Tackling Stereotypes: Skyline Football

September 22, 2016

In 1939, Luverne “Toad” Wise kicked six extra points for the Escambia County High School football team in Alabama. Wise was the first female to ever play on a male High School football team. Now, Isabelle Crumm is kicking and Camber Zeisler is playing right tackle for Skyline High School in Ann Arbor.

Despite neither of them playing in the first three games of the season (and their football careers), they are very much a part of the team. “We are changing the game of football,” Zeiseler said before their game on Sept. 16. “Two girls on one team, that’s pretty cool.” This is special and very untraditional because most teams do not have any girl on their team.

Crumm and Zeisler are able to play because of the Title IX law that passed in 1972 stating that “discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or action” is illegal. This includes school-based activities and school-run sports. Also, nowhere is it stated that girls are not allowed to play football.

Crumm’s main sport is soccer and she joined the football team because her soccer coach told her she had to. “I didn’t quite know what I was getting into…it was really random,” Crumm said.

Zeisler normally plays volleyball in the fall, but she decided she wanted to play a contact sport so she chose football. So far they are both really loving it! “My favorite part so far is the hard work aspect of it. It’s unlike any other sport, because we are always being pushed to our limits,” Zeisler said. “But also, I have made so many new friends on the team that I wouldn’t have ever made if I hadn’t joined.”

I have made so many new friends on the team that I wouldn’t have ever made if I hadn’t joined.”

— Camber Zeisler

Both Zeisler and Crumm said they got nothing but support from friends and family when they joined the team. Every week before and after games they get ‘good luck’ and ‘congratulations’ texts from family, friends, and even people they do not know well.

However, it is not all fun, as there are some downsides to being the only two girls on an all male football team. “Having to do everything separate from the boys is hard,” Zeisler said. “When we go to games, we immediately have to go to another locker room and not be with the team. Later we can go back in with them but it’s still separation from the others.” Crumm agreed and added “ Yeah, like we are for sure part of the team, but there is still separation. Sometimes it feels like we aren’t really part of the team.” They both agreed it was hard not always being with their teammates.

At the beginning of the season the football coaches weren’t really sure what to expect, since this is both of their first years playing. At the beginning of the season, they were not pushed as hard as anyone else. Despite not being under as much pressure, they have to do the same drills and workouts as the guys.

Since this is their first year playing football, and it is a learning year for them, the coaches and other players are always happy to answer questions for them or to explain something. “The boys are more welcoming to our questions, and are more willing to help us than they would be to the other boys,” said Crumm.

“The boys are so helpful! They don’t push us as hard or lean on us as hard as the other male teammates. If we mess up, they are more supportive and less irritated with us,” Crumm said. “They all understand that both of us are relatively new to the sport and they help us with anything we need.”

Not only are the male teammates supportive on the field, but off of it too. “I have made so many new friends on the team,” said Zeisler with Crumm agreeing.

Despite both the coaches and other teammates being super kind, supportive and inclusive, the best part of the football for them is having each other. “Before Isabelle came I felt kinda alone but now that Isabelle is here it’s a lot easier,” said Zeisler. “It’s nice having her on the team too because we can figure things out together. For example, the guys on the team don’t have to worry about putting your hair into your helmet so other team can’t pull it.”

With Skyline’s first home game and win on Friday, Sept. 16, the team’s morale and energy is definitely up. The students, parents, coaches and players are all very excited for this season. Skyline’s defense is tackling their competition a lot this season. However, that’s not the only thing Skyline is tackling; they are tackling gender stereotypes.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Cammi Tirico
Cammi Tirico, Print Editor-in-chief

Cammi is in her fourth year on staff and is a senior at Community. This is her second year making up 1/4 of the print editor-in-chief team. When not working on The Communicator, she can be found playing golf and basketball for Skyline, lawyering at Mock Trial, singing camp songs off key at Camp Al-Gon-Quian or climbing trees. Cammi’s favorite part of journalism is when an interviewee says something special or powerful out of the blue. Two averagely fun facts about Cammi are that 1 ) she is scared of lightning but loves rain and 2) her favorite shape is a triangle. 

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