At my son’s tee ball practice earlier in the Fall, I was chatting with a few parents about what other sports they would be interested in signing their children up for. This was at the start of football season, so kids’ football naturally came up as an option. So wait, I asked, flag football and not tackle football, right? The response was a resounding yes. Flag football is the most popular option for parents to sign their kids up for. I later found out that evening that my fellow SFBAM contributor Sysamone‘s teenage son is on a co-ed flag football team, with female star players who play equally to their male counterparts. I vaguely remember playing flag football at summer camp once or twice, but a co-ed flag football league was unheard of 20 years ago. Super intrigued, I reached out via Sysamone to her son Ari and his teammates, Kiara and Davin, to find out more about The Real Teenage Lives of Flag Football Players!
How has your involvement in football impacted your family and school/social life?
Ari: It’s impacted my social life very well, I’ve met so many of my closest friends through football.
Kiara: Football has impacted my life by being more comfortable doing things I want to do. At first, I was always scared to do what I enjoyed because of what people would say. But being able to overcome that type of mindset made me confident. It felt like I could do anything in the world. My family is also very proud of me for trying out for the football team. And of course, more people have noticed me around the school for being a female and playing flag football.
Davin: It didn’t really impact spending time with my family or friends. I still had enough time to do homework. The only thing was that it was challenging juggling it with my baseball schedule.
What are some of the notable experiences you have had being a part of a co-ed football team?
Davin: It gives females an opportunity to play a male-dominated sport. It also gives me an appreciation of how females can be as strong and as good, if not better, than males are in sports.
Kiara: Some positive experiences I’ve experienced from being in a co-ed football team are being able to experience the same thing as boys and being treated somewhat equally. Doing the same drills and being able to play with everyone even if I’m a girl. I was able to get along well with my teammates regardless of gender.
Ari: Just being on a co-ed team I could see a lot of my friends who had questionable views on women change for the better
What is your take on being a female football player?
Kiara: At first it was a little challenging because I was a bit uncomfortable. It was also my first time actually playing on a flag football team so I was a bit intimidated. I didn’t want to be looked down on for being a girl and held accountable if it was a bad play. So I tried hard and wanted to show that I was good enough to be able to play.
Davin: I think it is great that females play football. It shows how tough and competitive they are. Fun fact: I am the first AMS student to make a touchdown on the new turf field!
What do you like most about flag football?
Davin: I enjoyed working as a team with all my teammates, making new friendships, winning as a team, running routes, and catching the football.
Kiara: I enjoyed blocking people and preventing them from running. It made me feel strong and big in a way!
What is it like being in a football family and how does football affect your family?
Kiara: When I was younger my uncle and I used to watch football on Sunday afternoons. It was something that we always did together, it was only our thing. Football was part of what made our bond stronger!
Ari: It brings my family together because they come together and watch all together and it feels nice to see them happy, especially my sister.
Davin: My mom, dad and sister all enjoyed watching me play flag football. It (this season) was my first time playing! I also really enjoyed playing (the sport).
Why is football a great community builder?
Davin: It is a great community sport because it is a team sport. Friends and family get to watch and root together for their favorite team.
Kiara: I feel football is a great community builder because it can be entertaining and bring friends, family, and strangers closer to one another.
Ari: Well, I think it’s a good community builder because you have to socialize with other people and communicate, while communicating you can get to know another person more.
What do you look forward to the most during football season? And what are some of the things a future football family should know?
Davin: (I look forward to) practicing new routes and plays, playing as a team and winning as a team, and going against different schools. Flag Football can be kind of physical, it is very fun, you run a lot, and it’s a team sport.
Ari: Know that they (the kids) will have a nice time and don’t criticize them if they aren’t doing their best.