July 18th, 2018

Playing to prove them wrong

By Mo Cranker on September 13, 2017.

NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER Kennedy Bjorgan (middle) lines up for a tackling drill during the Parkside Pythons' practice Tuesday at Crescent Heights High School.


Being in the minority is never easy.

Especially for Kennedy Bjorgan, the only girl on her school’s football team.

“It’s a new challenge for me,” she said. “This is actually my first year of football, so everything is new for me. I have a lot to learn to get up to speed. A friend got me into the idea of playing football for the Pythons, and it’s been a lot of fun — it’s been good.”

The Parkside Pythons’ first game was a 59-16 victory over the Brooks Roadrunners, where Bjorgan got to see a lot of action in the second half of the game, playing on both sides of the ball, and during a couple kickoffs.

“Our first game was good,” she said. “We won, which is obviously a good thing. It was a lot of fun to get to play as much as I did. I’m hoping to play as much as I can.”

Though she is the only girl on the team, and one of just a few in her league, Bjorgan is not shying away from contact. She signed up for the team as, and is playing as a linebacker, one of the game’s roughest positions.

“I’ve always liked contact sports, but there aren’t many that girls are allowed to play,” she said. “Football is something I thought I would try and I think it’s been good so far.”

Though she is a little more than a week into her football career, Bjorgan says she would have liked to have started playing earlier, but was told she could not, because of her gender.

“One of the big reasons I’m playing is to show that girls can play tackle football, too. If they want to,” she said. “Before I started high school I had a teacher that told me I couldn’t play basketball, or football. They said that because I’m a girl. It made me pretty upset, so I definitely want to prove some people wrong.”

Bjorgan says her teammates were initially surprised when they saw a girl suiting up for practice, but is happy to be treated like the rest of the team.

“No one on the team knew I was playing, I guess. So when I walked into the first practice, there was a bit of shock you could see,” she said. “Since then everyone has been supportive. I just want to get treated like everyone else, like all of the guys do. I don’t want anyone to treat me different, or think they need to go easy. Just because I’m a girl, it doesn’t mean I can’t play tackle football. I want to show that girls are just as able to play as boys are.”

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