My little girl playing football?

Have you heard about Erin DiMeglio, the first girl to play quarterback in a Florida high school football game? DeMeglio is the third string quarterback on a roster is filled with college prospects. “The star running back has committed to Miami, and its starting quarterback has offers from Navy and Air Force.”

She apparently has a cannon for an arm and has earned the respect of her teammates because of her skill and poise on the field .

DiMeglio had proved herself to the other players during spring and summer workouts, so when she officially joined the team, it was met with a respectful shrug. She has her own changing area in the girls’ locker room, and at the seven-on-seven camp last summer, she shared a room with the cheerleading coach. Otherwise, she is one of the guys, and they are protective of her.

As a father of a three year old girl, I read this story and had two divergent thoughts:

  1. Based upon the way I played tackle football and my frequent attempts to inflict bodily harm on my opponents, I would not want my little girl playing the game with a bunch of boys who are larger and stronger than she.
  2. I can’t imagine the pride that a father must feel upon learning that his little girl possesses the courage and inner fortitude required to play a game normally reserved for boys and men.

As the two opposing thoughts waged battle in my mind, I tried to imagine what I might say if Clara ever came to me and expressed a desire to play high school football.

Presuming she had the skills to play, it would be a tough call.

While I might attempt to steer her in the direction of a sport where her competition would consist of  fellow females, I can’t imagine stopping her from trying something that few people have ever attempted before.

That’s the thing about courage:  It cannot exist without risk.

If we protect our children from danger at every turn, we deny them the opportunity to be brave.

So no, I would not want my little girl to play on a boy’s football team, and yes, I would be bursting with pride if she did so.