Sports fans have no doubt heard about 28-year-old Lauren Silberman, the former soccer player who became the first female kicker to try out for the NFL regional combine over the weekend. Silberman’s attempt, as bold as it may have been, ended in disappointment; though she was injured on the attempt, her first kick-off barely reached midfield, and the second was even worse. Her injury kept her from finishing the tryout.
Most women have been praising her today for her bravery, and I agree; yet as a female athlete myself, I feel that I too must share my thoughts.
To start with, no one can deny that Silberman has an amazing amount of courage. Her boldness has earned her points in my book. However, I must also say that her poor performance may have set women’s athletics back several years.
I saw the videos of Silberman’s field goals prior to her tryout, and she was solid. Yet, her performance at the regional combine, to be blunt, it was rather embarrassing to watch.
Now before you decide to label me a traitor to my own gender, please understand: I know what it’s like to grow up as a female athlete. I constantly felt the need to prove myself to the guys–to show that I could be just as athletic as they were. But the older I got the more I realized that just because females can be as athletic as men, and even more in some cases, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can (or should) compete with them, particularly in a sport as physically taxing as professional football.
So, as brave as Silberman was in breaking down the gender barrier in the NFL, perhaps it’s a barrier that doesn’t need to be broken. In my opinion, her attempt did nothing to open doors for female athletes, and if anything (if the comments made by my male friends are any indication), it appears to have set us back several years.