Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Celebrating 20 years of football fun Daisy style
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 6143 times since Wed Jan 15, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The Diesel Daisies are celebrating 20 years, a journey of sports, camaraderie, friendships and fun, said one of the team founders, Linda Wagner.

"My, how time flies," said Wagner, 59. "We started out as a C-league team and over the years have added a more competitive B-team. The Daisies compete in flag football tournaments around the country."

Wagner and others were playing softball decades ago on a team called The Pitts, which was sponsored by the restaurant Zazu, owned by Julie Ansell and Orla O'Keeffe. At a party one night, Ansell had the idea that they should get a team together for the upcoming flag football season. All agree and thought it was a great idea, Wagner said.

But, "we had no idea what we were getting into," she said, laughing. "The idea of playing flag football sounded like fun, and provided us all with an opportunity to see our friends after softball. Unfortunately for us all the other teams had a bit of experience. The rules were a lot different back then and the game was much more physical. I can remember not being able to walk up the subway steps on Monday mornings because I was so stiff from the beatings during the games [played on Sundays]. There were no rules on attire and we had teammates who played in jeans and cut-offs."

The Daisies didn't have a playbook back then, "but we had a lot of enthusiasm … and beer," Wagner said. "It took us six games before we got our first first-down, and when that happened, all the players and fans stormed the field as if we just won the Super Bowl. We had to have won at least one game because I don't remember going 0-8. After the games, the team would hang out and nurse our wounds."

Memories, though, are priceless.

"I remember one Sunday, a couple of weeks into the [first] season, and we pulled up to the field and saw our opponents who were rather large and tough-looking with mouth guards on chains. I realized that knee-knocking caused by fear was a very real phenomenon," Wagner said. "After a couple of seasons, we started to get more organized and even used some plays from my son's junior football team, and a player from another team actually commented on how unbelievable it was that we actually had a play book.

"One particular game was getting a bit heated, with 'pleasantries' disguised as expletives being hurled by players on both sidelines. One of my teammates came over to some of us who were yelling and asked why we can't all just get along and have fun. I remember thinking that either she was Mary Poppins or I was Attila the Hun. We call her Mary Poppins to this day."

Wagner and BJ Negrete are only ones still playing from the '94 team.

Daisies have included lawyers, doctors, teachers, cement workers, policewomen, artists, accountants, engineers, social workers, hair stylists, librarians, professors, researchers, bakers, and even a judge. "That we all connected is magical," Wagner said.

The team's first sponsor was Marina Cartage, hence the name Diesel Daisies. Another long-time sponsor, Tre Kroner, still supports the Daisies. A current sponsor is Mullen's Bar and Grill. "In addition, we have a very loyal fan base, many of whom have watched our team since the beginning," Wagner said. "We always thought about advertising for fans with coolers, but word of mouth did the trick.

"We have a reputation for being a boisterous, fun-loving team. During one game, after being a couple of touchdowns ahead, the offense scored, and the players went off the field over to the grill and were munching on hot dogs and beer, never noticing that the defense intercepted [the ball]."

The referee actually had to whistle for the offense to return.

The Daisies competed in the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, which Wagner said was an honor.

"We played against a couple of teams we met many a weekend before [the Games started] in our Sunday league, but here we were playing on the Midway in Hyde Park. It was unique and memorable," Wagner said. "We organized fans to come and watch us compete, including a famous mystery author and co-workers in uniforms and noise-makers. The crowning achievement was winning a bronze medal. The victory party at Carol's Speakeasy was also unique and memorable."

One season, the Daisies played in the local championship game, but lost to a team called Mood Swings, which ended up in the competitive A-Division. Another season, the Daisies went 8-0 before losing in the playoffs.

The Daisies also have dressed—and played—in costumes around Halloween, which was a tradition until the league clamped down on attire, Wagner said. "We also played in a game that became known as the Mud Bowl, where everyone was slipping and sliding and the referees couldn't keep up with the flags.

"During one game, our coach, who is a mild-mannered Swede, was seeking clarification from the ref on a call, to which the ref yelled to her across the field, 'Shut your pie hole.'"

Wagner is certain the Daisies will continue to shine as the team always has an influx of new, younger players. "My partner Janine [Hoft] and I have talked about retiring from playing, but will come out to the games and broadcast play by play, which will certainly include color-commentary.

"The team is always rejuvenating, reinventing itself. We look for fun, competitive women to join the Daisies. We have standards. Rookies have certain 'responsibilities' to help the team. We've had great coaches throughout the years, and our two teams are guided today by Leslie Wallin, BJ Negrete, Linda Horwitz, and Sally Kolin. Sometimes during games it's really hard to hear their instructions, but they love us anyway.

The Daisies were the lone female team competing last summer in the annual Pride Bowl, held in Chicago, featuring teams from across the U.S. and Canada.

"It was a great experience to wear our blue and yellow and hear the name 'Diesel Daisies' pass the lips of new competitors and officials," Wagner said. "We were treated as royalty, although we did not actually score more points than any team we played. We won the tournament's Spirit Award. We so enamored one referee that he pulled a Daisy aside and whispered he would look the other way if she just clocked her opponent."

Wagner's ever-present humor side shined brightly when asked her 2014 goals: "Stay out of the ambulance, hospital and emergency room," she said.

Wagner, who usually plays offensive guard and has been nicknamed "Shredder," said the team's longevity is attributed to "the fun, the competitiveness, the frustration release that comes with playing flag football."

Wagner added: "Not to sound like a cliché, but the Diesel Daisies are really one big family. These guys are my besties. I feel very lucky to be able to be a part of this wonderful group of women. There's not one I couldn't call at 3 a.m. … well, except for one or two.

"We sat down and tried to remember all of the people who have played for the football team over the years and the list was over 100. Once a Daisy, always a Daisy. Each year we celebrate our season with a Daisy Banquet, where we are all treated to very creative awards, written and performed by our coaches, BJ and Leslie Wallin.

"I never thought we'd be at it this long, but it's really rewarding. We laugh a lot and enjoy being with each other. Then there's the babies. A number of Daisies are mothers, some even grandmothers. The Daisy seedlings can be found on the sidelines at most games. It's a family affair."

Here's a look at some of the members of the 1994 Diesel Daisies:

—Julie Ansell, who now lives in San Francisco, is a lawyer who was the executive director of Chicago's Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing and currently serves a chair of the board of Frameline, a nonprofit media arts organization that produces the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

—Linda Wagner is now the chief financial officer of the Chicago Foundation for Women.

—BJ Negrete started the competitive Daisies team and is its quarterback. She is an artist and laborer.

—Cheryl Tadin and Sandra King worked for the City of Chicago. Tadin's brother's trucking company was the team's first sponsor.

—Kathleen McNamara was known as "Mary Poppins" for her sunny disposition and intrepid optimism, is a social worker with a suburban Police Department.

—Abby McEnany is an actor who performs internationally with Second City.

—Gina Olson was a student and activist who currently works at the University of Chicago.

—Cathy Traceski, known as Cat Lady, played most of her football career as wide receiver with the Daisies until she moved to Connecticut last year.

This article shared 6143 times since Wed Jan 15, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SPORTS Sky's Vandersloot named to All-WNBA Second Team 2021-10-15
- Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot has been named to the 2021 All-WNBA Second Team, per a team press release. This is the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall Vandersloot is an All-WNBA honoree. It also ...

Gay News

SPORTS Blackhawks drop season opener against Colorado 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Blackhawks fell in an early hole and couldn't recover, falling 4-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in the season opener. Colorado scored thrice in the first 10 minutes of play, which proved ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars power past Orlando 1-0 2021-10-14
- The Chicago Red Stars, behind an early Kealia Watt goal and a clean sheet from Cassie Miller, defeated the Orlando Pride at home (Bridgeview's SeatGeek Stadium) Oct. 13 by a score of 1-0. During the game's ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky lose in OT to Phoenix; finals tied at 1-1 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Sky fell to the Phoenix Mercury 91-86 in overtime in game two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Phoenix's Footprint Center. Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot dished out a team-high 20 points ...

Gay News

SPORTS White Sox eliminated from playoffs 2021-10-13
- The Chicago White Sox's season has ended. The Houston Astros advanced to their fifth consecutive American League Championship Series on Oct. 12 by defeating the White Sox 10-1 at Chicago's Guaranteed Rate Field in game four ...

Gay News

SPORTS Raiders coach resigns after anti-LGBTQ, racist emails surface 2021-10-12
- Following recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times detailing the use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms by Jon Gruden in emails reportedly dating back to 2010, he has resigned as Las ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars fall to OL Reign 3-2 2021-10-11
- Mallory Pugh returned to the scoresheet with a first half goal and Tatumn Milazzo scored her first career NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) goal in the second. However, the Chicago Red Stars fell to the OL ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win first game of WNBA finals 2021-10-10
- The Chicago Sky are going into game two of the WNBA finals with a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Phoenix Mercury 91-77 in an away game on Oct. 10. The Sky had six players in double figures (all five starters ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win, advance to first finals since 2014 2021-10-07
- The Chicago Sky are headed to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014, as the team defeated the Connecticut Sun 79-69 in game four of the 2021 WNBA playoff semifinals on Oct. 6 to win the series three to ...

Gay News

Chicago Sky player named to WNBA All-Rookie Team 2021-10-05
- Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans has been selected to the 2021 WNBA All-Rookie Team. Evans is joined on the squad by Aari McDonald (Atlanta Dream), Michaela Onyenwere (New York Liberty), Charli Collier (Dallas Wings) and DiDi ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH Pro baseball player Glenn Burke refused to live a lie 2021-10-05
- You could say that Glenn Burke, the first Major League Baseball player to come out, is having a good season. In March, best-selling author Andrew Maraniss published a thoughtful biography called Singled Out: The True Story ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago White Sox hold Pride Night 2021-10-04
- On Sept. 29, the Chicago White Sox held Pride Night. LGBTQ+ activist Gary Chichester threw the first pitch of the game—which featured the White Sox taking on the Cincinnati Reds—at Guaranteed Rate field. BMO Harris invited ...

Gay News

SPORTS Muguruza wins Chicago Fall Tennis Classic 2021-10-04
- On Oct. 3, Garbine Muguruza strengthened her qualifying chances for the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara after coming back from a set and a break down to win the last 10 games to defeat Ons Jabeur, 3-6, ...

Gay News

SPORTS Women's soccer commissioner resigns in wake of scandal 2021-10-04
- National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Commissioner Lisa Baird resigned after approximately 19 months on the job amid allegations that a former coach engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct, NPR reported. ...

Gay News

SPORTS Sky edge top seed Sun to take 2-1 playoff lead 2021-10-03
- In a game that featured 16 lead changes and 10 ties, the Chicago Sky made clutch shots down the stretch and edged the Connecticut Sun in game three of the 2021 WNBA playoff semifinals 86-83 at ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.