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Photo ofCameron McBride
I always had such a love for the game of football. I remember I would play in the backyard everyday with my brothers; I would even watch football with my dad every weekend. I started to fall in love with the game, and I wanted an opportunity to play. I know that the idea sounded crazy, but I just wanted a chance. So when I was about seven years old I came to my parents and asked them if I could play. They didn’t really like the idea of me playing since they didn’t want their baby girl getting hurt. A few weeks went by and my dad and I went to my twin brother’s football tryouts. While we were there we saw a girl playing. At that moment I knew that I would be able to convince my parents to let me play, and I did. 
The first day of practice comes around. I remember I had so many thoughts going through my head. Am I going to be good enough? Am I going to get made fun of? Is this going to be worth it? I arrived at practice and everyone stared at me and I could hear them talking about me. I knew I needed to do well. After that first year, I was a lot less nervous. My next couple years went by pretty well. I started to get a lot of supporters and haters too, which I was fine with. 
The one year of football I will never forget was 6th grade year. I had this Coach named Coach Mule. He was an old-school football coach, so he didn’t really like the idea of girls playing. He thought I wasn’t going to be tough enough, so my goal that year was to prove him wrong. That season I worked hard and did really well. At the banquet, Coach Mule came up to me and said that I proved him wrong and that I deserved to play. Now he is like a grandfather to me. 
Then, middle school football came around. I knew that it was going to be tougher than recreational ball, and I was right, but it was worth it. I had this Coach in 7th grade named Coach Kestner. He is one of my favorite football coaches. I ended up becoming very close with him. He always encouraged me to come to his youth group since he is a youth pastor. He is one of the reasons I got closer with God. Being closer with God made me motivated to work hard. I also started to become closer with the boys on the team. My team was like my family.

 Next up was high school football. I know most of the guys are tougher, faster, and stronger than me in high school, so I knew I had to work hard to play. I made sure I came to all the offseason workouts to show the coach I was motivated and actually serious. I worried that the coach wasn’t going to let me play since he would think I would get hurt or that I wouldn't know what I was doing. So once practice came I had to prove I could take a hit and that I could handle the intensity of Salem football. The coach ended up letting me play. The practices for high school were harder and longer, but it made me realize that I still love the game so much. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really get that much playing time that year but that’s okay since most freshmen don’t. So my goal in the offseason was to get better and stronger, so I did. Sophomore season has just started so I need to continue to work hard. Football has become a very important part of my life now and has taught me so much.

© Cameron McBride. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.