When I grow up I want to be just like my daughter!
My 10 year old daughter joined the football team this fall.
It is full-tackle and the team is all boys. To put it mildly “she was the talk of the town”.
It all started last fall when tackle football was made available to grade school age boys. She had her interest piqued. At the turn of the year she asked the football coach if girls could play too and he assured her they could! As we neared summer and the time to register for Fall Soccer she again said I want to play football instead this year.
My daughter then made a list of why it would be hard or she might not want to do it.
• What if I’m the only girl?
• What if people talk about me?
• What if the boys don’t like it?
• I might be embarrassed.
• I’ll be all alone in the locker room.
• What if I’m not good at it?
Then she did something truly amazing…after talking over this list and many other possible outcomes she chose to play anyway!
She went to practice every day and did all the drills. She got so hot and sweaty I thought she would pass out. She got tackled and she tackled right back. She found that she loved it. She learned the plays and she earned her spot – Starting Left Tackle Offense. It was on the way to a scrimmage that she said to me “I want to try really hard so the boys won’t be upset or disappointed in me!”
Then I began to hear back from other moms. It seems the boys were talking and what they said was positive.
I would like to nod my head in gratitude to a group of fourth thru sixth grade boys who had the character and grace to extend a little patience and see what she could do. They did not bully, they not say anything negative to her and they didn’t treat her different. They just gave her some time to try.
These boys were incredible sportsmen.
There were high school boys who sought her out at the high school football games because she was wearing her game jersey and said things like “Oh, you must be the girl who is playing football.” And my daughter said to me “Mom, he was a stranger!”
At Subway last week my husband and I ran into an acquaintance and mentioned football season and that both our son and our daughter played this year (our son was on the Jr. High team). The man said “I heard something about that.” I’m sure he did!
When I look back over her list of negative possibilities I see that most of them did come true. She was the only girl. She was most certainly a novelty that was talked about on the street. She did get embarrassed at times and had to get back up and go again. She and I and the junior high volleyball team were “alone” in the locker room.
But, she was good at it.
The other day she and her Dad had an entire conversation about what is a guard and a pulling guard and what play sweeps right…it all gets a little foggy for me there. How many 10 year olds, boy or girl, can have that conversation?
She learned so much and not just about football. She learned to try new things even when it is unconventional. She learned to take a hit and get back up for more. She learned to keep going when you are sore and tired and your ankle hurts. Most of all she learned the only way one can truly earn respect.
It is not my desire that she “tackle” all that is male dominated in this world. But I do wish for her to never forget the lessons she learned from football. I know I won’t soon forget!
It has taken me decades to muster up the kind of courage my daughter possessed to try out for football.
• What if I stepped out and did something no one else ever did before in my town?
• What if I was alone when I did it?
• What if it was embarrassing?
• What if people talk about me or worse criticized me?
• What if I fail?
• But, what if I’m good at it? What if I succeed?
“He who leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.”
~ George, Lord Halifax
Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~ II Timothy 1:7 NLT
I’m going to make me a list and then I’m going to tackle it!