An event that has averaged more than 350 participants during its nine years will again have the Lady Rebels charge out of the tunnel and onto Hollingsworth Field Saturday morning with gameday fervor.
For the newcomers, or freshmen as they are called, it's an exciting new adventure, this day-long event which focuses on all aspects of football. For the veterans, or upperclassmen, it never gets old. Several have participated for all nine years.
"I'm extremely excited again," said Chyna Ward of Ole Miss football, who has headed it up all nine years. "I believe it will be one of our best years ever."
One of the reasons is that Ward has decided on a new approach to having former players or guest speakers for the event. This year, rather than having the usual one speaker, she will have a panel of five former players come in to talk and visit with the participants.
Wesley Walls, Cory Peterson, Jesse Mitchell, Ronnie Heard, and Tom Luke are taking part in this year's forum.
"I'd been wanting to do this type theme for a while," Ward said. "This year it worked out that we were able to do that, and we're looking forward to all those former players joining us."
Another change this year is rather than having just one of the coordinators talk about his side of the ball, the entire staff of the offense will take part. Last year the focus was defense.
There will be several stations with each of the offensive coaches. The participants will divide into groups and move from station to station to learn about each aspect of the offense.
"We're going to focus even more on Xs and Os doing it this way," Ward said. "That way we believe the ladies will learn even more football."
Learning more football is certainly one aspect of the event. But it is also held to let the ladies have their special day with Ole Miss football and also to grow the Rebels' fan base in that regard.
"This is the one day a year that the ladies can get together and have their own fun with Ole Miss football," Ward said. "On this day, grandfathers, fathers, and sons are envious of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. We already have ladies from 14 states registered, from California and Utah, to Maryland and Virginia.
"The first year we had this event, we had 167 total participants," Ward continued. "This year, we'll have more than 200 here for their first time."
Clearly the event has been a major success for nearly a decade. And its future appears just as bright.
To register for Saturday's Ladies Football Forum, call Chyna at 1-662-915-1564 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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