- At Home
We all want the best for our kids, and want to give them the opportunity to follow their passion.
Whether it's playing the guitar, writing, drawing, or playing a sport - when children show an interest in something, we want them to feel free to explore it.
But what if your daughter wanted to play football? I'm not talking flag football or a pick-up game with friends. I am talking full equipment, tackle football.
Just yesterday, there was a story in the news about Erin DiMeglio - a high school senior who's the third string quarterback for her school's football team.
And she's not the only girl on the football field. Last week during my five-year-old son’s football game, all the parents were abuzz about the fact that there was a girl on the other team. At first glance, you couldn’t tell which one was the girl. She had her helmet on with her mouthpiece in, her shoulder pads and jersey, and was lined up at the line of scrimmage ready for the game. But when I looked down, I did notice the cute pink and black shoes with pink laces!
The little girl was Ayla Galloway - a six-year-old first grader from Jarrettsville, Maryland who has the courage to get out on that football field, tackle, block, and run with the ball with boys. I was able to talk to her mom Tina during the game; she was so nice, and it was obvious that like any mom, she just wants the best for her little girl!
Ayla (who is also a soccer player), decided she wanted to try football after spending last season as a cheerleader for her big brother's team. But after a year on the sidelines, she and her parents knew that cheering was not where this girl should be!
While she's been playing football with her seven-year-old brother Aidan and her dad, Dan, for years, playing with a group of five and six year old boys was going to be a bit more challenging. When her parents asked Ayla before her first practice whether she was worried about playing, the only thing she said was, “I am worried the kids will make fun of me.”
Her dad gave her the best advice: “The kids will most likely make fun of you or say something about you being a girl, you are playing a sport that is pretty much all boys. Do not say anything back, but show them on the field how tough you are and how good you are.”
Tina told me the first play of her first game, she sacked the quarterback! “When the other team of boys see that she is a girl when she takes off her helmet, they can’t believe it,” said Tina.
Not only is Ayla tough and a good athlete, she is also a girly girl! You can find her (in full football uniform) pushing her baby stroller with her American girl doll up to the field. She also asked the coach if she could wear a pink helmet!
I thought it was also so sweet when her mom told me Ayla just wants to make her parents and brother proud. I could see that for myself, especially since after every play Ayla would give her parents the thumbs up!
While some parents might have steered their daughter in a different direction, Ayla’s parents want her to know that she can do ANYTHING her brother can do.
Seeing Ayla on the football field reminds us that any boy or girl can do anything they work hard for!