As a way of commemorating the one-year anniversary of the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Football Championships in Vantaa, Finland, an all-new expanded documentary titled Tackle the World…Tough Game – Tougher Women does more than just preserve a landmark moment in the game’s growing history. It perfectly captures the passion and emotions of self-confident female athletes, engaging in a remarkable social innovation that serves to propel the game towards a bold future.
Originally, the documentary ran in September 2013 at a movie theatre for the team. This was followed by a December broadcast on a local CBS television station. Currently, the expanded version only opens the window wider into a world of empowerment, sportsmanship and dedication where homage is paid to a group of pioneering female football players.
Considering that the game continues to grow, the preservation of its events on film continues to be one of its most important elements. Whether it is photography or videography, the image immortalizes, resulting in a lasting visual appreciation of the game. As this superlative short film encourages the development of similar projects, it also preserves the spirit of players from the world over. Proudly representing their homelands and their athletic ambitions, viewers cannot help but feel a sense of pride from their accomplishments.
In the same spirit as world-renowned NFL Films, Tackle the World conveys the emotions of the players perfectly. Filmed by Rich Daniel, who also contributes to the female game as a member of the DC Divas front office, he uses the football field and the skies of Vantaa, Finland as his canvas. Chronicling of a world championship event, Daniel’s view behind the lens contributes to a visual masterpiece, praising the efforts of a group of women continuing to break barriers.
From the pre-game talk to the action on the field, the jubilation of triumph and the desolation of loss, no detail are overlooked as raw emotion fills the screen. The obligatory locker room speech only adds to the intensity of the documentary, which Rick Snider of the Washington Post perfectly encapsulates by stating that it is taken every bit as seriously as the NFL.
One of the most intriguing bits of footage comes when a player from the Canadian contingent loses her helmet after being tackled to the ground. For the astute football fan, it brings back memories of Hall of Fame men’s quarterback Steve Young, scrambling for extra yardage, looking fearless as his helmet soars through the crisp, autumn air after a bruising tackle.
In many ways, 2013 represented the game’s turning point. From its inclusion as an Olympic sport, to members of the Canadian team becoming football coaches, to the emergence of Dr. Jen Welter as a pop culture figure, these remarkable results in the aftermath of Vantaa are significant victories.
Such gridiron growth is akin to the rebirth of women’s hockey in the early 1990s, in which the documentary The Game of Her Life helped make the game part of the sporting conversation. Once hardcore fans stopped lamenting that it was women underneath the hockey helmets, choosing to absorb and appreciate the action on ice instead, suddenly, the quality of play was admired just as much as the male game. One cannot help but feel that the appreciation for female football will run parallel.
Action aside, the true substance of the documentary is the way it helps to celebrate the game. With Vantaa as the backdrop, the spirit of sportsmanship and friendship resulted in a sterling display of sporting solidarity and support. Making a solid case that the best is yet to come, it may serve as the greatest victory from Tackle the World.