Junior High Football Player Breaks Through Glass Ceiling

158WVHL112Eighth grader, Megan Strick, doesn’t really know what the big deal is.

She started playing football with her older brother and his friends when she was very little and fell in love with it. This passion led her to join the flag football team in first grade where she was dedicated for the next two years.

She loved it so much that she and her best friend, Macy, joined the third grade tackle football team through Cub Football and continued with that team through sixth grade.  Megan says her parents are “very supportive and they just love the sport and watching me.”

158WVHL099With the 2015 season wrapped up, Megan capped off her second year on the Jenison Junior High Football team as the first and only girl to play on the team but she’s humble about her place in Jenison football history: “It’s really fun and it’s nice to get to know all the guys.”

When Megan joined the Junior High team it was no surprise to the coaches. “They knew about me because I’ve been playing for so long and they were really happy and excited.”

MIII2007Megan plays Middle Linebacker, which, for those non-football fans, the goal of the linebacker is to provide either extra run protection or extra pass protection based on the particular defensive play being executed. It’s not an easy position and she is in every defensive play.  When the team is winning she gets to step in as Running Back and “score some touchdowns.”  If you think her teammates treat her any differently because of her gender, think again. “The guys treat me just like any other teammate, they treat me like a sister and I don’t have any hard times with them.”

When matched with other teams Megan doesn’t worry. “Some of the kids on the other teams want to hit me really hard but when they go through the game they know that I’m there to play and win.”

Megan does her best to be a well-rounded, star student. “I think that school is really important and I’m motivated by my coaches and teammates.  I like to play because I like to hit hard.”  Megan loves to play other sports as well including softball, basketball and volleyball.

According to one of Megan’s coaches, Karl Redmer, Megan’s role on the team has been integral.  “Megan has been an asset to our team and program. She models hard work for others, has a great attitude, is a team player, and executes every component of the game exactly how she is coached to do so….her contributions and commitment can not be measured.”

MIII2040In case there are other young women at Jenison considering their own career in traditionally male dominated sports, Coach Redmer says, “Any female that is thinking about joining a male dominated sport will have great success like Megan if they are willing to model the same characteristics that she has for the last few years.”

“I think most girls should join — girls can do anything they want to, boys aren’t bigger and better than girls, girls can do anything if they put their heart into it.”

Thanks to Megan, the phrase, “you play like a girl” has taken on a whole new meaning.

Way to go Megan!  We’re proud to call you a Wildcat!

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