The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Heels and football: clinic kicks off Red and Blue Weekend

If you were to take a walk by Ford Stadium last night, you would have seen some new faces on the field. Instead of DeMyron Martin lining up as running back, you would have seen Karen Gray, in her navy Ralph Lauren pumps and vintage 1940s hat running down the field with the ball.

Gray, an avid football fan and SMU season ticket holder, participated in Head Coach Phil Bennett’s annual “Women’s Football Clinic.”

“It’s fun to see my seat from this perspective,” she said. “I feel like Blake Warren right now with strangers cheering for me. This is a very cool experience.”

In addition to running actual plays on the field, the clinic taught the 120 women the different positions on the field, the hand signals for penalties and the importance of scoring position.

Gray feels that the clinic helped fine-tune her knowledge of football.

“The most valuable thing I learned tonight was about the different backs,” she said. “I didn’t know about the positions before, like who’s on defense and who’s on offense. I basically knew who the center and the quarterback were before I came tonight.”

For Gray’s friend and fellow ticket holder Cecily Carrera, she just wanted to be able to talk knowledgably about football, and also for the t-shirt.

“I always saw ladies at the games with their shirts on, and I wanted one,” she admitted. “I’m definitely a football fan, but I don’t understand the particulars of the game. Now I can participate in intelligent conversations about football with men I work with, rather than just be a listener.”

Bennett hoped for women to walk away from the night with that attitude.

“We want them to be informed about the game,” he said. “It gives them ownership at SMU, and I think it gives them a feel for what we’re about. So many times, the public doesn’t understand what the coaches are about; they’ve got great personalities and so do our kids.”

Each of the coaches did a demonstration on what each of the positions does. Their explanations were complete with game films and transparencies.

They quizzed the women afterwards, and whoever got the right answer was given a free baseball hat.

“I’m a visual learner, so this type of presentation is good for me,” Carrera, an SMU alum, said. “I like handouts because it helps me understand better. I feel like I can get a lot more out of games, and I can enjoy them even more now.”

“We loved meeting our favorite player, Blake Warren,” Gray said. “We’ve been watching him ever since he started playing for SMU, and we love him. I thought it was very cool having a coach and player at each table.”

Among the many things Carrera learned throughout the evening, she was most impressed with the amount of skill it takes to play football at the college level.

“I was amazed at how difficult it is to play football, and how technical it is,” she said. “The guys really have to be smart to pull off all these plays; I had no idea.”

In addition to walking out on the field, the women were given a tour of the locker room, which is home to the coveted Iron Skillet from the TCU victory last fall.

“I would have never gotten to see the Iron Skillet itself had I not been in the locker room,” Gray said. “It feels good to finally see it, and I’m glad that we have it. My entire family went to TCU, but I love SMU.”

The clinic was also means for a fundraiser for the Mustang Club, and this year it raised over $15,000 through ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and a silent auction.

“The money goes to the Mustang Club to help decorate the locker room and put on the senior banquet,” Bennett said.

Each ticket cost $50, but Gray and Carrera are convinced it was worth it.

“The incredible value for my dollar was unbelievable,” Carrera said. “The experience was worth much more than the cost of the evening.”

 

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