The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

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Lost traditions: The revival of powderpuff

Numerous students have argued to bring back the famous “Powderpuff” tradition, but admin still needs convincing

As Friday night light season commences its Homecoming game, Arcata High Students are bringing up an issue with football, flag football, in particular. Numerous students have argued to bring back the famous “Powderpuff” tradition, but admin still needs convincing.

Powderpuff was banned at AHS in 2018 for being too disruptive to the school community and participants. So, Leadership has not organized another game since. The same isn’t true for other district schools, however. Last year, McKinleyville High held a Powderpuff game that students say promoted community, as well as intensified school spirit.

“I’d say the boys who played football for our school really stepped up and were good coaches for us. It was a really positive experience whether you won or not, it was really fun,” said Lacie Rink, a Mack High student who participated in Powderpuff as a junior last year.

McKinleyville High principal Nick Collert was on board with the idea of organizing another Powder Puff game this year, whereas Arcata High’s principal Ron Perry still isn’t. Perry takes issue with the concept of Powderpuff games in general.

“The name, ‘Powderpuff’ is offensive to women and the sport was created in a time when women didn’t have their own sports teams,” Perry said. He’s also concerned that Powder Puff isn’t consistent with RISE values, especially inclusivity. Making sure every student has a place in each activity is essential to Arcata High, and Perry feels that Powder Puff might not exemplify that.

Among those who may have strong feelings about the connotations of this tradition include women and people who identify as transgender. When asked what she thought about reviving Powderpuff, SAGA member Rory Pitts said, “One issue could be excluding trans people from participating, so there would definitely need a clear statement saying anyone can participate as long as you identify, so everyone feels included. But I think it would just be a ton of fun.” Senior President of Women’s Advocacy, Natalie Dreyer seemed to echo Pitts’s idea of reform as well, “In the past, it has definitely had negative connotations and enforced gender stereotypes, but I think the way the students want to carry it out this year will be more about having fun and empowering female athletes,” she said.

Many student-athletes around campus feel similarly to Dreyer. Senior soccer player Soquel McDonald gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” when asked if she would participate in Powderpuff given the opportunity. Male athletes are also supportive of the endeavor, Junior cross country runner Lincoln Paff said of being on the cheer squad, “I’d go out of my way to do it.”

While AHS seems passionate about reviving Powder Puff, it’s clear that the school admin won’t be on board until changes are made. For now, students and admin will continue communicating and working together to reach a RISE-friendly solution to the Powderpuff dilemma. Hopefully, come spring, something will be worked out.

“It brings people together, Juniors, Seniors, all genders of athletes, and really anyone who wants to be involved. We should run it back. It’d be fun,” ASB President Melanie Luh said.

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About the Contributor
Kyndle Eisner
Kyndle Eisner, Production Manager
Kyndle Eisner is a senior at Arcata High School. Before high school, it was one of her main goals to be a part of the school newspaper. Although this was not able to happen her first three years of school, she was able to attain this goal this year. Writing and discussing issues in the community have always been something she’s enjoyed. The Pepperbox now gets to be that public outlet for her. Growing up third gen-Humboldt, she holds a unique perspective on life in Humboldt. She has always been interested in investigative journalism and finds writing enjoyable. As a female dual-sport athlete for soccer and basketball, she enjoys writing about sports.
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