Next step kicking for Eagles?

Lizzi Clayton kicks field goal in annual powderpuff game on Oct. 14 as Monica Montalvo holds. (Photo courtesy of Lee McDavid)

I took a deep breath.

I was in the middle of the football field, with only a referee and the holder, Monica Montalvo, with me.

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Lizzi Clayton

My fellow juniors fell silent.

The seniors taunted me.

The football was on the 30-yard-line, exactly 40 yards away from the yellow goal post. My stomach churned as I took three steps backward and three steps to the side, away from the ball.

I looked around, took my deep breath and kicked.

In slow motion, the ball curled 40 yards. It went through the two tall posts. The crowd went wild. I was surrounded by my teammates. We were all screaming and chanting. W­e had just won the game.

Ever since I was 4 years old, I have been playing some type of soccer. It has been the main sport in my life. With my soccer background, when the annual powerpuff football game came around freshman year, I wanted to be the kicker.

Kicking was technically allowed, but it had rarely, if ever, been attempted by girls. For two years, I was the designated “kicker,” along with Monica Montalvo. But neither of us had the opportunity to attempt a kick during the game.

As a junior this year, I was adamant about kicking. I had practiced with a previous football kicker, Zane Holliman. I knew I was capable of at least a 20-yard field goal, and I convinced the junior team’s coaches — Ames Jamison, Josh Davis, Noah Hill and Aaron Arnold — to let me try.

Close to halftime in our game against the seniors, we faced a fourth down. The coaches knew running a play was risky and unlikely to succeed. I asked if I could kick. To my surprise, they said yes. From the 25-yard-line, the ball sailed through the uprights.

The coaches then knew I could do it. For the winning play at the end of the game, I was allowed to kick another field goal, making us the champions of powderpuff.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I have a new goal. Maybe.

It is not against high school rules for girls to play varsity football. For the first time at Stratford, it could possible for me to be the first female kicker for the Eagles on Friday nights.

It would be an amazing opportunity. I would make Stratford history. Not only would I be able to experience a new sport, but one I thought was not even an option to females. I would be a part of the most popular sport at Stratford, in which its “Eagle Pride” is unlike anything else. I would be able to do something I would enjoy, and possibly grow to love.

Although there are many positives, there still are other things to take into account.

I have concerns that would come with being a girl football kicker. I might get crushed by an opponent’s defense. I would be under the microscope for being a female in a male-dominated sport.

Also, several accommodations would have to be made for me. I could not go in the boys locker room to dress out, and a football uniform might not even fit me properly.

Yet given a chance by the football coaches, with some assurances for my safety and comfort, it would be an amazing opportunity I might not be able to pass up. It would be an exciting change for a female soccer player who never imagined being a part of a“boys only” sport.

Lizzi Clayton is a junior and assistant editor of The Gazebo.