Playing Like A Girl



As teenagers in 2018, we are living through and experiencing what CNN calls the “year of women”. We are surrounded by media portraying our favorite actresses and role models as activists in the midst of the “Me Too” movement that has shaken our views of sexual abuse to the core. With this immense change in Hollywood and politics happening around us, you may wonder how a teenager like yourself, who is most likely not famous and seemingly entirely insignificant to this movement fits in and makes an impact.

And that’s where Sophomore Dani Sayles comes in.

Dani Sayles is not an activist, nor does she plan to become one. She doesn’t lead women’s marches, or give speeches on television, but she is quietly fighting for the equality of women. Whether she knows it or not, she has made a difference and we should all be grateful.

Sayles is a kicker for the JV football team and the first female football player in Mountain Vista history. She plays only for the love of the game. When asked how it felt to pioneer women participation on the Vista team, Sayles said, “It feels good to be a leader in women’s beginning to play [football].”

According to Jessica Luther in a 2017 Teen Vogue article, only 0.2 percent of high school football players are girls. Sayles is a part of a small but growing number of girls involved in tackle football. The number has increased dramatically since 2008 when less than 1,000 girls played nationwide, now up to 2,000. Sayles is a proud member of this movement, but that’s not why she chose to play football.

When you talk with her, it is easy to see why she really chose to participate in such a male dominated sport. “I’m excited just to play football!” Sayles said, with a brilliant smile on her face. Her clear investment in the games at Eagle Madness would have been enough to convince any sports fan of her zeal, but her dedication to her team and to spreading a positive message that girls can do anything boys can do is what truly makes her stand out in a sea of green and gold jerseys. Well, that and the pony tail.