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Starling brings girl power to football league

Autumn Starling

Mickey Starling: Greene Publishing, Inc.

When 10 year-old Autumn Starling signed up for the Dave Galbraith football league, she was in for a big surprise. She was sure this was a flag football league full of boys and girls. Boy, was she wrong!

Upon realizing that this was going to be a full contact sport with no other girls on her team, Autumn's first thoughts were, "Oh my gosh, I can't do this!" However, she decided to step up her game a bit and began playing football with the boys at her school, Madison Creative Arts Academy. Some of those boys were on her team, and with that extra bit of encouragement, she decided to stick it out. The Cowboys just added a ponytail to the lineup!

The three days of practice per week was Autumn's favorite memory. She was especially fond of getting knocked down while running plays, and her parents were equally pleased that she continued to get back up! Teammate Marshall Pike talked about playing with Autumn, "It was interesting. She was actually tougher than some of the boys!" Fellow teammate, Micah Jenkins, recalled, "It was weird!" This was a sentiment also shared by some of her opponents who were shocked when she removed her helmet after the final whistle; but, for Autumn, the whole thing was just plain fun, and she looks forward to suiting up again next year.

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