Women’s team Tennessee Train just loves playing football.
Breaking down the walls of female stereotypes is a truly daunting task. Women have proven over and over that they are capable of fulfilling roles that have been labled “male only”—think Rosie the Riveter, Secretary of State, multi-million-dollar authors. What do all of these women have in common?
They long to stand out for their skill, not their gender.
A group of local women aren’t asking for permission. They are stepping off their “life benches,” suiting up, and tackling the barriers head-on. Chattanooga, meet the Tennessee Train (TNT), our women’s football team.
TNT grew out of the previous team, Chattanooga Locomotion, when it lost its funding several years ago. A group of veteran players got together and decided they could not sit around and wait. They had worked too hard and had come too far to simply sit and hope for a financial savior. Now, with two seasons under its belt, TNT is gaining momentum and looking for new recruits.
After wrapping up season one with a 1-7 record and season two with a much improved 5-3, the team is pushing to go undefeated this season.
Tryouts are happening now and will continue until January. Step up and join this team of women who are a balance of silly and serious—teammates are playful and keep their friendships in perspective, but once the pads are on, game face is displayed. Corri Bischer, defensive end, advises fence riders, “Just come out and observe. It’s not as scary as you think. If you’ve never even seen football, we are willing to work with you to get you where you need to be.”
Starlisa Horton, the team’s president and a Train player, explained that she had always longed to play football. Like all other women who yearned to enter the forbidden male world, she was told “no” in high school. Horton decided to sign on to be the high school team’s watergirl in order to learn about the sport. To this day, Horton’s mother does not approve of her decision to play a traditionally all-male sport, but does support her regardless of their differences.
When asked about the difference between a male team and a female team, both Horton and Bischer echo, “Sisterhood.” Not only do they support each other on the field, but they also work together off of the field when personal problems arise.
Bischer explained that when someone needs a home repair, advice for buying a home, and especially emotional support, “We call someone on the team.”
The Tennessee Train is made up of women ages 17 and up. They’re teachers, business owners, realtors, and farmers.
Asked how the team felt about negative stereotypes, Bischer responded, “[We want to be seen]as women who love football, nothing more, nothing less. I would tell them to think of all the stereotypes they think would involve women football players, and secondly, add in all the stereotypes that would not fit the women’s football player stereotype. Lastly, add all of those together and that is what makes up our football team and all the women players around the world. We are everything the world is. We are just in pads playing the game of football.”
Contact TNT at facebook.com/TennesseeTrain, tntrain.comm or TennesseeTrain12@gmail.com