Football is traditionally a guy’s sport. For at least one high school in the Region, though, it’s been a proving ground for a couple of tough ladies.
Amanda Shurbaji and Abby Clapman are both Juniors at Lake Central High School. They walk the halls, attend class, and meet up with friends as any other high schooler would. The differences begin when they head out to practice, though, and find themselves practicing and conditioning alongside the football team.
Shurbaji, a wide receiver, distinctly remembers wanting to play football years before she would come to fulfill that purpose.
“I’ve wanted to play since I was in seventh grade,” Shurbaji explained. “My family has always watched football and I thought it was something I’d like to do. Most people wouldn’t think it's something I'd do, but it was something I wanted for a long time.”
Clapman, a kicker, also knew she’d like to play, but didn’t expect to join the team. With a history of playing soccer, she knew she wanted to stay involved in sports once she got to high school, and seeing a need on the team, decided she’d like to try out.
“I originally played soccer and I didn’t want to do it in High School, but I still wanted to be involved in sports,” Clapman said. “Summer before sophomore year there wasn’t really a kicker for JV, and I’ve always wanted to kick. So, during the school year, I emailed the coach and asked to try out.”
Nervous as they both were, the girls overcame their fears and were able to join the team. Now, they each enjoy working with their teammates and spending time on the field. During games, the culmination of practice time and team building pay off for each of them.
“The games, and getting out there and seeing everyone together is memorable. After everything, the conditioning and practice, just seeing it put out there is probably the most memorable thing for me,” said Shurbaji.
Clapman especially enjoys the amount of support and friendship she receives from the guys on the team.
“Getting onto the field is nice. It’s an adrenaline rush and the guys will all be yelling my name. They’re always there to pick me back up and be sure I’m ok,” explained Clapman.
Support on the team wouldn’t be as significant without coaches there to reinforce these positive attitudes. For the girls, the coaching environment has been amazing and helped develop them into the best person they can be.
“The coaches have been good with me. They’ve included me the same way they do everyone else, they make sure not to leave me out,” said Shurbaji.
Clapman agreed, and boasted that the coaching staff has gone above and beyond to help develop her.
“I love my coaches. They create an environment to make you better. They push everyone every single day to be better,” said Clapman.
These two girls are paving the way for others in the Region. As Lake Central High School moves forward, they’re sure to continue to support all students, no matter what they choose to do.