It’s how you play the game

Published 6:11 pm Monday, October 21, 2019

Just over the state line, three middle schoolers are proving that girls can play football too. Gardner Newman Middle School students Carlee Roland, Breyanna Leonard and Mikeiya McCants played the entire season with the GNMS football team. Roland is a kicker, Leonard is a safety and McCants is a lineman.

Their attitude is something all of us can learn from. We’re sure there were a lot of questions when all three of them first decided to try out for the team, but they’ve proven they can handle the practices, the heat and the physical elements of the game.

McCants said after one game this season, they were shaking hands with the opposing team when they took their helmets off.

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“They said ‘What? We got beat by girls?” Leonard recalled with a smile.

The New York Times wrote a story last year, which showed that more females are playing football than in the past. In that story, the NYT sourced the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, which said 10.9 percent of Americans playing football were female.

That’s actually a higher number than we would’ve guessed, just because it seems to happen so rarely. Football is a physical game, so it’s important that anyone who plays — male or female — know the right techniques to avoid injury.

Roland, Leonard and McCants also talked to their coaches and families, setting up a plan for how much they felt comfortable being on the field this year. Through it all, they showed that girls can play the game too, and it might lead to more female participation in Troup County.

“I know there were a couple of girls who wanted to try, and I said ‘do it then,’” McCants said. “They said ‘I’m scared,’ and I said ‘so was I, but I still did it.’”