Persistence Pays Off
Sometimes stamina and endurance is what it takes to succeed. Since she was a little girl, 4’8″ Felicia Perez had wanted to play football. Not just as a kicker. Or a safety. She wanted to be a middle linebacker and fullback, which would put her in the pileup every time she’s on the field.
Felicia began to play football when she was 7 but had to stop when she sustained injuries to her face when hit by a fly ball in a baseball game. She kept up her physical prowess by swimming and consistent, grueling gym workouts. When she entered high school, the thirst for football returned. This little fireball stated, “‘I’m not a follower. I’m a leader. So I decided I was going to play a predominantly male sport.”
At first, her parents were skeptical. Initial responses to her requests led to diversions to cheerleading or water girl on the field. But Felicia wasn’t about to get stuck. First, she sent an email to the Brandywine, Delaware head coach Isiah Mays, putting forward her desire to play. When she met Mays, she gave him a firm handshake and looked him in the eye. He knew this young woman meant business. And the stage was set.
Felicia has also earned her teammates’ respect with her toughness. The quarterback, Jack Russell told of her getting “blasted back like 6, 7 yards after a hit during scrimmage. She just got right back up and anyone else would have stayed down.” Another team member was asked about her abilities. “She hit me hard.” He had the memory of that hit in his eyes. “That’s not a girl. That’s a football player.” Other teams also respect her. Felicia said, “They (the opposing team) decided they were going to run the ball my way. I stopped it both times. They don’t do it anymore.” She has an unstuck mindset.
Her coach notes, “The team has learned to accept her . . . She fits in, and she really does help make up our family.” And the family wouldn’t be the same without her. A short girl with a long view. She’ll never be stuck.
How about you? Pursuing your dreams? Persistence paying off? Or are you stuck?
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