Taylor Christiana ’18: Kicking Away Gender Norms

Photo courtesy of David Schamus

Last weekend, Taylor Christiana ’18 became the first female to compete in a Choate football game.

It’s not very often that a JV kicker can make history, but that is exactly what Taylor Christiana ’18 did this past Sunday when JV football played its first game of the season, and Christiana started as kicker in a 26-7 win over NYC Lions Football. She became the first girl to play on a Choate football team in the team’s illustrious history.

Christiana, who also manages the varsity team, described the origin of her kicking role. “I decided to manage football this fall. We had an off-campus preseason at Camp Laurelwood, and I went. I was doing my manger duties, filling the water bottles, helping the guys with the clock, and I figured, why not try out? I played soccer for twelve or thirteen years, and I thought I could probably try out to be a kicker. I had never kicked a football before, and Coach gave me two tries. I kicked them both, and he said they were good enough.” She added, “When I came up with the idea, I just wanted to try it. It’s my senior year and I wanted to try something different. If I make it, I make it. If I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just stick with managing. Once I made it, I was excited to get the full uniform and make it official, to be on the roster. It wasn’t a prior thought for me, it was more just on a whim.”

Since she made the team, Christiana has had to put in a lot of work to get ready for her first game. Of the hardest part of joining the football team, she said, “Honestly, it wouldn’t be anything about the social dynamic or anything like that. It’s just learning how to be a kicker, changing my form. I played soccer, and you kick the ball with different parts of your foot. There are different steps, and I have to learn new terminology. In that sense, starting from the beginning is the hardest part. You’re used to being proficient in a sport, and now you’re back at beginner level.”

Christiana, who had never even thought of playing football as a possibility before she made the team, praised the culture of the football team. “They treat me just like another teammate,” she said. “They don’t look at me differently than anyone else on the team. It’s nice to feel accepted and to feel appreciated,” she said. “It’s definitely been a smoother transition than I could ever imagine. I didn’t think it would be this easy to become this good of friends with the rest of the team. They have all been super supportive.”

Christiana also made her case to anyone who is on the fence about taking a risk. “If you want to try something new, just do it. Even if you only have a little time left here at Choate, make the best of it.” Christiana has embodied that spirit this fall, pushing the barriers of gender norms and making the most of her last year at Choate.

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