McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Little Jazmyn waited patiently for that moment when her mother would spin her around.
Another player walked off the field with one hand intertwined with her boyfriend's and the other clutching her helmet.
Thirty players make up the Mystics, which competes in the Sugar 'N Spice Football League.
In just its second season, the league has squads that hail from Corpus Christi, Laredo, Austin and San Antonio.
Games are on 8-on-8, and they are contested on a field 50 yards long and 28 yards wide. More than 70 showed up for tryouts. The Mystics will play a four-game schedule.
Their next game is scheduled for Saturday at Corpus Christi, with the first home game set for Aug. 3 at a site to be announced.
Martinez isn't your stereotypical burly offensive lineman. Not many are slender 26-year-old single mothers of two daughters. Martinez is that, and she pays her bills by being in charge of several promotional groups, like the RGV Canvas Dolls, who serve ring girls for local boxing matches.
And for the next two months, she is going to be a football player — something she never thought she could be.
The narrative is similar for these mothers, sisters and wives — all football fans — who now have a chance to do what they have never had an opportunity to do before.
Because they are female.
"It's empowering for women to go out and do something that you are not supposed to be able to do," Martinez said.
For linebacker Alexis Normendez, 23, empowerment stems from a desire to prove people wrong — mainly men.
"My heart skipped a beat," Normendez said about when she found out there was going to be a women's football team in the Valley. "It was something new, something different. I just wanted to tell the guys I can kick your (butt) in football," said Normendez, a 2007 Edinburg Economedes graduate.
Normendez said playing football also serves as another outlet for keeping fit. Clearly, though, Normendez loves contact. She said she played several sports in high school, "everything, except golf and swimming, because you can't hit people in those."
The Mystics won their debut game two Saturdays ago in San Antonio, when they defeated the Texas Cowgirls, 8-6.
Nicole Stoffel, 28, a McAllen resident and San Antonio-native, accounted for the Mystics' only touchdown in that game, a 23-yard reception from Yoli Pena, who is a boxer and the team's quarterback.
Stoffel is a personal trainer by trade, but she said it took her awhile to get accustomed to playing football. The conditioning and just getting used to wearing the equipment was an adjustment.
Like many of her teammates, when she discovered she could get a chance to play football, she took it.
"At first, when I found out, I was really excited," Stoffel said. "As I was growing up, I didn't have a chance to play a full-contact sport. When the opportunity came, I just jumped on it."
Edinburg native Michele Chavez jumped on that chance right as the window was closing. The 42-year-old mother of three sons tried out after someone has posted a note about the team on her Facebook page.
"I thought, 'How cool is that?' " Chavez said. "It said they were looking for girls between the ages of 18 and 46, I'm still within that age group."
Chavez, a nurse practitioner, is the only 40-something on the team, which has a median age in the mid-20s. Chavez keeps herself in shape by training for various local running events, mainly 5Ks and 10Ks.
Two of her now-graduated sons played football in high school and she has another who plays youth football. She said watching her son's play football influenced her decision to try out for the team.
Chavez has been surprised by how well she has kept up. She's earned the nickname, "Rudy," because she said she keeps coming up after she gets knocked down.
"I'm hanging in there, and I love it," Chavez said. "I kind of take a momma role in it."
Santiago Cruz, an account executive for KGBT-TV, coaches the team. He plays semi-pro football in the area and noticed a group of women trying to play football nearby his team's practice last May. When he inquired about what they were doing, he found out about the Mystics, and shortly thereafter, he became their coach.
Why would he want to coach this team?
"I noticed they were struggling to get it off the ground," Cruz said. "Being that I live, breathe and sleep football, I saw the future of this was bright, and I wanted to be a part of it."
The biggest obstacle for him was teaching the game to a group of people who really didn't know much about it.
"We started from the basics, like 'This is a football,' " Cruz said.
What's helped the process, he said, has been their team's athleticism. He said nearly all of the players have athletic backgrounds, and that has made the learning curve easier.
"I was surprised," Cruz said. "They've all played track, basketball, volleyball."
That athleticism is apparent to those outside the team too.
An onlooker who lives near Bicentennial Soccer Park, where the team practices, said it all as the Mystics ran through passing drills:
"They are puro athletes, no? They are not pushovers."
Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.