How to be a Black Female Football Kicker / by Stillwater Magazine

By Devon Morris

 

Bet your football playing friend that you could play their sport better than them, because it’s not nearly as hard as your sport, soccer.

 

Demonstrate your kicking skills for the football kicking coach.

 

Kick better than the current starting kicker.

 

Request a spot on the team from the head coach, as recommended by the kicking coach and other assistant coaches.

 

Encounter rejection without reason.

 

Realize the reason is that you’re female.

 

Know that your femininity does not diminish your value.

 

With the support of friends already on the team and the assistant coaches, attend every practice despite the head coach’s aversion to your presence through consistent disregard.

 

Spend at least 3 hours — daily — after school standing, watching, and feeling isolated from the team at football practice.

 

Occasionally, and casually, explain to family, friends, and teachers the reasoning behind your protests: sexism is unacceptable.

 

Don’t forget about soccer practice every night afterward.

 

Once the season ends, receive a school-wide email from the Athletic Director that the head coach has been fired.

 

Jump for joy, but in a very classy and subtle manner as to not be rude. Don’t sink to his level.

 

Decide at that moment to try out for the next season.

 

Cry from exhaustion after completing the first day of workouts.

 

Continue attending workouts; quietly suffer.

 

Recognize all your muscles strengthen substantially.

 

Be shunned by the majority of the boys on the team because you’re a female with a boyfriend, and you’re not interested in “being initiated.”

 

Try out for the kicking position and quickly humble your competition.

 

Kick at your first game and almost shit your pants.

 

Remarkably flourish into a talented kicker, and hide your laugh after glancing over at your teammates’ pleased, stunned faces.

 

Earn the starting position.

 

Listen to coach tell you to pick soccer or football, not both.

 

Tell your dad, then watch him write a very detailed email proposing a “both/and” alternative to the coach’s “either/or” declaration.

 

Listen to coach tell you that if you do both, you’re not allowed to fuck up.

 

Tell him you won’t fuck up.

 

Attend 3-hour football practices, then 2-hour soccer practices every day.

 

Cry, again, from being so tired all the time.

 

Finally start the season after 3 months of training.

 

Kick so well at your first home game that some parents applaud you while others frown in disappointment shortly after realizing you’re a girl.

 

Miss 2 field goals in your first away game and have your confidence shattered. 

 

Don’t forget to embarrass yourself and show your vulnerability by breaking down in front of everybody.

 

Receive a small bracelet from your biggest fan, a 6-year-old girl.

 

Remember why you’re doing this and how strong you can be. 

 

Don’t quit.

 

Listen to a teammate yell at someone for running like a “little-ass girl.”

 

Continue to persist through sexist verbal abuse from your teammates and occasional slips from coaches.

 

Listen to coach yell at you for inevitable mistakes, but don’t try to understand why, because he told you not to fuck up in the beginning.

 

Be the best person and friend you can be through it all by avoiding drama with teammates and staying professional.

 

Watch your closest teammate pass out from heat exhaustion, and be his right-hand man as he recovers.

 

Get into a fight with him about your significance on the team, resulting in him not speaking to you for 4 weeks.

 

Recognize you no longer have anyone on the team to go to for support, and experience alienation like never before.

 

After coach recruits another, stronger kicker, prove that accuracy is better than power and that you can be just as powerful anyways.

 

Kick your max field goal of 42 yards.

 

Remember, boys will always have an advantage over you because they’re boys and it’s a boy sport.

 

Talk to one of your black coaches and listen to him:

 

“Just do you, and that’s all you can do.”

 

Realize that being on the team doesn’t mean the coaches and team aren’t sexist.

 

In your last game, hear your coach tell you that the other kicker is out with a concussion and that he wants you to do an onside kick.

 

Line up and take a deep breath.

 

Perform a perfect kick.

 

Run after the ball.

 

Look slightly up to your left and hear a pop against your helmet from the linebacker.

 

Fly for what feels like 10 yards until you finally hit the ground.

 

Tell yourself you’re okay.

 

Attempt to get up and realize you can’t move.

 

You’re not dead, just scared. So start to cry. Again.

 

When you finally hear your coach come over, and he helps you up, ask him if your mascara is running.

 

When he laughs and says no, stop crying.

 

The last thing you need right now is makeup on your helmet.