Tackling Sterotypes


Mia Ochwat

Player Reygon Smith getting ready for the game ahead of her on the sidelines.

Katelyn Whitcomb, Reporter

A Palatine high school freshman, Reygon Smith makes quite a statement this fall season for the PHS football program. Among the roughly 160 boys currently on the team this year, Smith is the only girl in the program. 

“I used to play D-line left, and now I’m a linebacker,” Smith said, “Usually when girls are on football teams they are kicking.” 

Through her love for other sports like wrestling, soccer, and basketball, she has found a talent for contact sports. Now Smith is a defensive starter for the Pirates freshman team.

Smith is a prominent player on her team. Not only are her coaches a great support system, but many of Smith’s teammates are very encouraging and wish to see her succeed. 

“My teammates are super sweet, and they are mainly all of my friends,” Smith said.

In years past for the Pirates, few girls have tried out for male-dominated sports teams like football and wrestling. It’s been shown throughout D211 wrestling teams that it makes no difference what gender an athlete is when it comes to the impact they have on a team. A dedicated athlete’s grit and determination to succeed shine through. 

“I have coached other girls on our football team and all of my experiences have been the same”, assistant freshman football Coach Ryan Ewanio said, “The female athlete was confident and unafraid to be on the field.”

Smith has made a significant impact on and off the field. Breaking through gender stereotypes has been an ongoing problem for women all around the world. Not many women have played football at the collegiate or professional level, but those that do will make a huge impact.

Players like Smith who are breaking through stereotypes in sports, and future student-athletes may feel more comfortable joining sports if they are interested in knowing that those before them have succeeded. 

“Sometimes I want people to acknowledge it as normal,” Smith said, “because then other girls will be like ‘oh yeah it’s normal, I kind of want to join the team’”. 

Inspiring events that occur among PHS students can make every person in the community feel included and welcomed. Reagon Smith is an impactful representation of the good in our Palatine High School community.