Greenway wears several helmets with Venom

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

  
As co-owner, general manager and player, Susan Greenway wears several helmets with the Tennessee Venom of the National Women's Football Association (NWFA).
   Greenway shares the ownership role with Jeff Gethers, who is also the Venom's head coach. "He is a great motivator whom I respect a great deal," Greenway said. "He has not only been a partner but also a coach to me as well. He has helped me understand the game better than anyone.
   "I have had adversity with taking on the ownership responsibilities and I would have to say that the young ladies on our team have been wonderful in understanding our obstacles and we are growing and hoping that the community will embrace us and help us follow our dream."
   As the team's general manager, Greenway handles all the business aspects of the organization. She makes sure that all information, business needs, equipment and activities are handled in the proper manner.
   "I let the players know what is going on with the team and answer any questions they may have concerning the team," Greenway said. "My job as general manager consists of daily activities of the organization, ordering equipment, supplies, game day organization and organizing public events, news releases, media relations etc.
   "I would like to find someone that could take over the general manager's position, to allow me to focus more on the playing field, but at this point, I have yet to find someone for that role."
   Greenway became involved with the Tennessee Venom in 2001. "I always played as a child with the boys in school but never at this level," she said. "I was injured the second game of the season, the home opener against Chattanooga. I tore my ACL and was out for the season.
   "At that point, I decided that I still wanted to be involved, so I was asked to help coach the offense and be the offensive coordinator. Although I didn't know the little things, basic game situations and plays I understood. It was a learning experience that I would never take back or want to change the outcome. I was approached by the NWFA to ask if I would be interested in ownership of the Venom. I, at that point did not hesitate. I, of course, said yes.
   "I have chosen to play this year again, which has filled my plate. I could not stand around any longer. I wanted to be a part of a winning season again and I felt like this was the year to do it. These young ladies have really come together, and we have rookies that really compliment our veterans. We have more dedicated, committed players that really want to make this dream come true for us."
   The team has "great" coaches, according to Greenway. "They listen and help with teaching the players the techniques as well as game situations they may or may not encounter," she said. "I find myself in coaching situations that may not be in the best interest of the team sometimes, but it is hard when the situation is right there and you want the players to understand what you see and can do.
   "I love coaching. I would have to say that I did want to play but that if for some reason I was not able to play again, I would be perfectly happy with just coaching the offense."
   For Greenway, football is a fun game. "It is fun because we are getting to play a game that we were always told we should not play," she said. "Just the fact that we are out there is fun. Knowing that you may get beat 26-0 but you still feel like you played as hard as you could, and you will come out the next time and play harder because it is fun."
   The aspect of football that Greenway loves the most is "the idea of teamwork, and it is a chess match, which play you think will work on the next down."
   Both the physical and mental aspects of the game are challenging, according to Greenway. "After a game, you are completely drained mentally, physically and emotionally," she said.
   Strategy - "how can you beat them in every position" - is the best mental quality a football player can have, Greenway said.
   Ultimately, Greenway hopes the Venom will gain a fan base of 1,500-2,000 people per game. She would also like to see the Venom win the league championship.
   Most of the Venom's home games are at Happy Valley High School. Due to HVHS's graduation ceremonies on May 17, the Venom's game on that day will be played at Volunteer High School in Church Hill.
   Last year, the Venom practiced five days a week. This year, the team has been practicing on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30-9 p.m. With the beginning of the new season, the Sunday practice has changed to Monday. The Venom's first home contest of the year is Saturday at 7 p.m. The gate opens at 6 p.m.
   Greenway works full-time for Aerus Electrolux in Bristol, Va., for Network Operations. "I try to balance it all, which is very difficult," she said.