Hartsook looks back on her season as a female football player

READY TO TAKE THE FIELD. Katie Hartsook stands on the sidelines during a Sevier football game. Hartsook was the only girl on Seviers football team this school year.

Samayah Wolfe

READY TO TAKE THE FIELD. Katie Hartsook stands on the sidelines during a Sevier football game. Hartsook was the only girl on Sevier’s football team this school year.

By Anna Harrington, John Sevier Middle School

Football is a physically demanding sport that is most often played by boys. It’s fairly rare for a girl to join a football team, but not completely unheard. In the past, there have been girls that occasionally tried out for the football team at Sevier Middle. This year, Katie Hartsook did, too.

Hartsook is an eighth-grade student and was the only female on the football team this season.

“The most challenging thing for me was people doubting me and saying I wasn’t as good as the boys,” Hartsook said. “It was tough, but you gotta be tough to play football.”

She was treated differently by some members of the team, as well.

“Most of the boys on the team acted like I wasn’t as good as them,” she said, “Some of them were nice to me and some of them acted like I wasn’t good enough for the team.”

Her friends, however, were all for her football ambitions.

“They were excited for me and they were very supportive,” she said.

Her parents were also very supportive of her pursuits.

“I was doing something that made me happy, so they were supportive,” Hartsook said.

She also participates in some other sports so that she can stay in shape for football.

“I wrestle for my uncle at his shows,” Hartsook said. “He works with ‘Pro Wrestling South’ out of Bristol.”

She believes that her biggest success was that she got healthier and stronger. Hartsook also has goals for the future.

“I wanna play football at Dobyns-Bennett High School,” she said. “I love everything about football, but my favorite thing is becoming stronger and making new friends.”

Just like any other player, she had to go through tryouts to join the middle school football team.

“It was tough, but I stayed strong and pushed myself through it,” Hartsook said.

Her inspiration to join the team came from a long history of loving football.

“I’ve always liked sports, and growing up, my brothers always played football,” she said. “They inspired me to play.”

Hartsook believes that more girls should join the football team because girls can play just as well as boys can.

“The boys need some girls to show them they’re not better than everyone,” she said. “Girls are strong too. Any girl that wants to play should try out.”

This story was originally published on The Sequoyah Scribe on March 20, 2020.