Washington proving football isn't just for boys
by Donell Maxie
Sep 25, 2012 | 3199 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Natashia Washington, 13, has been living her dream this year as she is currently playing football for D.M. Smith Middle School.
Natashia Washington, 13, has been living her dream this year as she is currently playing football for D.M. Smith Middle School.
Natashia Washington is not your typical 13-yard-old girl.

This D.M. Smith student is not on the cheer squad nor is she a member of the drill team. This plays football and does it quite well.

On Thursday, the D.M. Smith Middle School Trojans took the field to take on the Shelby Middle School Jaguars for its homecoming and the day was monumental for all in attendance.

The day was an exciting one for all in attendance, but for Washington it was little bit more because for the first time she would be starting at guard on the offensive line for the team known as the Baby Trojans.

The outcome was sweeter for Washington and the rest of the D.M. Smith team as they crushed the Jaguars 40-0 and improved to 4-0 on the season.

Being a girl on a football team is not something completely unusual. All over the country, there are girls who make and play football for teams in high school and even in college.

Earlier in the year, Louisiana State University had a female, Mo Isom, try out for kicker. She did not make the team, but is currently working hard to come out again in the spring.

"When I was younger, my dad (Frank Washington) would take us to all the games that my brothers played and I just fell in love with football,” Washington said. “I wanted to be like my brothers and plus I'm not like most girls so I had to be myself and do what I love.”

For Washington, the drive to be the best football player she can be is one of the most strongest character traits she possesses and is what drove D.M Smith Head Coach Terry Nolden to give her a shot on the field.

"Here at D.M. Smith, we run a good program and she came up and asked if she could try out for football,” Nolden said. “I was hesitant at first, but I said if her mother (Almeta Jackson-Fordham) approves of her playing then I would give her a shot. She stepped up and opened my eyes. I'm not stereotypical at all and when she came out and handled herself as well as she did with our boys I knew she could be a part of this team.”

All season, Nolden has found opportunities to get Washington on the field. He promised her if she continued to play well he would give her a chance to start.

"I'm a man of my word, and I told her what I would do. She did her part so I had to do mine and that's why she started for us today. She shows up to practice everyday and hangs with the guys. She's a hard worker who comes to practice early and leaves late. She wants to be better and is willing to learn, and I love that about children whether they're a male or female," Nolden added.

Washington said being the only girl on the football team is a great experience and the only difference she can see is getting dressed in a different locker room.

"I love being on this team. I respect them and they respect me. I'm alone when I get dressed, but when everyone’s ready I join the team and coach talks to all of us. I loved starting and I love getting the chance to block for my teammates and it was so much fun," Washington added.

Washington said getting the chance to play with the boys is good for her because compared to playing with girls, it's a little more exciting.

"There were girls who tried to play with me at home, but with them it's so confusing and they cry if you try an hit them and yell,” Washington said. “When I got out here it was better."

According to Washington her mother supports her, but it's very hard for her to watch her play.

"She's scared I'm going to get hurt, but I told her that if I do it's just apart of the game," said Washington.

Enjoying her eighth grade year on the football team is wonderful, but Washington does not plan on stopping at junior high.

"I plan on becoming a professional football player one day," she said with a huge smile on her face.