DeVivio, Perissi Tackle Football Sharks
It was 6:34 in the first quarter of the New York Sharks’ first regular season game last Saturday. Their opponent, the Atlanta Xplosion, punted the ball from their own 35-yard line.
Most likely due to the rainy and wind conditions, the ball fluttered high in the air and did not travel at all. The ball bounced at the 38-yard line of the Xplosion. The Sharks’ Lori DeVivio watched intently as the ball was still bouncing on the ground.
"I heard one of their lineman say don’t touch it, don’t touch it!," says Lori DeVivio. "I was near the sideline and I quickly grabbed the ball".
DeVivio streaked down the sideline with a 35-yard touchdown run to give the Sharks a 7-6 lead. The team would eventually come back from a 21-7 deficit by scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win 28-21.
It was an exciting start to the beginning of a hopeful championship season for Rockaway’s Lori DeVivio and Anne Perissi.
A Belle Harbor native, DeVivio relished the chance to return to the New York Sharks, a women’s professional football team who play in the 19 team Independent Women’s Professional League. Her association started with the Sharks in 1998 when they first started as a flag football team.
DeVivio has played in flag football competitions from San Francisco to Key West in Florida, in which she won the MVP just recently with the Sharks. Her passion for football started at an early age.
"Football is so ingrained in my family. I went to (New York) Giants home games when my father was a season ticket holder", says DeVivio. "It was an integral part of my life growing up."
The intensity that she brings is present for every game. As a corner back/wide receiver, DeVivio is involved on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. As the veteran in a young Sharks defensive backfield, it is her responsibility to guard the opposition’s best receiver but also lead as well.
"I like defense better because de fense wins championships. I’m always looking to pick off the ball" ,says DeVivio.
After leaving the team to finish her master’s degree for the 2003 season, DeVivio had the time to return to the gridiron to rejoin her teammates. Her passion does rise when she talks about playing the sport and it
"You got to be dedicated to go out on the field. I’m putting my career at risk if I get myself hurt," says DeVivio, who is a physical education teacher at Long Beach High School. "I’m proud to be surrounded by girls who have a passion to play."
Perissi Loves Football
Growing up, Rockaway native Anne Perissi would play football anytime she could get with her three brothers.
"I was always the last to get picked", Perissi laughed. "It didn’t stop me from playing."
It wouldn’t stop Perissi from playing baseball, soccer and the other sports that she loved. Always wanting to play football, she was searching on the In ternet when she came across the New York Sharks website.
Perissi says, "I saw the notice for the tryouts last September and they said that I had made the team". But just to make sure to the new coaching staff that she made the team, Perissi went to the third tryout.
Though the coaching staff was surprised, it showed to the coaching staff that Perissi is dedicated to getting on the field.
"We don’t get any money for this. We have to raise $1,000 to play, buy equipment and for travel expenses. We’re playing for the love of the game."
As a rookie guard, Perissi did not get off the bench in the first game. Her dream of playing professionally is something according to Perissi that women who want to play football can also accomplish.
"I always say to leave your book oen and follow your dreams. Don’t give up."
The New York Sharks will host the New Hampshire Freedom on Satur day April 17th. The game will be played at August Martin High School with kickoff at 3pm. The game can also be heard at www.nysharksfootball.com.