Pigskin photographs

National Women's Football Association team takes to field in Light Street Gallery photo exhibit

July 27, 2006|By MARC SHAPIRO | MARC SHAPIRO,SUN REPORTER

Rich Daniel knows the world may not be ready for the football team he manages.

"There are people in this world that are still skeptical of women in certain roles, occupations and adventures in life," he said. As general manager of the D.C. Divas, Washington's National Women's Football Association team, he certainly doesn't buy into the skepticism.

"I've never been around a harder working bunch of football players," Daniel said. In an effort to get the word out about women's football, an exhibit of photography and art titled Whose House? Our House! by and of the Divas will open at the Light Street Gallery tomorrow and run until Oct. 7.

Gallery director Linda Krensky, whose daughter Sarah is a former Diva and one of the photographers whose work will be displayed, said that this is the first exhibit of primarily photography she's had at the gallery.

"As the gallery owner, I don't rule anything out," Krensky said. "I wouldn't have sought this out, but it's something completely different."

Divas linebacker Raynette Savoy said the gallery will help portray the team as women as well as athletes.

"We can still be feminine but still play the man's sport of football," she said. Many people have trouble believing she plays tackle football until they see it, she said.

"They look at me twice and then they say, `Are you serious? With pads and everything?'"

Savoy is a prime example of the diversity of backgrounds the Divas come from. She is a chemist for Actavis, a pharmaceutical company. The Divas' roster also includes a lawyer, a health consultant, a prison guard, stay-at-home moms, police officers, Baltimore city firefighters and women from all branches of the military.

The players sacrifice time with their families and at their jobs, as well as sleep, to come play. This level of dedication motivates Daniel to work with them on an intense level, he said.

He thinks that women's football is here to stay, pointing out that in addition to the NWFA's 33 teams, there are two other women's football leagues, each with more than 20 teams. The Baltimore Burn is in the Divas' NWFA division.

"Football is really the last major sport that has not been tackled by the ladies," Daniel said. "This is not going away."

He sees the gallery exhibit as an accurate, in-your-face representation of the team.

"Yes, these are women, they are mothers, they are daughters, they are professionals and they happen to be kick-ass football players."

The D.C. Divas will meet the Oklahoma City Lightning in Pittsburgh on Aug. 5 for the league championship.

Opening receptions are tomorrow from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. The Light Street Gallery is at 1448 Light St. Call 410-234-0047 or visit lightstreetgallery.com.

marc.shapiro@baltsun.com

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