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 A “sweet feat” for nine-year-old football sensation

Maclaine Chadwick | Sports Editor

SAM GORDON IS a nine-year old girl from Utah who is dominating the scoreboard in her boys’ football league. Her nickname is “Sweet Feet,” and she has been compared to a very young Walter Payton.

Gordon became an Internet sensation after scoring 35 touchdowns and almost 2,000 rushing yards in her gremlin league. If you haven’t seen the semi-viral video yet, I highly recommend taking a gander over to YouTube to check out Gordon’s highlight reel.

Not only is she killing it on the field, but she has charmed her way on to Good Morning America, huddled up with the San Francisco 49ers, and joined the ranks of players like Dan Marino and Brett Favre by being featured on a box of Wheaties.

In the States, girls’ football isn’t exactly comparable to girls’ hockey here in Canada. An obvious statement, since the few exceptional girls who are successful in youth football can make international headlines—just look at Erin DiMeglio, Florida’s first female quarterback who stepped onto the gridiron this fall. If “Sam” wasn’t short for “Samantha” and she was a boy like the rest of her teammates, would the story be as huge? The stats are still impressive, but it is her gender that is really the kicker to the headline.

It’s too soon to tell whether or not Gordon will carry on with football—she is only nine, after all, and is also a talented soccer player—but even if she wanted to continue, Gordon will likely face hurdles even she won’t be able to jump over. Soon the boys in her league will start to outgrow her, and that is when the physical side of football will really become an issue for Gordon. Even though she isn’t scared of physical contact right now, her gender will sadly be a roadblock once she outgrows Little League. Even DiMeglio, who stands at only 5 foot 5 and weighs 140 pounds, is a third-string quarterback.

Options for girls in football are slim to none— and don’t try to tell me that the Lingerie Football League is a legitimate route. If football is truly one of America’s most popular sports, then why aren’t there more leagues for the other half of America’s population—the girls? Are gender stereotypes so set in stone that girls don’t even bother to consider football instead of soccer or baseball? Whether they have “sweet feet” or not, there are clearly girls out there who have interest in football—so let’s give them a suitable place to play.