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Girls playing football what the heck
November 8, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I like to read the yahoo news and I seen one and I wanted to see what you guys think.

Sam Gordon scored 25 touchdowns in her first season of tackle football. (Courtesy of Brent Gordon)

It started as a way for an 8-year-old girl to keep up with her big brother.

Sam Gordon just wanted to run with the older kids. The coaches in the local tackle football league figured, hey, why not? Maybe they could turn it into a drill: Who can outrun Max's little sister?

They were shocked to find the answer: no one.

Sam Gordon, now 9, became one of the fastest kids this Salt Lake City area "Gremlins" league had ever seen. They put her in drills and she outran boys two years older. They allowed her into the "Sharks and Minnows" game and stared in awe at not only at her speed, but her ability to move like a tailback.

"She could cut and follow blocks like a college football player," says her coach, Chris Staib.

Staib hatched a plan: His team was drafting seventh out of nine. He wanted to pick the girl. So he started talking her down, suggesting she would get hurt. The other coaches bought it, and with his first selection he chose Sam Gordon.

"You dog!" they howled.

Staib just laughed. Sam ended up running for 25 touchdowns and 10 conversions (no PATs at this level) in her first season playing tackle football. She earned the nickname "Sweet Feet" – a modern-day Rudy Huxtable – and a breathtaking viral video in which she looks so fast that you have to wonder if it's real.

"Oh it's real," says Staib. "That's her. I was there for all of that."

It may be real, but is it appropriate? This is a 9-year-old girl playing against bigger, stronger boys. She even had a trainer who put her through agility drills and plyometrics. Gordon is not even 60 pounds, and there's a kid on her team who weighs more than 150. (His nickname: Tank.) In an era of concussions and frequent ACL tears, it's fair to ask: What are the adults thinking?

Sam's dad, Brent, admits his daughter had an adjustment issue at first. "She had a little bit of a struggle," he said Tuesday in a phone interview from his Idaho law office. "The team lost a couple of games. Since she was the primary ball carrier, she felt a lot of pressure to win. She felt blame for losing."

His solution was the video, telling Sam not to worry about the end result but rather each play. "Get me some highlights," he told her. He says it helped.

And what about the tackling? There are some fairly vicious hits on this video.

"I started her out in soccer at 4 years old and we would play out in the yard," Brent explains. "And my son's friends were pretty aggressive and rough. She could really handle a lot of the physical play. There were some games where she'd fall down and just keep going. She would get kicked in the face, kicked in the gut and just keep going."

Sam Gordon (Courtesy of Brent Gordon)Staib doesn't hesitate when asked about the hitting. He says Sam loves to tackle and even goes after Tank whenever she gets the chance. He's not worried. Brent says only once did Sam get shaken up from a hit. She came out of the game, rested for a few plays, then returned to score a touchdown.

"Some kids, right before the contact, they stop," Sam told her father. "I don't. I just hit 'em." "That's not something I taught her, "Brent says.

A lot of people won't accept a 9-year-old girl playing tackle football, and perhaps with good reason. But it seems Sam loves it. Her dad and coach say she has no hesitation about coming back for another season. And her dad admits he's overwhelmed with pride, even though (or maybe especially because) he was no star athlete.

"With Sam, I keep questioning myself," he says. "Am I trying to make it something it's not because I'm her dad? I asked my brother, 'OK, am I just being a crazy dad here? Or is this really cool?' "

Maybe it's a little of one and a lot of the other. But what started as little Sam trying to keep up with her brother is now dozens of older boys trying to keep up with her.

Would you let your 9 year old DD play football if she truly wanted to play with the boys?
  • Only group members can vote in this poll.
  1. 89% - yes
  2. 8% - no
  3. 1% - other please explane


  • momtoBrenna
    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    We had more than one girl play football when I was in Junior High and High School and they held their own just fine. I say more power to her and rock on!

  • momtoBrenna
    November 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    If the schools are stopping them and they don't have a girls' team, they are breaking a federal law! If it's through the city, I don't know if the same law applies or not.

    Quoting A.B.C.brown07:

    Not exactly sure why this made news. Girls play football all the time in my town. You are no longer allowed when you hit middle school. But elementary school they don't care

  • Due9
    by Due9
    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    I wouldn't let any of my kids play football.

  • ColtsFan1912
    November 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    heck yes!

  • MountieMama
    November 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM
    I played when I was 15-17. Best defensive player in the LEAGUE
  • Jenniy
    by Jenniy
    November 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM
    Why not?
  • momof4loves4
    November 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM
    Not true. There is a girl college kicker right now. The girls dad works in a law office so I'm assuming he may be a lawyer? I'm sure she will have many opportunities to play in the future. Go her! All sports make kids at risk to injury. My girls play softball. They get hurt. Let her have fun and football needs to open up and stop being so damn sexist!

    Quoting christina0607:

    At that age sure, and I think its great for her.

    However there will come a time when she can not play football, no matter how bad she wants too. So I hope her parents are preparing her for that and I hope she is playing other sports as well, so she can fill that space when that time comes.

  • jenzachsam
    November 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Girls and boys should do whatever they want to do.  There are awesome men ballerinas and cheerleaders too!  That girl is an awesome qb too!

  • jamieharper08
    November 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    If she was tough enough. Sure

  • SpiritedWitch
    November 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    I don't have a problem with girls playing football. What "girl" school sport (no, I have not read through almost 200 replies) are guys not allowed to play?  Guys play softball, do gymnastics, and cheer (the only "girl" sports I can think of)

    How many of you liked being told, "No, you can't do that because you are a girl."  ...  which was normally said with a sneer. 

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