Kick Like A Girl: When Girls Take On Boys, And Triumph

Last night, HBO aired Kick Like A Girl, an inspiring, short documentary film about a girls’ soccer team in Salt Lake City that began playing against boys’ teams…and winning.

The team, the Cheetahs, is coached by Jenny Mackenzie (she is also the film’s director/producer and mom to player Lizzie, seen in the first clip at left); after multiple blowouts against other girls’ teams, Mackenzie asked for – and was granted – permission for her team to play against boys’ teams, with the idea that the girls under her tutelage might find themselves more challenged, athletically.

As could be expected, people had issues with this. Some parents were concerned that the boys might play less aggressively out of fear of “hurting” the female players they were up against; others couldn’t seem to wrap their heads around the simple fact that their sons had to play girls at all – and that they might actually lose to them.

What resonated the most for me – other my envy of the abundance of confidence and team spirit on display – was the Cheetahs’ embrace of their more aggressive, competitive sides. As a former (mediocre) soccer player, I can say that one of my fondest memories of my 7 years as a forward in the AYSO league in Northern California is that I was afforded the opportunity – nay, encouraged – to B-E AGGRESSIVE. I am now 36, and that opportunity hasn’t really presented itself since.

Above left, star player Lizzie talks about playing soccer and growing up in Mormon country. Below, the boys – and parents – react to the introduction of the girls.

To see the entire film, check the schedule here.

Kick Like A Girl [HBO]

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