Field Goal Kicking Homecoming Queen Will Change Your Mind About Girls Playing Football

tiaraI didn't want to be shocked when I read that the homecoming queen at a Michigan high school just so happens to be the same person who -- an hour after being crowned -- kicked the game-winning field goal for the football team. I didn't want to be because everything in me says Brianna Amat is one badass teenage girl. But today she's making me rethink some deep-seated notions about girls and football.

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I'm both a woman and mother of a girl. You could hear me roar from a mile away about girl power. As a newspaper reporter, I once won a state award for sports writing about teenage girls on their high school wrestling team. I am nothing if not supportive of girls in athletics.

And yet, if you asked me for a snap judgment, one-word descriptor of a girl on the football team, I'm ashamed to say my answer would probably be: bullied. Unfair? Absolutely, but there it is. Even in 2011, the girls who scratch and claw their way onto a high school football field have to have a certain "I don't give a f--k" attitude and an ability to hack it in a "guy" world. That's not the best way to "make friends and influence people."

And you know what?

There's nothing wrong with that! I want my daughter to have a bit of a "I don't give a ... you know what" attitude. You don't get to the front of a board room, partner spot, chief gig, without it. Ditto that "screw the 'guy' title" mentality. Consider that glass ceiling shattered.

And yet, there's that part of me that says, "OK, but that's the rough road. I want my kid to have it easy. I want her to be firm in her beliefs, but she doesn't have to break ground ... does she?"

I appreciate where Brianna is standing because she represents a multi-faceted kid. She's not "just" a tomboy. She can gracefully go from accepting the crown at half-time to splitting the uprights with a 31-yard kick on the same evening. She's also got a 4.0 and a seat as class treasurer. She makes the rough road look not easy, but not terrifying from a parent's seat in the stands either. She may be taking a stand as "that girl on the football team," but wouldn't you know it ... her classmates respect her for it!

What Brianna has done, what all her classmates have done, is remind us that no matter how progressive we think we are, we can always go one step further. We can try trusting our kids.

Does this story give you a big smile on your face today?

 

Image via euthman/Flickr

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