“McALLEN — Little Jazmyn waited patiently for that moment when her mother would spin her around.
It finally arrived, but not until Aimee Martinez took off her helmet and shoulder pads. Martinez picked up her 6-year-old daughter and twirled her around until they were both dizzy.
Considering moments earlier Martinez was knocking helmets for the RGV McAllen Mystics women’s football team, it was a nice reward after a hard afternoon of practice.
Yes, football practice. Women’s football practice.
Another player walked off the field with one hand intertwined with her boyfriend’s and the other clutching her helmet.
Welcome to the world of the Mystics, a full-contact women’s football team that is playing in its debut season.
Thirty players make up the Mystics, which competes in the Sugar ‘N Spice Football League.
In just its second season, the league has squads that hail from Corpus Christi, Laredo, Austin and San Antonio.
Games are on 8-on-8, and they are contested on a field 50 yards long and 28 yards wide. More than 70 showed up for tryouts. The Mystics will play a four-game schedule.
Their next game is scheduled for Saturday at Corpus Christi, with the first home game set for Aug. 3 at a site to be announced.
Martinez isn’t your stereotypical burly offensive lineman. Not many are slender 26-year-old single mothers of two daughters. Martinez is that, and she pays her bills by being in charge of several promotional groups, like the RGV Canvas Dolls, who serve ring girls for local boxing matches.
And for the next two months, she is going to be a football player — something she never thought she could be.
The narrative is similar for these mothers, sisters and wives — all football fans — who now have a chance to do what they have never had an opportunity to do before.
Because they are female.”