Powerbowl: The Start of a New Era
BY MAX KAUFMAN '26 & NEEL KANNAMBADI '26
When a conflict emerges at the crossroads of equity and inclusion, it can be hard to reach an outcome that satisfies everyone. Powerbowl, previously known as Powderpuff, is a flag football game held annually by the Student Council for all students. With the new name came the opportunity for everybody to participate in the game, not just girls. However, recent controversy has risen about the outdated culture of the game and its inclusivity, or lack thereof.
Members of the administration, faculty, Student Council, and the student body have all raised concerns that the name “Powderpuff” is condescending and sexist. It refers to a makeup application tool, and because of this, the word is connected to the high pressure society places on women’s appearances, thus propagating outdated and harmful stereotypes. Ms. Dean explained that this was her main issue with the event, and that she would be open to changing the name to something more inclusive and empowering. New suggestions in response to these concerns have been submitted by members of the student body, such as “Powerpuff” and “Flag Football,” but the Student Council recently decided upon “Powerbowl.”
Additionally, Ms. Dean has voiced that the game is “not gender inclusive” which has also been raising concerns among Student Council members due to the game’s sole inclusion of girls. After discussing this with Paige Pittorino, a senior who was responsible for a petition and an Instagram account devoted to bringing the game back, we were able to understand the perspective of the student body, and those who had participated in the game before. Paige explained that the predominant inclusion of girls in the game stems from the stigma associated with the word “Powderpuff” rather than the rules and culture of the game itself.
Although such valuable goals of inclusion often unite the student population, many feel that this is not the solution when it comes to Powderpuff. Competitive football is already the cause of many injuries, especially among developing teenagers when the injuries can be more extreme. Ms. Dean stated that one of her main concerns was that the team was often underprepared and underequipped, though to no fault of their own. She said that teams did not have access to a professional coach who was trained in first aid, CPR, or other safety practices. Additionally, unlike the boy's football team, the Powderpuff teams do not have access to legitimate training programs involving practice schedules, diets, exercise plans, and more. However, all of these complications can be solved, which is why administrators are actively working towards helping these teams become better prepared. Although Ms. Dean wants these changes to happen, the reality is that they cannot take place overnight. Hiring a professional coach can take months, which is a major contributing factor to why the deliberation has taken so long.
Ultimately, no one wants Powderpuff to be completely canceled. When it comes to community-building activities, nothing has been able to bring people together in quite the same way as Powderpuff has. However, our community can move forward and solve the problem of inclusivity through discussions of modifying the game.
As such, the ABRHS Student Council will be hosting the Powerbowl event at Leary Field at 6:30 on Tuesday, November 22—right before Thanksgiving break! Tickets will be sold at lunch starting November 14. For students who want to play for $20, T-shirts can be pre-ordered on the Good Morning AB E-Mail and the Student Council’s Instagram account (abrhs_stuco).