I'm A Girl And I Played High School Football
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I'm A Girl And I Played High School Football

Achieving the "impossible" is difficult but spoiler alert: it's not actually impossible.

I'm A Girl And I Played High School Football

It was in the middle of marching season my junior year. I don't know why or how but looking back I can definitely see why people called me crazy. I loved guard and I still do but back then a part of me was screaming to be let out- to be who I was meant to be, to take this risk that nobody else had taken so far.. Don't get me wrong, guard has definitely played a major role in shaping who I am today and I am beyond happy to say that by the time you read this I'll be at my new home preparing for my first week of college band camp (yay for making tryouts!!), but there was something I had always wanted to do and for some reason hadn't done yet.

I wanted to play football. Yes. You heard me. I, a female -- shocking I know (she said sarcastically), wanted to play football, of all sports. And no, not flag football. No, I wanted to be on my high school's varsity male football team. Oh and before you ask or better yet, assume- no I wasn't a kicker either, I actually decided on being a quarterback.

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I remember laying in my bed as the nights passed going back and forth... Football... or guard? I would be at practice with the rest of my team and the band putting out the new rifle or flag work on the field or learning new drill and all I could think about was being out on the field for a different reason. At first, I didn't understand why I suddenly decided that it was officially time to take this wild chance but the next thing I knew, my parents were walking through the front door and before I could even think about it the words were already leaving my mouth, "Mom, dad, I want to play football.. I want to be a quarterback. I've decided that for my senior year instead of doing guard I would rather do something else.". Of course they supported me, like they always have. That Monday came and I found myself in the head football coaches office after school asking for permission to join the team. We made a deal. I would switch into the weightlifting class second semester (this all began in the middle of my first semester my junior year) and do all of the workouts that the guys had to do and if I still wanted to play that upcoming fall, I would do summer training with the rest of the team and if I still wanted to go through with it after weight lifting and summer training, I would stay on the team.

I will admit, it was not easy. Deciding to play football was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done and put myself through. Between gaining a crazy amount of muscle weight within less than three months and having to get used to that, to jumping straight in and having to learn how to weight lift, to getting used to the conditioning, to coming to the realization that this journey could possibly include just me, myself, and I and that's it (or so I thought at first)- I learned quite a few things.

I learned that there are and there will be people who are completely against what you stand for. I didn't join football to be the first girl on my school's varsity football team and make history. No, I joined to show others that you don't have to fit in and stick to what society claims is the ''norm''. I was a football player who participated in color guard for marching band, played three different instruments, competed in pageants, I tumbled outside of school, did modeling and acting, was in all advanced classes and served in my local church's high school and preschool ministries.

I refused to be what society wanted to make me out to be and I did that by simply being myself. I wanted to inspire others to follow their heart without a care in the world for what others might think. I wanted to set an example for others and show them that the impossible is indeed possible. In doing this, I set out to not only inspire and motivate others but to inspire and motivate myself as well. I needed to prove to myself that I could do this. I was going to stick it out and make it out alive through second semester training. I was going to make it through that summer training camp called SWAT, which never failed to completely kick me to the ground every single day and leave me exhausted. And I was going to make it through that upcoming fall season that I was working my tail off to finally get to. I was going to do it. And I did.

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It wasn't all that easy though and I refuse to sugar coat any of my experience. With that being said, I received hurtful and critical comments from people every single day starting from the first day I decided to take that risk my junior year even up to the day I graduated my senior year. I had a handful of friends on the team but all in all, I often felt alone on the team whether it was out on the field, in the weight room, or when I had to go to my own locker room to change and I was sitting on the bench reflecting back on practice. Hardly anybody wanted to consider me a part of the team simply because of the fact that I was different- and despite what others may say, it was evident. My hair was longer, I wore different clothes outside of practice, I was into different music and hobbies, I sounded different, I wore makeup, I was a girl.

No matter how hard I worked or how much my max went up when it came to lifting, at the end of the day, I was still "the girl who was insane enough to join football" and unfortunately, not a lot of people liked that -- including most of my teammates. I received no special treatment (not that I was going for any). I jumped off of that cliff and dove into the water to pave the way for gender equality even in the smallest of my actions. I was even told by some of my coaches and teammates that they didn't think I would even be able to make it past the second week of weight lifting. Everyone was always ''concerned'' with me getting hurt and they often used that excuse as a reason for me to back out of the sport but I knew what I was getting myself into. I even had some coaches who tried to convince me to join the girl's wrestling team instead of doing football but I refused to let them shake me.

Usually, when those events happen uninvited discouragement starts to set in. You start to feel like they might actually be right. Maybe you should just quit while you're ahead. I won't even lie, even I had those thoughts at first. Until I realized that God had set me out on this path for a reason. I wasn't just doing this because I enjoyed all of the negative feedback, I was doing this because it was in His plan for me. I was serving Him and it hadn't even hit me until the middle of my second semester junior year.

Now if you know me personally, I'm not one to give up. I will fight and give it my all until I know I have done my best. This time, though, sticking it out for the soul purpose of my pride or to prove something to people I didn't even know wasn't cutting it and it was becoming extremely difficult to achieve what I wanted to achieve. My body was growing tired, all of the negativity was starting to consume everything I once thought and knew about myself, and my hope was quickly fading.

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Once it hit me that this wasn't about me and that it was actually about Him (which it always was and I should've noticed it a lot sooner than I did) and that He was always going to be with me, that's when I decided not to pay attention to what everybody else was saying about me. I wasn't doing this for them, I was doing this for Him. He was using me to fulfill a purpose in life and no matter how bad I wanted to quit at times the fact that I knew that He was always with me is what got me through day by day.

So instead of focusing on the negative, I started to focus on the positive. I had a family and I had friends who supported me. I had color guard, which had always been my outlet (I may have given in and done both at the same time which is my explanation for the odd looking picture above). I had teachers, other coaches and former/present teammates in guard and some in football who believed in me. I had people I didn't even know who would come up to me at football games, strike up a conversation and end it by telling me how proud of me they were for doing something that not a lot of people would do. Most importantly though, I had God. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to get through any of my journey without Him by my side.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for The Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

At the end of the day, I couldn't have been any happier with the outcome of the whole journey. I learned some life lessons along the way, ended up giving my life to Christ in the midst of it all and putting my full trust in Him and His plan for me, I gained more confidence in myself and my abilities, I tried something new and I accomplished something that had never been done for my school before and ended up making history but if there's one thing I need to stress about all of this, it's that I couldn't have done any of it without Him. He is the reason.

Standing out isn't always a bad thing and following your heart sometimes doesn't actually make you naive. Always remember that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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