By Elizabeth Jantz
Senior Brittany Voyce is truly one in a million. She is the only female to ever be a lineman in the history of Bonita Vista High School.
“I admire her dedication to compete and realize her dream to play,” head coach Chris Thompson said.
Voyce plays on both Junior Varsity and Varsity football teams with the different positions of center, left guard and nose guard. Voyce has had experience in past sports such as summer football, Powder Puff football, and volleyball. The progression of her interest in sports throughout her life increased the desire to get involved with high school football.
“I’ve always loved football when I was a little girl, but when I started playing powderpuff at the end of junior year, it just pushed me to love it more,” Voyce said.
Football is a sport known for being aggressive and traditionally male-centered. Her family has supported her with the decision to be on the football team because of what it shows about gender equality.
“It has made her more determined to push women boundaries in society. Women can do anything men can do,” her mother Katherine Voyce said.
Once she presented to them her interest in the sport, they both played a role in how she got fully immersed in football. She mainly got involved with football through her father since he has a background with it.
“When Brittany came home talking about playing football in gym class, they would go outside and practice. [Her father] used to play football when he was a kid. He would give her pointers and encourage her to do better,” K. Voyce said.
When B. Voyce initially introduced the idea of playing football to her mother, her mother encouraged her to further pursue the sport. She supported B. Voyce’s decision in joining the team, because she believes in equality between the genders.
“My mom is my biggest supporter; she is one of those people who fights for women’s equality because she is in the navy. She’s been fighting for that all her life, so she is my number one supporter throughout the whole thing,” B. Voyce said.
B. Voyce wanted to do what she enjoys, even if something gets in the way of her path, such as being told she is incapable. Playing football is a way for her to branch out and separate herself from the stereotype of what girls are represented as in the modern world, showing her drive to be different and unique in a way that she can still do something she really enjoys no matter what anyone may say.
“I’ve always wanted to do something different and so I found football, something that I love, was different enough, so I chose to do that,” B. Voyce said.
B. Voyce was accepted onto the team by the head coach of the football team Chris Thompson, who has been coaching for 28 years. His expectations for each player have not changed.
“I look to get the best out of each player,” Thompson said.
He has experience in the past with coaching girls. When B. Voyce presented this idea to him he was not very surprised or shocked. However, there remains some conditions in which it may be more difficult for a girl to be on a football team consisting of all guys.
“The only issues with girls is making sure that the other schools have accommodations for her,” Thompson said.
The process in which a girl must go through to get on the team does not differ from what a guy must go through. The coaches, however, do pay a little more attention to the way girls perform.
“I had the same chance as all the other guys. It was a little more difficult for me because, yes I am a girl, and I stood out the first year and I didn’t really know what I was doing. The coach gave me the same exact chance as the guys and there was no bias by it,” B. Voyce said.
B. Voyce wants to be an inspiration for girls with her position on the team along with her involvement in sports. She hopes to give them a sense of confidence to join a variety of sports at Bonita.
“I want to inspire other girls by saying it’s okay to do something different and that there are no regulations to say what you can or can’t do. I always wanted to push those boundaries of things that lean more towards guys. I want to say that girls can do that too and it’s not just for guys— it’s for everybody. They can’t keep you back from what you want,” B. Voyce said.