Girls learn football fundamentals

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- St. Amant Middle School teacher Wayne Grenfell helps Jada Howard, 13, put on a helmet while Ke'Aisha Keller, 11, left, looks on Dec. 20 during physical education class. The girls spent four weeks learning football basics.
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- St. Amant Middle School teacher Wayne Grenfell helps Jada Howard, 13, put on a helmet while Ke'Aisha Keller, 11, left, looks on Dec. 20 during physical education class. The girls spent four weeks learning football basics.

Forty-five St. Amant Middle School sixth-grade girls are watching football games this month with a little bit more understanding and knowledge thanks to a plan by their physical eduction teacher.

Teacher Wayne Grenfell’s plan was simple — teach the fundamentals of football to his female sixth-grade physical education students.

“I wanted them to learn this so when they sit down at home with their brothers and daddies watching football they can relate,” he said. “I wanted them to understand the game.”

To accomplish his goal, Grenfell had to develop a curriculum, get it approved and get permission from the parents to implement the course.

Principal Christy Bourgeois said she was impressed that Grenfell, a former high school baseball coach, wanted to tackle teaching football to the girls.

Grenfell said he was inspired to teach the class when he learned that one of his students, Elise Hineman, 11, played youth football for the Galvez Tigers.

He started the class after Thanksgiving break and ended the session on the last day before the Christmas holidays.

Grenfell decided to concentrate on teaching offensive fundamentals because “everybody likes offense.”

The girls learned the different positions and how to line up in formation, he said.

On that last day of class, the girls got a chance to strap on pads and wear jerseys and helmets for a practice session.

Layla Cardosa, 11, who wore the number 77 jersey for the practice, couldn’t stop jumping up and down after donning the equipment previously worn by her male classmates.

“It just makes me want to jump up and down,” Layla said.

And, for some reason, it also made her want to giggle.

Most of the girls were giggling as they tried to adjust the pads and pop on the helmets.

“They just can’t stop giggling,” Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois stopped by the gym to watch the girls practice.

She praised Grenfell for providing the girls with information they usually wouldn’t learn in a physical education class.

“I wish I would have dressed out with them,” said Bourgeois, an avid football fan.

Shae Jacob, 11, said she felt a “little boyish” decked out in her jersey and helmet.

After going through a few warm-up drills, the girls ran a few pass plays and posed for photos.

“Put your hands on your legs and look mean,” Grenfell said as he snapped a team photo.

Dakato Corley, 12, was all smiles as she successfully caught a high pass from Grenfell.

Grenfell said that not all the girls were excited when he first talked about the football class.

In particular, Marissa Babin “gave me every mean face in the book when I started talking about this.”

“Now, she loves it and I call her Marissa ‘Football’ Babin,‚ÄČ” he said.

Grenfell hopes to continue the course next school year to teach defense and special teams to the seventh-grade girls.