High School Football: Erin DiMeglio and the Debate on Female Players
With two handoffs, Erin DiMeglio became the first female quarterback to play in a regular-season game in Florida high school football history, challenging the gender roles embedded in sports.
The high school senior is the third-string quarterback at South Plantation High and gained national recognition after showcasing her throwing skills during a 7-on-7 summer flag football tournament, in which she threw five touchdown passes.
No doubt an impressive feat, but the question remains, can she change the game as we know it?
Back in March of this year, Mo Isom made headlines when she was invited to tryout to be the placekicker for the LSU Tigers football team. As a standout goalkeeper for the university's soccer team, Isom was looking to become the first female to kick for a Division I football team since Katharine Hnida booted two extra points for New Mexico in 2003.
Isom, however, failed to make the team and was cut during spring tryouts. Despite this, her journey was tediously covered in the media, where she was praised for her effort to rewrite history. Although inspiring, this story is all too familiar as we now look at DiMeglio, who has yet to complete a single pass against a competitive high school opponent.
As someone who admires female athletes looking to break boundaries, I can’t help but feel as though women should not play on the same team as men when it comes to football.
I realize the irony in that statement, but there has yet to be a female athlete in football who can hold her own with the guys on the team and in the league.
DiMeglio, who stands at 5’6” and was referred to as “relatively slow” by her own coach, is not only fighting critics, but an uphill battle for a starting spot against guys bigger, stronger and faster. Which, in most sports, are the defining traits for success.
The physical aspect of football may be compared to rugby, water polo and field hockey, but this isn't about toughness; this is about the ability to compete equally with your peers. And as of yet, that has not been achieved by a woman on the football field.
In time, someone might come along and change this, but right now it looks like DiMeglio will not be that saving grace. So now the question becomes, will it ever?
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