Saturday, October 28, 2006

Girls on the Football Field

The idea of girls playing football is becoming less of a novelty. About a third of the teams in my son's youth football league had a female player, and I'm sure that's not just a local trend.

A recent story in the New York Times illustrates what I think is the most common story for these gridiron girls... they're following in the footsteps of an older brother.

Holley Mangold, the 16-year old sister of New York Jets center Nick Mangold, is playing on her high school football team. Ed Domsitz, the high school coach of both Mangolds, said, “Holley might be a tad meaner.”

Holley is 5-9 and weighs 310 pounds, and although both her father and brother tried to steer her towards other, more traditional pursuits, her play on the field convinced them that football is the game for her.

Mr. Mangold has also overcome his initial objections. He stood in the last row of the home bleachers in a steady rain Friday, without an umbrella, and cheered for Holley, whom he affectionately calls “my little buttercup,” every time she stuffed her ponytail into her helmet and trotted onto the field.

“She plays the game well,” he said. “That’s more surreal, actually, than what Nick’s doing.”