Okay, so today I traveled to the Jets Practice facility in Florham Park, New Jersey to witness the first Woman to try out for the NFL, former Wisconsin soccer player Lauren Silberman. Yes, I was psyched and very interested because this would be a historic moment for Women’s Sports, one that could possible change some folks’ perception of Women playing (American) football. Instead, what I witnessed was very disappointing.
Silberman, the 28-year-old New York City resident, citing a quad injury she suffered prior to the tryout, flubbed her only two attempts…one traveled about a wobbly 19 yards, the other, (an even worse) 13 yards.
Let me set the stage, Silberman entered the practice facility with the NFL crew documenting her every move..nice, I thought. There was plenty of additional media outlets, from ABC to WSEN, and photographers galore! There were four groups of 10 kickers, with Silberman being in group 3 (which means we had to wait a little longer to see her..okay). When all the participating kickers were warming with kicks, Silberman chose to stretch. When her group came out for warmups, curiously, Silberman again did not attempt a single kick. She opted instead to stretch, do pushups and sit-ups. (We later found out the reason).
Some three hours later when her turn finally (and mercifully) arrived, she still had not attempted one warmup/practice kick. When she stepped up to place the ball on the tee for her first attempt, that’s where it all began to fall apart, you could tell she had no confidence in what she was about to do and on her very first kick it showed.
Here’s my thing (my opinion y’all) on a stage as huge as the N-F-L Combine, either you go 100% or not at all (I’m just sayin’). As a woman trying out for a male-only sport, you have to ‘represent’. After all, you aren’t just doing it for yourself, but for all the women who may possibly come after you! (And let’s not forget the ‘ribbing’ we’re all going to get after this).
Oh, by the way, when Silberman was asked at the press conference how far she has previously kicked, her answer was a noncommittal “you know it’s still hard to exactly say, but I’ve gotten better day by day and the distance is getting there.”