Passion for the Game

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WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 12, 2015 — Like most college students, West Liberty University student Rose Christian is getting ready to return to campus and the books. Unlike most, her summer included the thrill of being part of professional sports as a member of the world champion Pittsburgh Passion.

The Pittsburgh Passion held off the Utah Falconz, 41-37, on July 24 to win its second straight Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) title. The IWFL championship game was played in Rock Hill, S.C. The championship game win capped a second consecutive undefeated season for the Passion.

“(The IWFL championship game) is basically the Super Bowl for women. We have been undefeated for two years straight making us now 22-0,” said Christian, a Smithfield, Ohio native who now lives in Steubenville.

Owned by Hall of Famer Franco Harris and Teresa Conn, the Passion has been around since 2002 and play their home games at Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Conn also is co-head coach with Harvey Smith and co-owner Harris.

Rosie, as her teammates call her, played linebacker and special teams for the Passion. Standing only 5 – 5 and weighing in at a mere 155 pounds, she’s one of the smaller defensive players in the league but her versatility is a strength.

She missed only two games all year in her rookie season due to a back injury but saw action in the other nine games to come away with an official IWFL championship ring that she proudly wears. Christian runs and works out at Planet Fitness in Steubenville to stay fit during off season. She also works part time at Applebee’s in Steubenville.

A criminal justice major at the university, she loves sports and played basketball during her high school days at Buckeye Local. Due to her commitment to the Passion, she can’t participate in sports on the Hilltop but she is a huge fan of Hilltopper Athletics.

Christian was adopted at age 10 and is pleased to claim two moms, her adopted mother Mary Christian of Smithfield and birth mom Peggy Sims of Steubenville. Her two dads are Sheridan Christian (deceased) and Duane Sims of Steubenville.

She’s proud to be a part of women’s football and continues to train in hopes that one day she might make the Olympics, if and when women’s football is approved for the international arena. She’s also happy to share the joy of athletics with other women and especially youngsters.

 “I just want to share this achievement with campus because I represented for my school, family, friends, and all the girls and women who wish they could have this opportunity. It was a great experience,” she said.

Her season isn’t quite over yet since the World Champion Passion team members will be meeting with Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto on Aug. 24. They’ll be honored with plaques and fanfare.

“It was such an honor to play for a team that is owned by a sports legend like Franco Harris and coached by Teresa Conn. It’s more than just a game for me. The other players are like my sisters. We’re so close we use the hashtag #istandbymysisters on our social media posts,” she said. “I love playing for this organization.

Christian will have to try out again for the team in September. But with her enthusiasm and experience, she should do well. To keep up to date on the Pittsburgh Passion during the offseason, you can go here, or like them on Facebook and follow the team on Twitter.

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