Germantown Hills girl tackles the game of football

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Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 9:11 am

Sunshine and temperatures in the mid 60’s last weekend made for the perfect kickoff to the Metamora/Germantown Hills Redbird Junior Football League’s 2017 season.

The JFL ‘JV Red’ team, made up of sixth grade students, took to the field at Black Partridge Park last Saturday morning.  Rich and Ellen Krasin were among the crowd rooting on the young Redbirds from the sidelines. Their 11-year-old daughter, Emily, however, wasn’t cheering alongside her parents. Instead, she was all decked out in pads and a helmet on the field playing defense.

Emily Krasin likes sports where there’s physical contact.  Before moving to Germantown Hills from Bolingbrook a year ago, she had expressed interest in going out for wrestling.  Since Germantown doesn’t have a wrestling team, she decided to do the next best thing- football.

 "I like tackling...so I was like ‘why not football?  It sounds fun, and I know some of the kids on my team,’” said Emily.

“Emily is very emotional,” Ellen Krasin said of her daughter.  “She does a good job trying to control it, but she decided that a good way to release that would be through a physical activity.”

Ellen added that Emily isn’t really allowed to tackle her brother and sister at home, so football was the better option. 

Still, she talked with her daughter before signing her up in the summer, and made sure she knew she’d likely be the only girl on the team. Ellen said her biggest fear wasn’t only other’s reactions, but how Emily would respond to those reactions. 

“She’s not an attention seeker, ya know, if you got a girl putting herself out there like this it would seem that she may be looking for that, but she’s not,” Ellen said.  “She genuinely wants to do this.”

It turns out that the Krasin family had nothing to worry about.  Emily’s place on the team has been met with only positive reactions from coaches, staff and other parents.  Some even seem a little protective of her.

“At one of the practices there was a daughter of another (football) parent who asked ‘there’s a girl playing football?’ and the parent was like ‘yeah, there’s a girl playing football...she’s tackling hard!’” said Ellen.

Emily may be the only girl playing a contact sport with a bunch of boys, but Ellen said she’s not overly worried about her getting hurt since at this stage of the game, the players are all about the same size and stature. Also, the coaches have implemented Head’s Up football, which is a concussion minimizing way of playing, reducing the risk of injury even more. Ellen admits she may be a bit more apprehensive if Emily decides to keep playing at the high school level, but she has a few years before she has to worry about that. 

For now, she’s just grateful that her daughter’s decision to play a male-dominated sport has received such a great reception. Emily has even earned the praise from a player on the eighth grade “senior” team. 

“He walked right up to her and said, ‘Hey, I think it’s great that Metamora’s finally got a girl playing, it’s about time. Don’t you let anyone tell you what you can’t do,’” recalled Ellen. Ellen remembers it nearly made her tear up, especially since no adult prompted him to say it, he just did it on his own. Emily, who doesn’t like the extra attention, took it in stride.  She said she hopes her playing will inspire other girls to get in the game, too.

“It’s kind of cool that I’m one of the first girls on the Metamora team. I thought there would be more. But I think it’d be awesome if there were more girls on the team, so it’d be a normal thing.” 

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