Dear Danielle

A few hours ago, a post was shared in one of our Women’s Football Facebook pages.

‘Yesterday I received a message from a lady named Jamie. She has an 8-year old daughter named Danielle who loves football and is getting ready to play her first season of tackle football. Yesterday was her first football camp. She was the only girl at the camp and the only girl registered to play tackle this year and first for their league. She had a boy tell her yesterday “girls don’t play football, what are you trying to prove’ “

I wrote this post for Danielle, but I also wrote it for all of the girls out there. You are all warriors, heroes and ground breakers. Keep chasing after your dreams, no matter what they are.

Dear Danielle,

I know how you feel. Maybe not exactly the same, but I have an idea. I was just like you, I just wanted to play my favourite sport. I just wanted to be the football player I knew I was inside. Unfortunately, unlike you, I lacked the bravado to step out and actually play organized football until I was older. In fact, I allowed society to tell me it wasn’t even an option. You didn’t let that stop you, and for that, you are my hero.

You are inspiring. You are showing other girls that they too can play whatever sport, be whomever they want to be, and chase any dreams they dream, regardless of what is considered “normal”.

I used to skateboard too. But I let insecurities surface when I was asked over and over again, “What are you doing here?” None of the guys I skated with were asked that question, and quitting because I let their fears seep into my consciousness is one of my greatest regrets still to this day.

“What do you have to prove?” Nothing. Not to yourself, not to anyone. The better question is for those who questioned you, and it is “why are you so threatened?”

They’re insecure and feel like they are going to have to prove themselves beside you.

You do belong out there. You belong because you want to play football and it is a football field. You have no one to answer to besides yourself. It is my prayer for you that you push yourself into greatness in whatever you choose in life for your sake and your sake alone.

I actually wrote about some other amazing girls who were just like you in my previous post,  “Girls Games” . Their names are  Mo’ Ne Davis and Maria Pepe. Both faced adversity while playing baseball, especially Maria. The boys were so scared of her as a pitcher that they fought to have her thrown out of the league because she was too good! But she didn’t let it stop her. Her inner warrior came out, and she changed the rules for girls who came to play after her. When Mo’Ne Davis came to play, she became one of the best in the league!  Whenever it gets frustrating, just remember that you are doing amazing things. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

We’re rooting for you.

Love, Ehjae

I’ve posted other responses below too! (many have been shortened but not altered in any other way.)

“I play semi-pro Female Football in SC in the USA. It isn’t very popular here for women to play unless they are wearing little to no clothing. Danielle you are doing what you love and need to prove that boy and all the boys that say a girl can’t play wrong! Practice and play your heart out! The most important thing is to have fun! Danielle you are my hero for taking this step at such a young age! Go get em!”- Amanda

“Never let anyone say you can’t do anything.”
Love from the Oklahoma Lady Force.

“I have been playing for three years. At this time, I am the only girl on a men’s semi pro tackle football team. I have to practice with guys, and have to play against men that are two or three times my size, weight, stregnth and are faster than me.
When I first started playing, no one believed I could do it. Some of the men were rude, some of their wives and girlfriends were rude.
There were alot of days that I came home from practice frustrated, sad, or angry. I cried so very many tears… but NEVER in front of the men on the team. What I learned was that girls are stronger than anyone expects them to be, girls can both be beautiful and strong, girls can do absolutely anything they dream of.
My advice to you, young lady… is to go to practice every day and be the best that you can be..
Its absolutely ok to be scared, to be sad…
Do not give up on what you want, because someone doesnt believe in you.
Above all else, love yourself, and your family, do good in school and believe that you can do anything. BECAUSE YOU CAN!!”- Dani

” Don’t let them break you down just use that to help you get better and stronger, hit them like no one has hit them before keep your head up and no matter what we all have your back , and never stop your love for the game”- Patti

“Go Danielle! Always remember that you’re not alone when you have this entire international football family to support you. Keep it up girl you’re awesome! Much love from the Budapest Wolves Ladies all the way in Hungary” – Anna

The amazing comments go on and on. You are not alone. Please feel free to comment below if you have a message for the Danielles of the world.

All photos courtesy of Louis Christ, lchrist.com

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