WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids football team is making waves in the lives of its players.
For some, it has been a lifelong dream.
“I started liking football when I was little,” said Maria Boers, a wide receiver and defensive back for the Grand Rapids Tidal Waves.
“I wanted to play in middle school but my parents wouldn’t let me,” she recalled, laughing. “It was play with the boys or you don’t play, so my parents did not like that option.”
“But you would have done that?” News 8 asked her.
“Oh, heck yeah!” she quickly replied.
For others, it was a sudden chance to actually play the game they grew up watching and cheering for.
“I’m a (Detroit) Lions fan, always have been, and just always enjoyed Michigan State football and high school football,” said Tidal Waves running back and defensive tackle Amy Breukink. “I found out about the Tidal Waves, not realizing that Grand Rapids had women’s tackle football team, and was just floored.”
For all, a rare opportunity.
“For me, I’ve always loved football, I just never had that opportunity,” Tidal Waves co-founder, quarterback and linebacker Pam Blazo said.
Five years ago, she was living in Belding and playing for a women’s team in Flint.
“I used to drive an hour and a half one way to practice and then decided, you know, there’s enough people that used to commute from Grand Rapids, that, let’s get a team started in Grand Rapids,” Blazo said.
So she did just that, co-founding the Tidal Waves in 2018, West Michigan’s only women’s tackle football team.
“Some (of the players) are here just for the love of the game,” Blazo said. “Some are for the love of the family aspect, because we truly are one big family. Some just want some way to get aggression out, you know, get rid of their workday and come out and be able to hit people. It’s perfectly fine.”
It’s now a team of nearly three dozen, with a wide range of backgrounds, and with a roster ranging in age from 20 to 47 years old.
“Everything I expected, moreso. I’ve created a lot of friendships,” Boers said.
Each are now considered sisters, many of whom, otherwise, may never have crossed paths.
“A lot of the women I’ve told are just like, ‘That’s amazing.’ I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback. My husband’s not a huge fan, but he supports it,” Breukink said laughing.