Yes, reading that sentence will no doubt cause some to stop reading. To form an opinion about me and my thoughts and move on. That’s fine. It was not meant for those people.
I have been in football my entire career. I was told I can’t, I won’t, I will never. I have seen countless interns come and go. I have seen some who can handle football, and I have seen some who can’t. I’ve seen loud, obnoxious males and females who cannot connect with a football team, and I’ve seen meek, quiet men and women who can. It’s never been about gender. It’s about confidence, communication, knowledge, and thick skin.
I won’t sit here and pretend that football is an easy field to work in. I won’t pretend that the path from Intern to Full Time Coach is fair or even really justifiable. It hardens you, it exhausts you, it makes you grateful, and it makes you angry. It is not for everyone. I won’t pretend that the path for women doesn’t have its own unique challenges. That there isn’t an inherent bias whenever you step into a room. That there isn’t an assumption that you must not be the one in charge, you must not know the sport.
As a woman, you must be excellent to even be in the conversation. You can’t be good. You can’t be great. You can’t stumble. You can’t be unsure. You must be the best in the room at your craft to even be noticed.
But that’s how women have always thrived.
We’ve always been counted out. We’ve always been doubted.
This is why I don’t want equality. I don’t want a quota. I don’t want inclusivity.
I want my ceiling to stay as low as possible. I want my expectations to stay as low as possible. I want every single day to be a war to prove myself.
I love the pre-game chaos of having to find a place to change. The pre-season ritual of Nike inevitably forgetting to send equipment the size 4.5 game shoes. The questions from countless men who ask me if I’m the one in control of the music at practice. The moment a tech company realizes that Sam is actually short for Samantha. The men who say I’m only where I am because someone needed to hire a woman.
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
That’s what motivates me. Not to be the greatest woman. But to be the greatest.
Keep your celebrations. Keep your articles. Keep your designated positions.