The Westwind

Fun-sized football coach

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One pleading minute left. Sweat trickled down her face, and the pit in her stomach grew. Three words later, she drove him back, struggling a little to contain him. He was a big guy, fat and tall, but he was no match for her skill, her dedication, her experience. He could not, and would not get past her, for it was her job not to let him cross the line. She did not stop blocking him, even when the cheers from the crowd grew louder. The whistle blew, she stopped, looked up from his face, and saw what had happened. Touchdown! The lineman, her line of brothers, celebrated to themselves for a minute, and got off of the field. The boy she had blocked watched as she ran to the sidelines, the last name “Greeley” turning over and over in his mind.

Junior Sierra Greeley, the petite 5-foot 2-inch junior at Golden High School, reminisces about her freshman year when she played tackle football with the boys. Not only did she play offensive left guard, she also played left defensive end. She now is too small to play, but her passion and dedication has not diminished. She is currently coaching a team of 5th grade boys, the Golden Demons.

Sierra Greeley

Greeley started coaching her team when they were in the fourth grade, and with the season now almost at an end, this is her second year with the boys. While she thinks that her size is unfortunate, it does not set her back when she coaches. Although she has only played for 4 years, her view of the game and personal experience with football sets her apart from the other coaches.

“When I played, it sometimes sucked because guys on other teams wouldn’t respect me, and they didn’t want to be beat [sic] by a girl. As time went on my team accepted me and it wasn’t much different than being a guy on the team.”

She was the only girl on both junior high and ninth grade teams, and the only girl coach currently coaching for the Golden area. This gives her a whole different perspective than any other coach.

As a sixteen-year-old girl who has faced sexism both on the field and as a coach, Greeley remembers being singled out: “[Being a girl coach sets me back] because guys have big egos and a lot of times they think that football can only be understood by a grown man, so it’s harder when you are younger and a girl because they are like ‘Oh, she doesn’t actually know anything,’ but I probably know more than them,” says Greeley.

Even though she feels the other coaches sometimes single her out and disrespect her because of her gender, she feels that the kids do not. The kids treat her like she was anyone else and that is one of the reasons she loves working with the younger kids.

“The thing I miss most about playing football is playing, and being a part of the team. It’s hard when you have to play guys who are 200 pounds, and I was half their weight and their size. I stopped growing and the guys kept growing and that is the only reason I stopped playing,” says Greeley.

Although she is too short to play, that has not stopped her from being involved with the sport and the community. She spends 8 hours with the kids every week.

“Spending that much time with the kids really build relationships with them. I know each and every kid personally, and I think it makes it easier for all of us to get along,” says Greeley.

Through the past season, she coached her kids to the Carnation Bowl: the Super Bowl for kids. Her passion for the sport and view on the game has opened a gate for her football team.

“Without coaching I just don’t know how I would stay connected with the sport. My family is a football family, and without football, I’m not sure who I’d be today,” says Greeley. She is not too short to pass her knowledge on to young boys, and she encourages girls to play whichever sport they want because she believes sports do not have a designated gender. Because of this she learned that when coaching young minds one cannot discriminate against kids for any reason at all.

Sierra Greeley

“When you coach, you teach a lot of kids: they are all different heights, they all have different at home lives, ethnicity and personalities. It is important that you don’t set any of the kids apart even if they are the best on the team. Right now, with their brains still developing, is the most important time of their football careers. It’s going to decide whether they have the passion and the dedication to play this sport and take it anywhere they want to. Every kid is different, and I love being someone they look up too,” says Greeley.

At the end of the day Greeley knows that she is making a difference in her football teams lives and strives to do even more community service like this not because she has to, but because she loves to.

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