Team Tuesday: FWISD Flag Football

As Fort Worth ISD celebrates Women’s History Month, FWISD is honoring those who made history in sports for the Team Tuesday Theme. FWISD was one of the first school districts in Texas to introduce flag football as a varsity sport. Flag football isn’t yet sanctioned by the UIL, and most districts don’t compete in flag football. FWISD teams play each other throughout the regular season before competing against one another in the playoffs. If flag football is introduced statewide, FWISD will be the pioneering district to introduce the sport to the state.

Part of the reason FWISD Director of Athletics Lisa Langston worked so hard to bring flag football to FWISD was to help satisfy Title IX requirements. Now that flag football has been around for a few seasons, Dr. Langston and many others have seen the profound impact the sport has had on the coaches and players who make it all possible.

“In athletics, we’re able to work on a ton of those intangible skills, like teamwork and learning resiliency and perseverance and knowing how to deal with adversity,” Langston said. “There were so many players who had never [played flag football] before, so they had to understand the challenge of learning the rules and all that.”

“I just saw the progress from all the girls. What was especially pleasing for me was to go into year two and hear from college coaches who had watched our players in year one about the growth they had seen in our players. NAIA schools have scholarship opportunities for young ladies in flag football.”

FWISD has had several of its graduates go on to play flag football at the collegiate level since the sport was introduced. Despite the desire to bring flag football to FWISD, the process of doing so wasn’t always easy. Even though the facilities exist to host the sport, Dr. Langston still had plenty of work to do to ensure that flag football would be successful in FWISD. It was a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys that really helped Dr. Langston gain momentum in bringing flag football to FWISD.

“I had no idea that the Cowboys were looking for the opportunity to invest with a local school district with flag football,” said Langston. “Using the contact with the Dallas Cowboys, that’s when things really started to take off. We were able to work with Nike Grassroots for our uniforms and we received a grant from the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation to assist with equipment that we needed.”

From there, Dr. Langston made sure she could get officials to officiate the games and found an insurance plan to help protect athletes. Once everything started to come together and flag football became more of a reality, Dr. Langston and the athletic department had to decide when to host the flag football season. Football and soccer dominate scheduling in the fall and winter, so the spring made for the best fit.

Flag football has grown in popularity so much so that the sport will be included in the 2028 Summer Olympic Games, set to be hosted right here in the United States. Dr. Langston believes that flag football’s inclusion in the Olympics will help it grow throughout the state of Texas, and she encourages other school districts to consider the opportunities flag football might provide to students.

“I think what might really assist us is the 2028 Olympics,” Langston said. “I think the Olympics will bring a lot of attention to the sport. I think the NFL’s recent Super Bowl ads featuring Diana Flores, the flag football star, I think those things are going to contribute to the growth of the game.”

“I do know that each year since FWISD has been offering flag football, I have gotten calls from other school district athletic administrators asking me different questions about what it takes to offer flag football.”

Dr. Langston often mentions to other school administrators and those throughout FWISD just how much flag football has enriched the student experience for those who have participated in flag football so far. For many of FWISD’s flag football athletes, flag football was their introduction to playing varsity sports. For all the benefits flag football has brought to FWISD, Dr. Langston believes all the work was worth it to provide more girls an opportunity to have the cool experiences that come with playing flag football.

“We always talk about the value of interscholastic athletic participation,” said Langston. “Basically, all we’re doing is giving more girls an opportunity. We’re just trying to reach more students, and who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s almost as simply put as that.”