Female football player breaks through gender barriers

Abbey Lim, Executive entertainment editor

Looking at the way that gender roles have progressed throughout time, most people would agree that in comparison to previous years, restrictions of both genders have deteriorated greatly.

Nowadays, little boys may take interest in painting their nails, and little girls may prefer matchbox cars over Barbie dolls. The lines between “boy activities” and “girl activities” have begun to blur, and for anyone who doesn’t believe that- just take a look at your own high school.

Starting the year off with a brand new football season is both a common and annual practice during high school. However, this year, the freshman football team has adopted one uncommon trait, a female football player.

“I haven’t ever had a girl on a football team that I’ve coached, but this year I do,” head coach Bill Montemayor said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s a huge deal, but it’s definitely something that’s not very common.”

This school year, freshman Cheyenne Haylock decided to break gender stereotypes and join the freshman football team.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching football and even playing it,” Haylock said. “So

once I found out that there was a team open to freshman, I knew I had to go for it.”

Despite the fact that some people in Haylock’s life had disapproved of her trying out or told her that she couldn’t do it, Haylock ignored those who were unsupportive and went on to pursue the sport that she was passionate about.

“It took a lot of courage for me to try out for the team,” Haylock said. “I was debating on whether or not I was going to do it for the whole summer, but eventually I decided to just do what I knew would make me happy.”

Naturally, when joining a new sport or activity, people will have doubts and worries, however for Haylock, this wasn’t much of a concern.

“I was never really afraid of being treated differently because I’m a girl,” Haylock said. “I know a lot of the guys on the team, and just from meeting everyone else, even the people that I didn’t know, I could tell that they were nice people and they wouldn’t leave me out.”

Even teammates agree that Haylock’s presence on the team isn’t a huge deal. The fact that she is a female is acknowledged, but never used against her.

“We’ve treated Cheyenne like we’ve treated each other- nicely and with respect,” freshman and teammate, Tyler Abdishi said.  “It’s taken a little getting used to but now it’s like she’s one of the guys.”

Teammates and coaches alike have accepted Haylock into the team as if she were any other player. The fact that gender roles have deteriorated is embraced, and within the team, it is believed that no one should be restricted to a certain activity because of their gender.

“Gender roles aren’t really an issue anymore,” Montemayor said. “They didn’t stop Cheyenne from joining the team, and I think that it’s a great thing that no gender feels ostracized to any certain activity anymore.”

Haylock has admitted that there weren’t many concerns for her when she had decided to join the team. However she has also acknowledged that this may not always be the case for other girls.

“If I had to give advice to another girl who wanted to join a sport not normally seen for her gender, I’d tell her not to be afraid,” Haylock said. “At first you may be treated differently, but after awhile, your teammates will open up and realize that you’re an athlete just like they are. If you want to do something, go for it.”