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This professional football team is challenging assumptions about women in sports.

It may be spring, but there's one football league already back on the gridiron.

The teams are athletic.


All images and GIFs via Upworthy/YouTube.

The runs are epic.

And the players are women.

Don't worry, that's a look Callie Brownson is all too familiar with.

It's the face she gets when she tells people she plays women's professional football. Most people don't expect it, but Callie and her teammates hope to change that.

Callie Brownson gets ready to take the field.

Callie is a wide receiver for the D.C. Divas, a team in the Women's Football Alliance.

The professional league includes 45 teams, divided into two conferences and four divisions, similar to the NFL. The teams play an eight-game season, followed by intense conference playoffs and a national championship.

In 2015, the D.C. Divas went undefeated.

Despite their prowess on the field, some people still have their doubts.

A women's football league challenges many outdated notions of femininity, athleticism, and strength. No matter how popular women's sports get, the athletes remain hyper-sexualized and undercut at every turn — like this piece last year from FIFA about soccer forward and children's book author Alex Morgan, calling her "a talented goalscorer with a style that is very easy on the eye and good looks to match."


The athletes in the Women's Football Alliance are playing a game they love, and they compete with ferocity. The blocks are hard and loud, the passes are on point, the games are just as competitive and fast-paced as any other semi-pro league, and none of the women have time for your hangups.

Or as Callie put it:

She doesn't let that stop her. It only drives her to play harder.

Because it's not just about her. It's about the kids who see Callie and her teammates as role models.

The next generation of athletes — maybe even football players — watch the D.C. Divas' every move on and off the field. It's a responsibility the players don't take lightly.

"If you remember being a kid and looking up to somebody doing something that you wanted to do,if they were a positive role model and they made it seem like that dream was possible, you wanted to do it," Callie told Upworthy. "And that's what we have to continue to do. We have to continue to fight the good fight."

A future Diva keeps an eye on practice.

You can join the good fight by checking out a women's football game (or any women's sport, for that matter) in your area.

Bring your family, go with friends, and make a day of it. Just take some time to support the athletes and competitors who don't always get the accolades or attention they deserve. Your presence and your ticket dollars can go a long way toward keeping opportunities like this around for years to come.

Watch Callie tell her story and see the D.C. Divas in action in this Upworthy Original video.


Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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