Spotlight on: Allyson Hamlin

By Jasmine Rogers

This profile was written in 2012.

Today the spotlight is on team captain Allyson Hamlin. Hamlin has been playing with the D.C. Divas since 2002. As a woman who loves family, it was a blessing to her when her father, Paul Hamlin, bought the team in 2004. Mr. Hamlin has been an advocate for women’s sports since Ally’s childhood. Ally is very close with her family, and they show their support by attending every game.

As a quarterback, Hamlin has to make a lot of split-second decisions, any of which could make a game-winning difference. Off the field, she makes those same decisions as a proud member of the Prince George’s County Police Department. Every day, Hamlin trades in her helmet and pads for nail polish, heels, and make-up, as she heads to work as a homicide detective.

Spotlight on: Allyson Hamlin

What is your sports background?
My first love was basketball. I was the only girl on my basketball and baseball teams until I got to middle school. I was a swimmer until I didn’t like how I looked in a bathing suit. I played softball, volleyball, and basketball in high school, and I played softball at the University of Maryland. I played on a travel softball team after college until a doctor told me I had the knees of a 50-year-old! It was easy to walk away from softball at that point, because football had invaded my life by then. I started playing flag football, which led me to the Divas.

What got you started playing football?
A friend convinced me to come out to play for her flag football team, and that was all she wrote. After that first day, I never looked back. I have been playing football all year round ever since. When the Divas first started, I didn’t take it seriously and thought it would never last. Monica Livingston and I decided to check it out that first season, and we couldn’t have been more wrong. Joining the Divas was truly life-altering on so many levels. I owe a lot to our first coach, Ezra Cooper, who believed in us from the beginning and taught us the game from scratch.

What is your biggest accomplishment in sports?
Winning the 2006 NWFA national championship.

Looking back, what advice do you wish someone would have given you about football?
Starting football is like learning a new language. It requires all of your mind and body but at one step at a time. It will never come all at once, and you will have many setbacks. However, if you give it the respect it deserves, you will find that football is not only the greatest sport on the planet but that it will change your life. Also, take care of your body!

What was your biggest adjustment to football?
In football, knowing and understanding how to apply your body must come first. You can’t apply your athletic ability until you first understand the sport. I feel like I learn something new with every practice.

Where do you see the future of women’s football?
I think women’s football has a lot of potential, but we still have a lot of work to do. I dream of the day when little girls have the opportunity to grow up playing football and when it is a legitimate professional sport. That may mean scaling down the number of teams, but if that means keeping the sport alive and well, it needs to happen. For the first time this summer, the WFA Championship will be played at Heinz Field and covered by ESPN3. This is a huge opportunity to gain recognition for the sport.

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
The balance between work, football, and life. The time management is difficult to control at times, but each is a significant part of who I am and relief from the other. I have learned that I can’t do it all and I can’t make everyone happy, but I try to give each aspect everything I have.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
Sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, but whatever you do, never become stagnant. Keep pushing forward and you will be better for it.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
“A thousand times over.” Loving, laughing, working, playing, crying…I try to do it all a thousand times over.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My family, my friends, my teammates, Lynn Lewis, justice, and the officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

What does it mean to be selected by your teammates as team captain?
It means that the teammates I go to battle with every day trust that I will represent them well. As a quarterback, you can’t hope for anything more than that. I take a lot of pride in being a captain.

What does it mean to you to be a Diva?
Pride, love, class, and dominance. More importantly, it means you are a part of something bigger than yourself and are helping pave the way for many young women down the road.

What’s it like having your dad as the team owner?
I think he may be more obsessed with the team than I am! Buying the team in 2004 was a dream come true for him. I know I am fortunate to have been able to take this journey alongside my dad. My dad has always been my biggest fan. Some of my best childhood memories were when he would take me to watch the Maryland women’s basketball team. I didn’t realize how important supporting women in sports was then, but I realize it now. He has always been so supportive of not only the Divas, but all women in sports. He and General Manager Rich Daniel fight every day for us, and that is something I will always appreciate and be thankful for.

Tell us some fun facts about yourself.
I love a great restaurant and good wine to go along with it. I am in love with my dog, Sadie, and I am a diehard ‘Skins and Terps fan. I plan on playing flag football for the Badd Girls until I die. I love to travel, and I have a goal of seeing a game in every NFL stadium. My friends say I’m a panda bear. I adore Jon Bon Jovi. My grandfather, Dallas Townsend, anchored the CBS World News Roundup for 30 years.

About Allyson Hamlin

Name: Allyson S. Hamlin
Age: 35
Hometown: Born in Heidelberg, Germany, but grew up in University Park, Maryland
Educational background: Bachelor of Arts in Criminology/Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland.
Profession: In her 13th year with the Prince George’s County Police Department…she has been a detective for seven years and is currently assigned to the homicide unit.
Years playing football: Flag football for 15 years and her tenth year playing for the Divas.
Sports participated in: Softball, volleyball, and basketball.
Total years in sports: 30