BY DAVE MCCONNELL
It’s been seven years since a mother and her quiet, ten-year-old female soccer player walked up and introduced themselves to me. The mother went on to say that her daughter would like to join one of my training classes. I tried explaining that most ten-year-olds were not ready to take on the mental aspect of the vigorous workouts she would be subject to. She felt quite confident her daughter would be fine. The mother, Christine, knew her daughter well. Her daughter is Megan Peters, and I’m telling her story of how hard work, dedication, and determination can allow dreams to come true.
At the time, when Megan started training with me, the class was made up of primarily males that were older. Anything I challenged the older boys to do, she was going to attempt. When I had them doing chin-ups, she was right there to join them. Initially, I would have to hold her feet and give her assistance to pull her chin over the bar. Now she is doing ten chin-ups on her own. This is a rare feat for anyone, especially a female. This is just the way Megan would approach any obstacle in her young life. She was never blessed with great speed or size. Generally, one or both of these are essential to become a good high school soccer player. She never let this interfere with her goals of playing high school soccer at West Forsyth High School, one of the elite programs in the state. Endless hours of footwork, speed, agility and strength training not only allowed her to reach her goal of making the team, it propelled her into the starting line-up as a freshman on the varsity squad. One might think this accomplishment would be enough to satisfy any high school athlete. But again, this is not your typical high school athlete and her next endeavor would be one that had everyone’s heads turning.
Last summer, after one of our training sessions, Megan asked me if I thought she could kick a football. I said there’s only one way to find out. The next day we were on the Forsyth County Broncos field kicking footballs. Watching her on the soccer field for years of playing soccer, I knew she had a strong leg, but that does not always transition to kicking a football. Once she got her steps down and got a feel for kicking off a tee, surprisingly, she was very efficient. When we finished, it was quite obvious that she wasn’t spending a hot summer afternoon just for the joy of kicking a football. Megan was going to start kicking every day. Megan had to get ready for the start of football practice for West Forsyth High School.
August 1st, the first day of practice. Although admittedly nervous, she waited anxiously for her time to kick. While she waited, her coaches and players were giving words of encouragement that brought some relief. But now was the time to perform and all eyes would be watching to see if “the girl” could really be a part of the team. Megan kicked, and she kicked really well. She went on to be the first female to be on the varsity football team at West Forsyth High School. To a roaring ovation, Megan’s first extra-point attempt sailed right through the uprights. As she was being mobbed by coaches and teammates coming off the field, the announcer said, “That’s Megan Peters, who just became the first female to score a point in West Forsyth Football history.”
With the looming uncertainty of the upcoming high school sports, Megan will continue to work out and practice in hopes of being able to excel in her senior season in football and soccer. She’s also setting goals for life after high school. She will be applying to become a cadet at the prestigious West Point, where she hopes to play soccer. Who knows, she might even pay the football coach a visit, too. I wouldn’t bet against her!