Strengthening the Chain

Tiffany Loomis of the Madison Cougars football team reflects on what her leadership role has taught her.

I am a six-year veteran of Women’s Professional football, currently playing on a newly formed team called the Madison Cougars. Circumstances are such that this year I am leading not only by actions, but by verbal instructions as well. Football is a very grueling sport that requires one’s full efforts until the play is done. As an Army veteran, I recognize the fatigue and nervousness on the faces of my teammates. Part of what makes football a great sport, however, is the mental and physical toughness needed in order to meet that challenge. Football is a team-oriented sport allowing no room for individuals to quit without adversely affecting the team. As a team leader, being able to see the excitement and anticipation in our rookies’ eyes has constantly renewed my passion for the game.

In the past, I was more of a solid player and silent leader amongst my team. This reinforced my self-confidence and prepared me to step up this year to help teach the game itself. The old adage “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” has been our team’s mantra this year. Leading and teaching these younger players has shown me just how true that statement is, as our team of predominantly rookies has taken the field by storm in procuring a winning record!

As an Army veteran, I have been given the opportunity to attend college. I am currently a full-time student pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. I am a personal trainer for Anytime Fitness in DeForest and manage a functional training gym called Phitness Plus. My experience playing and teaching football with the Cougars has allowed me to lead in situations that I may not have otherwise had the experience to do so. The knowledge and confidence that comes with playing on a professional team has proven, and will continue to prove, imperative as I continue my career in Sports Management. Finally, learning how to successfully lead a team—whether it’s on the field or in the office—is an invaluable skill.

As the Cougar team continues to grow in number and popularity, I see many young members of the LGBT community becoming involved. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be both a positive influence and a strong role model for them. In fact, the LGBT community in Madison has been overwhelmingly supportive of our new team. I feel as though this sport, and our endless fundraisers, has drawn us all a little closer together. n