|05-15-2003, 11:09 PM||#1|
NetShrine Creator & Curator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NetShrine WHQ
Granny Got Game
Who could play her in the movie of this story? Estelle Getty?
Chambers, 70, Having 'Fun'
In Women's Football League
She Rarely Sees On-Field Action
By MIKE BRANOM
.c The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 13) -- Charlotte Chambers' application stuck out among the dozens from hopefuls who tried out for Orlando's fledgling Independent Women's Football League team.
In the space for date of birth, Chambers wrote "1932.''
Surely that must be a mistake, Orlando Starz CEO Marsha Beatty thought. But it was no error, as the teammates of the retired teacher known as "Miss Charlotte'' soon found out.
"Sports has always been my thing,'' Chambers said last week, two seasons into her playing career as Orlando's reserve safety. "But growing up, you would never think of a woman playing tackle football because that's the way society was geared.''
Chambers, who is indeed 70, used to get her football kicks through her devotion to the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
Now she has a chance to lace up the pads and butt helmets with women less than half her age. And if those opponents don't want to hit her out of respect for their elders, the great-grandmother of four isn't about to play nice.
"I say, 'You better hit me, because I'm laying you out,''' Chambers said.
Added Beatty: "Last year, I thought I should tell the other teams to go easy and not hit her too hard. But now I'm afraid she's going to hurt somebody. When she puts on her uniform, all this aggression comes from somewhere.
"Charlotte's ready to hurt somebody -- she uses the word 'death.'''
The Independent Women's Football League, founded in 2000, is one of at least four full-contact women's leagues currently operating. It has 21 teams across America and Canada.
Chambers isn't big, measuring 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds with a low center of gravity. But she has a quick gait, thanks to daily five-mile walks and aerobics, plus football practice twice a week. "I'm in this for the fun and exercise,'' she said.
An athlete dating back to her days in high school basketball ("I had a mean left hook shot''), Chambers is a firm believer in a use-it-or-lose-it philosophy when it comes to fitness.
"You have to work for it!'' Chambers shouted after a game, sweat from her helmet matting down a thinning Afro. "You have to earn it! You have to earn it! You have to earn it!''
To be honest, Chambers doesn't see much action for the winless Starz. During Orlando's 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Terminators last week, she was on the field for only four plays during a goal-line stand. She never saw contact, aside from falling on a pile when a run ended short of a touchdown.
But on-field play is not the point of Chambers' inclusion on the roster, her teammates say.
"She's our Rudy,'' linebacker Mona Mitzenius said, comparing Chambers to Daniel "Rudy'' Ruettiger Jr., the undersized yet scrappy Notre Dame football player whose life became a movie after playing 27 seconds during a two-season career. "How can you complain when Miss Charlotte's running the hills with you?''
Chambers also is the team's spiritual leader, befitting a woman who has taken her faith seriously enough to attend Hartford (Conn.) Seminary. Before and after games, she leads the players in prayer for health and strength.
With the word spreading about Chambers' accomplishments, she's turning into a celebrity. At Orlando's last game, crews from two Japanese TV stations hung on her every word, from the pregame pep talk to a postgame cheer. Later this week, she's flying to New York for appearances on 'The Early Show' and 'The Late Show with David Letterman.'
Chambers is mobbed by fans young and old. Following a loss in Miami two weeks ago, the throng of well-wishers grew so thick, Beatty said, people were reacting as if "she was a superstar, like one of the N'Sync boys or something.''
Although the league could use all the attention she's bringing in, Chambers insists she is not a publicity stunt.
"Listen, I'm two years into this, right?'' an intense Chambers asked a reporter. "Last year, nobody said squat.''
Chambers wrapped up last Saturday's game by reminding everyone of who they are and why they were there. The players took a knee at midfield of the high school stadium and gave Miss Charlotte their undivided attention.
With a raspy shout that carried the length of a long bomb downfield, Chambers said, "When I say 'women,' you say 'football.'
"Football!'' four dozen sweaty warriors replied.
05/13/03 16:10 EDT
Steve, Forum Administrator
POSTING TIP FOR THE DAY: When composing a post, think about what you would say if the intended recipient was an individual who was actually sitting just two feet in front of you, in person, rather than just some far away and anonymous audience who only can identify you as text on a PC screen - - and then write your post in that manner. It makes for remarkable and sincere discourse.
|05-16-2003, 12:42 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Scrappers territory
Thanks for a great story. I'd like to see the poor slob who tries to steal her purse!
Estelle Getty? Hmmm ... how about Bea Arthur?
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