Everyone should aspire to ‘play like a girl’


Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash.

By Avery Lieberman, Lead Features Editor

We are all well aware that 2020, and now 2021, have been nothing short of difficult. Despite a contagious virus and a divided political spectrum, women have taken this past year as an opportunity to break down barriers, especially when it comes to the sports world. Football has always been depicted as something only boys could play. It was viewed as a strictly masculine sport because of the tackling and violence it includes. Recently, however, females have been breaking down this barrier, proving that “playing like a girl” is something that everyone should aspire to do. 

Sarah Fuller, a senior at Vanderbilt University, made history by becoming the first female to ever play in a “Power 5” college football game, according to a Today article published on Nov. 28. Fuller was recruited to the team after the team’s specialists were benched due to COVID-19 exposure. Even though she was the third woman to play in a Football Bowl Subdivision game, she was the first to play in a Power 5 game, proving to girls everywhere that women are just as capable as men, even when it comes to football. 

Another example of women making history in the sports world occurred at the SuperBowl, where Sarah Thomas became the first female to officiate a SuperBowl game. According to a Profootball Network article published on Feb. 22, Thomas began refereeing at first the grade school level, then moving up to the high school level. After receiving recognition for her work, she was hired by Gerry Austin, Conference USA’s supervisor of officials, and became the first woman to officiate a major college football game in 2007.  Then, in 2015, she was hired as a full-time officiate in the NFL, making history as the first female to do so. More history was made during this year’s NFL season, as Jennifer King became the first black woman to hold a full time position in the NFL. Washington D.C’s football team promoted her to Assistant Running Back Coach for the 2021-2022 season, according to Essence. King has plenty of experience working with the NFL, as she participated in NFL coaching clinics, attended the Women’s Career in Football Forum and even played professional football for three women’s leagues. 

On the surface, it may seem predictable that women are playing larger roles in the football world as women continue to break more and more barriers, especially after inaugurating our first female Vice President. However, the importance of these women making history comes from the extreme impact it has on young girls. By seeing women like them being represented in all of society, including football, little girls will be more open to doing whatever they please, even if society doesn’t support it. The fact that women are important figures in football is a huge step in the right direction, demonstrating that we are moving toward breaking the barrier between gender norms once and for all.