(Springfield, Va.) - Just days before the regular NFL season begins, the D.C. Divas are reminding us that the Redskins aren't the only game in town! The Divas' General Manager, Rich Daniel, and three members of the 2015 National Championship team visited Greenspring retirement community on September 2 to kick-off a new resident-driven program, Football 101.
Football 101 is aimed at providing an instructional give-and-take for the game of football and was launched by Greenspring resident, Steve Guback. Guback, a Hall of Fame sportswriter, recently retired from his more than 55 years of work with the Redskins. He covered his first game in 1959, and up until this year, still traveled to FedEx Field and served as a spotter in the press box. For years at Greenspring, Guback has hosted a "Talking Sports" program, inviting local sports experts to campus for discussions on the D.C. area sports teams.
"He's a Hall of Famer," said Daniel of Guback. "To be asked by him [to visit Greenspring], and to have us be recognized, really means a lot."
At the first Football 101 program at Greenspring, members of the D.C. Divas shared insight into their 15-year history and the reasons they play the game:
- "The Divas are a family," said #60 Rachel Huhn, who plays on the offensive line and is an eight-year veteran on the team. Huhn also coaches youth football for 10-15 year-olds and hopes she inspires more girls and young women to follow their dream.
- #51 DeVon Goldsmith is linebacker and has played five seasons with the Divas. "Basketball was my first love," said DeVon, who didn't start playing football until age 20. "Being is a Diva is one of the most rewarding things I could've done for myself." Also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Goldsmith admits that she loves to sack quarterbacks.
- #33 Donna Wilkinson spoke about her 15-year career with the Divas and how the team and the sport has changed over the years. Nicknamed "the Animal," Wilkinson mentioned that there are more players coming to tryouts now with 80-100, versus the 35-40 that used to show up. "There's also more receptivity to women [playing football]," said Wilkinson.
Daniel and the Divas also took questions from residents in the audience. When asked about the rules and regulations, Huhn shared that they follow NCAA college rules most closely, but play on regular NFL-length fields. The topic of concussions and player safety was also raised. Wilkinson spoke about the advances in helmets and that players are encouraged to take time off after a concussion; there is a required two-week off rule.
They all agreed that the 2015 National Championship win this August in Dallas was one of the most memorable experiences of their Divas careers. Wilkinson cited that even early on in the season, she felt "championship energy" among the team.
Local residents can catch another glimpse of the D.C. Divas this year as they will take part in the Halloween Parade this October in Alexandria, Va. More information about the Divas can be found at dcdivas.com.
ABOUT GREENSPRING: Greenspring, one of 18 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of whom reside in the community's 1404 independent living apartment homes. At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.