I understand that vulnerability is one of the key components to success, and almost two years have passed since I experienced failure and rejection so intense that I nearly gave up everything.
I’m unwilling to admit defeat. If I can climb back from the dark state I found myself in back in early 2018, I believe I can make things right and do something impactful for women’s football. I see that there is a renewed interest in the female flag community, a movement to start a league with national recognition. I want to see this league succeed, I want to set up a future where women are incentivized to participate in football from a young age.
There are a few things I think are crucial to being a strong teammate. This crosses gender barriers, but right now I am looking for women who want to be part of something bigger than themselves. I want to find other athletes who feel like their time is not quite up.
There are a lot of things in the world we can’t control right now, but we can control the imprint we leave behind and what actions we take to influence it.
Perhaps the most important aspect of football is a strong work ethic. Do you wake up every morning feeling unsatisfied with yourself? In a healthy and productive way that drives you to make changes? Do you see things in the mirror that you don’t like and do you actively work to change them?
Do you structure your schedule in a way that allows for optimal output? How much of your time are you willing to devote to focused and intentional efforts at improvement?
I developed a work ethic out of necessity. When you are not being paid to perform as an athlete, you have to motivate yourself in other ways. You have to avoid the pitfalls that tempt you on a daily basis and derail you without you knowing. Whether it be drinking, smoking pot, binging television or sleeping… You have to be willing to sacrifice these activities you fill your spare time with. Or you have to be willing to find dedicated time in your schedule to train harder than you ever have.
You have to be willing to focus on football because if you don’t you’ll miss something. My biggest barrier to reaching my potential is the impact my insecurities and emotions have on my focus. If you can laser in and absorb yourself fully into the game, it becomes simple and procedural. The game does not change from week to week, but your emotional state will.
How can you maintain focus despite everything that happens in life, how can you channel your negative emotions into football? I don’t have an answer for this, but it’s something I want to work on with a team of people who are willing to admit they also don’t have the answer.
Are you willing to make sacrifices to play football? There is no money involved in the sport, you will be paying out of your own pocket to participate in tournaments and leagues. Are you in a position where you have a steady income and can dedicate a significant portion to football? Is that something you want to do?
This sacrifice may open up doors for future generations of female athletes to get sponsorships or to create leagues where participation is paid for in full based on talent. Will you put football before vacations, social events, and even holidays?
You have to be willing to listen to feedback and accept that you are going to fail before you succeed. There are people who know more than you and who have wisdom to share. They will make you better but not without pushing your buttons and going past your limits. You need to throw your comfort zone away and accept that if you want to play football you will never be comfortable. You need to admit what you don’t know, be open to coaching and allow yourself to put trust in others. A football team cannot be successful without vulnerability and trust.
Can you get knocked down and get back up? Are you unwavering in your belief in yourself? And if your answer to that is no, are you willing to start a journey towards self acceptance? How much physical pain can you endure for the sake of football? Are you okay with the fact that you might get injured and your body may never go back to the way it was before you started football? Are you willing to hear other people actively tear you down, and can you be motivated by that? Are you willing to be made fun of by people you respect, and not judge them for it? Are you willing to challenge people’s expectations of your ability?
I am uninterested in teammates who do not fit all of the above criteria. I refuse to waste my time with people who don’t live and breathe for football. I understand that this expectation might be unrealistic, but if it is, then I will continue playing with men. If I am going to expect all of the above out of myself then I owe it to my teammates to expect the same.
I am certain that as women we are fully capable of meeting all of the above criteria and will benefit as individuals in doing so. Football is a sport that teaches you about life, but only if you are willing to fully allow yourself to love it. It’s not just about showing up and going through the motions, it’s about pushing yourself to achieve more than you thought you could yesterday. It’s about setting goals and crushing them.
I’ve seen a change in myself, one that I can provide photo evidence of:
That picture is of me at age 20
That is a picture of me I took 2 seconds ago at age 29
I want to see other women experience a change in themselves that they didn’t expect. I want to build a community where we want what’s best for each other and are excited to see each other succeed. As of now I can confidently say that this community does not exist in the Los Angeles flag football world. Is there anyone out there who read all the way to the bottom of this post and wants to contact me directly about building something awesome? If not, I’ll continue being a gender-bender who tries to run with the boys. I’m willing to wait until the right people want to put in the work to be great.