For the Polar Bears of Woodward High in Toledo, Ohio, the football season ended on a down note with a 15-13 loss to the St. Francis Knights. For the tearful placekicker, it was worse: The last point-after-touchdown attempt was blocked. Still, the Bears had won six and lost four, giving them the best Woodward record in 13 years. For the placekicker, there was additional consolation: She had the honor of being homecoming queen.
Tamara Browder, 17, athlete, scholar and homecoming queen to Woodward’s 1,600 students, was a bit nonplussed when she was picked to be royalty in September. “The first thing I thought,” she recalls, “was, ‘Oh, great. Does this mean I have to start wearing makeup?’ ” She decided not to monkey with her unaffected appearance. Indeed, she showed up for the final game on Oct. 27 with two black eyes, from a kick in the head during a boys’ soccer game.
Tamara’s sports achievements make Bo Jackson look like a layabout. By graduation next June, she will have 16 varsity letters. She is goalie and captain of the boys’ soccer team, right fielder on the boys’ baseball team, guard on the girls’ basketball team, is a discus thrower and shot-putter and is a top scorer on the mixed bowling team. She also plays bass in the school orchestra, speaks fluent German and maintains a 3.7 scholastic average.
Tom Inman, the football coach, discovered Tamara when he saw her booting a soccer ball around as a sophomore. “knew she was a good soccer player, and I knew she had a great attitude,” he says. Inman invited her to try out, and her foot and eye swiftly won the boys’ admiration. Last season Tamara kicked 11 of 15 points-after. This year she made 15 of 23, with seven blocked and only one miss, and two of three field goals.
All this leaves little time for social life. “If you never had something, you don’t miss it,” she says. “About twice a year a guy asks me out, and I have to think about what you’re supposed to do on dates. The guy says, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I say, ‘I don’t know. Aren’t you supposed to go to a movie or something?’ ”
Her crown hasn’t changed her outlook. “Homecoming queen,” Tamara says matter-of-factly. “You think of a snobby, stuck-up girl. All the guys on the football team tease me because they know I’m not the homecoming-queen type.”