The closest Kelsey Butz has ever come to participating in a football game is kicking back on the couch and watching it on TV.
But that’s all going to change Saturday afternoon when the 24-year-old Albany resident takes her position on the field at Saratoga Springs High School in the Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football game to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
Since early spring, the all-female teams have been practicing their plays.
“They’re serious. This is going to be a football game,” assured committee chairwoman Jody McQuiston of Malta.
Last year the Brunettes triumphed. Butz is confident the outcome will be different this time.
“The Blondes have been practicing pretty hard for a few months, so I think we have a pretty good shot,” she said.
‘Blondes vs. Brunettes’
WHERE: Saratoga Springs High School, 1 Blue Streak Blvd.
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday
HOW MUCH: Adults, $10; Children under 12, $5
MORE INFO: After party at 28 Tables, 17 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs
Although game day is fast approaching, Butz still doesn’t have a set position.
“The coaches like to mix it up and they try us in all different positions and are teaching us all the positions and seeing what people like best and where people do best,” she said.
Players were drafted not according to their nimble feet and passing ability, but according to their hair color — or their willingness to change it, if necessary.
“They all have to be blondes and brunettes on game day,” said McQuiston, noting that some of the players dye their hair to match the team’s name. Redheads are allowed to play on either team.
Team members range in age from 21 to 47, come from all different backgrounds and participate for a host of reasons.
Butz plays because she works for Colonie Senior Service Centers, which serves many Alzheimer’s patients.
“Millions and millions of people are affected by Alzheimer’s and in coming years the number of people affected is going to increase substantially,” she said.
McQuiston chairs the event in honor of her mother, Marilyn Clark Weaver Bayer, who began exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s in her mid-50s and now, at age 78, is in the end stages of the disease.
This is the second year the Blondes and Brunettes put on the football fundraiser. Last fall, they scored more than $25,000 in donations and this season they’re launching a Hail Mary attempt to raise $50,000. Each team member has pledged to raise $125 and coaches will raise $250. Funds are also generated through sponsorships and admission fees to the game and a post-game victory party.
The main goal of the game is to raise money and awareness in hopes that one day Alzheimer’s disease will be eradicated.
“It’s a fun and lighthearted way to draw attention to a devastating disease,” Butz explained.
And football might not be the only entertainment on tap during Saturday’s game. Butz wouldn’t confirm that there will be a halftime show, but she did say there are some surprises in store.