Thursday, September 17, 2015

My NIECE the FOOTBALL Star!

The Headlines:

It's awesome how far Women have come.

Now the question is... how far can we go?

I think as far as they want.





Back in the day, I loved going to my high school football games.  I attended every one.  I was required to... I was part of the team.  Not the football team of course.  The other team on the field.  The cheerleaders.

Nowadays, women aren't just cheerleaders.  We've come a long way.  A few months ago... news broke here in Arizona about a woman, Jen Welter, coaching Arizona Cardinal Football Players.  It was a BIG story.  Perhaps the first instance of a female coach ever in the NFL.  As I listened to all the hype I started to think about my own family.


That's right.  My 8 year old niece, a third grader, is not on the cheer squad.  She's actually played flag football for 2 seasons... now entering her third.  When I first heard it a few years ago I thought it was a phase.  So did everyone else.  But now we're not sure.  Her father, is employed by the Carolina Panthers and works for the NFL.  So she has access to everything football and has spent much time with her family on football fields...

so it stands to reason she'd want to follow in her Dad's footsteps.  But actually PLAY ball?  Now that was a new one.  As time goes on, some of us no longer think it's a passing phase.  Pun intended.  The girl really wants to be a football player when she grows up.  She tells everyone all the time.


What strikes me more than anything at this point... is how far we've come.  Because an 8 year old girl football player, though totally awesome, is kind of no big deal anymore.  Which is really how it should be, right?  People, including her BOY teammates, fully accept and respect her.  Shoot, she even scored the the longest touchdown pass of the season during their final game last year!  Her fans were proud... but there was no parade.  

So the acceptance is there but how far up does it go?  The real question on everyone's mind is will she ever really be able to take it as far as she wants?  Can she, or any woman for that matter, ever PLAY in the NFL?  I would be willing to bet, if she was good enough, she could.  It really is just a matter of time before some woman does it.    


I know that's a long way off... but what's not so far in the future is 7th grade.  When she has the chance to try out for her school's tackle football team.  She wants to be the kicker.  
But, to me the very best part is simple:  I love love love that my niece can be on the football team one day and the next she can dress like Elsa from Frozen.  Because at that moment she wants to be a movie star.  

And that's what growing up should be about.  Learning, striving, falling, dreaming, creating and loving it all along the way.  So today she may want to be a professional football player... 


but tomorrow who knows what she'll be.  Maybe she'll break records.  Maybe she'll wow crowds.

Or maybe she'll just do what she wants.  And that's okay too.  In fact, that sounds just fabulous to me. Because shattering glass ceilings are important but looking in the mirror... that's even better.