a charity it could be a really powerful fundraiser,” Mrs. Cusmano said. “I also think that with the right group of people in charge of it, and officiating it and things like that, it could be a really fun way for kids to kind of blow off steam and have fun. It’s a cool school activity and a lot of schools around here do it.”

Ms. Bolinger agrees with Mrs.Cusmano that students need to work harder to keep the game friendly in order to be able to participate again.

I do think that the emphasis needs to be on unity between the two classes at the end of the day. Students would have to work very hard with administration to prove that the game is just for fun, and if there is already tension between the two classes, there needs to be major effort to overcome those issues,” Ms. Bolinger said. “Honestly, I have very vivid and positive memories of those games. I’m happy it was a part of my high school experience.”

Mrs. Cusmano talks about the importance of correctly putting teams together and holding students to a contract in order to ensure that nothing inappropriate would take place during the game.

“I think you have to watch how teams are matched up [in order to participate in Powder Puff again],” Mrs. Cusmano said. “I think you need contracts the way we do with ‘Night with the Stars’ and Lip sync, where you have a strict code of conduct, and I think that you would have to make sure that if it’s done for a charity event people naturally have better behavior.”

Ellison talks about how she would want to participate in Powder Puff because she thinks it could really enhance school spirit in the student body.

[I would] definitely [participate in Powder Puff], it’d be a way to bring more school spirit to our school,” Ellison said. “It brings the community together and adds school spirit and would bring all girl athletes together as well as other students.”

Mrs. Cusmano thinks that if Powder Puff were to be brought back to Rochester, students would have to work hard to make sure that it wouldn’t be taken away again.

I think that what people need to be aware of is that once you take something away and it’s brought back, that fear of having it being taken away again is a really powerful motivator,” Mrs. Cusmano said. “So if you’re like this could be taken away again, people will obviously believe it, and they’ll believe it for awhile.”