In a week when women voters were game changers in a presidential election where some women’s rights -- such as equal pay -- were at stake, it was neat to see a spunky 9-year-old girl get recognition on a very different playing field.
By now, you’ve likely seen the awesome video of Sam Gordon, the diminutive quarterback for a Salt Lake City pee wee football team, whose You Tube highlight video –created by her proud dad -- shows her unbelievable skills. She can run the ball (scored 35 touchdowns in the season), she can evade tackles, she can take huge hits from boys way bigger than her. Quite simply, the girl’s got game.
In numerous interviews, Sam’s dad, Brent Gordon, says his daughter got her toughness from playing neighborhood ball with her older brother and his friends.
The video has gone textbook viral, with more than 500K views after just one day, and Sam’s now a celebrity, having made numerous TV appearances.
The whole hubbub of Sam’s video makes me, a football mom of a 10-year-old boy and soccer mom of a 13-year-old girl, wonder: Is the video so alluring because Sam’s really good? Or is it just because she’s a girl (granted, a girl in a sport where there are not many)?
I took this question to my super- insular focus group – my kids and their friends – to see what their take is.
“I think [the video] was impressive because she was good and a girl. But if it was a girl that was bad, it wouldn’t go viral and if it was a boy that was good, it wouldn’t go viral,” said my 13-year-old daughter (who, incidentally, has watched many of her brother’s games and said, “I’m faster than that. I could do that.”).
My son and his buddy, both of whom just finished their football season, were enthralled by Sam’s video.
“She’s just really good,” my son’s friend said. When asked if they were impressed just because she was a girl, my son said, “No, we’re all human beings.”
The news stories around Sam’s video range from discussing her future – will she make to the NFL?! – to debates about whether she should even be able to play with the boys. For a mom who has trouble watching her son play the sport, I’d say the latter question is moot – football can be dangerous for all kids, regardless of gender.
But in a world where girls are still not treated equally as boys in so many areas, I would hope that the takeaway from watching Sam Gordon school the other players on the field is not, “Wow, she’s a girl?” but rather, “Yes! Look at that girl go!”
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