I Believe in Girls’ Football

Melissa - Canandaigua, New York
Entered on August 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that girls should be able to play football because of all the things you can learn from it. Because girls cannot normally play, they miss out on discovering all the things football has to offer. Even though many people think that men are more capable than women, I believe that women are just as proficient. Girls should be allowed to play football without being told they are only doing it for attention and recognition.

I know that some girls are able to play football well because I have proved that myself. I played for a boys’ tackle team and was an excellent receiver and nose guard. At first there was a lot of tension as no one knew how to react to me. When I would go out of a pass at first, the defender would just stand there and not try to guard me because he assumed I would drop it anyways. After I caught all the passes to me, they began to treat me as an equal. I earned their respect after a few practices. They began to acknowledge me at school when I saw them and never went easy on me at practice.

Just because I played does not mean I did not encounter conflicts. A lot of the boys on the opposing teams and even their coaches singled me out often. I was double and even triple teamed and frequently the victim of unnecessary roughness. They made it quite obvious they did not think I should be on the field. It did not help that when I tackled a player of another team, that person’s teammates would give him a hard time about being tackled by a girl. At the beginnings of games, I would sometimes hear the opposing coaches saying what a great player number 83, which was my number, was. That is until they found out that number 83 was a girl. I had to work twice as hard as my teammates to earn and keep their respect. When we ran laps I would have to sprint the whole way and not slow down with the others so I would not be thought of as unable to do it. I remember watching my little brother skimp out on the drills while I was forced to do them all to my best ability.

From all this I learned a lot that I normally would not have had a chance to learn without football. I learned patience in waiting for the respect of my coaches, teammates, opposing teams, and the fans of my team. I learned confidence in recognizing my talent and doing it no matter what other people’s opinions were at the time. Confidence was an important thing to acquire because I had to be able to run plays and make mistakes without worrying about what everyone else was thinking. I learned the meaning of hard work and dedication during the grueling practices every night. Being dedicated was tough because after a long day at school I knew I still had a two hour football practice that night. But for as demanding as it was I always found myself looking forward to it. Lastly, football gives pride in your accomplishments. It makes you feel content and pleased with yourself like when you make a really good play. These traits are not always easy to come by. Football’s strict rules and schedules showed me that I was stronger than I ever thought I could be. I truly love football and the challenges it poses. For these reasons, I believe in girls’ football.