Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Katie Hnida

I was watching Larry King last night and learned about a woman called Katie Hnida. Katie's this tall, blonde, good looking woman who used to be a kicker for a college football team. It's not everyday you see a woman playing on a men's football team, so I took note. I also did some research on her today and found this quote by Katie.

"Football is what makes me breathe." - Katie Hnida

Katie followed her talent and passion for football, but it was anything but easy. Here's a short excerpt from a Sports illustrated article on Katie.

On her first day of practice Hnida found out how welcome she was. She says five teammates surrounded her and verbally abused her, making sexually graphic comments. During the season players exposed themselves to her "at least five times," she says. "They'd go, 'Hey, Katie, check this out!'" One player came up from behind, she says, and rubbed his erect penis against her.

Sometimes when the entire team was huddled up, Hnida says, players stuck their hands on her crotch or groped her breasts under her shoulder pads. "She endured more abuse than one person should have to bear," former teammate Justin Bates says. Even as she practiced, players called her vulgar names and one fired footballs at her head.

Katie is now coming forward and talking about being raped by a team member.

Is this what we as women have to endure from men to follow our dreams?

Well Katie had had enough. She became very depressed, dropped out of CU after her sophomore year.

She says she was depressed for two years, suffered from insomnia and gave up kicking....

Katie went into therapy, enrolled at a junior college and then had the guts to walk on at New Mexico in 2002. Last August she became the first woman to score in Division I football history when she kicked two PATs in the Lobos' 72-8 rout of Texas State-San Marcos...

So why is Hnida, 22, telling her story now? "Because all the news sent me back into that nightmare," she says. "It made me literally sick. I realized that until I tell my story, I can never heal."

I think this is a story that should be heard more often. I have two daughters who have their own dreams and goals and as a parent I wonder about what they'll have to endure to make those dreams come true.

My wish is that whatever gender, race, religion, or lifestyle...a person should be given the opportunity to follow their dreams without prejudice.

I highly recommend you read the rest of the article from Sports illustrated

Katie has also written a book titled Still Kicking: My Dramatic Journey as the First Woman to Play Division One College Football.



At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read Katie's book, Still Kicking. Very impressive - not whiny but very positive. She focuses on football rather than her Colorado experience. I hope she goes on to do great things for woman in sports.


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