Taylor Lange, an 8th grader from North Olmsted, Ohio, has always loved football. She had the opportunity to play flag football in 4th and 5th grade. In 6th and 7th grade, she paused from football to participate in competitive gymnastics and to cheer. Even though she loved cheer, she watched the football games from the sidelines and wished she could play. She felt herself being drawn back to the gridiron.
Taylor persistently followed her passion for football. In 7th grade, while still competing in gymnastics, she stayed after school to lift weights with the boys. After hearing an announcement for six a.m. workouts, Taylor took the initiative and rode her bike to school early to train. Even though these sessions turned out to be for high schoolers, she demonstrated an impressive work ethic and was welcomed by the school principal to join. The principal heard about Taylor’s determination to play tackle football and was a supportive voice in her administration.
This 8th grade season, Taylor’s hard work paid off. She earned her place on the North Olmsted Eagles Middle School tackle football team as a wide receiver and free safety. Taylor loves the competition and the chance to represent her school on the field. Her mother, Tricia, shared, “When she walks off the field, she is glowing. Even if she gets to play for 30 seconds, she lives for every second!”
Taylor with the tackle!
Hateful comments have been made frequently by peers and even some adults about her decision to play tackle football. Taylor loves playing football so much that even though these words are upsetting, she is not deterred by the hostility. She continues to rise above doubters and criticism to enjoy the sport she loves. Taylor stays self-motivated and continues to push forward in her commitment to the game.
Even in the midst of adversity, Taylor’s focus remains selfless. She wants to share her story to inspire other girls to follow their dreams of playing football and to remind them that anything is possible. In the future, Taylor aspires to receive a college scholarship. She wants to continue with football and tumbling and is open to try other sports.
Taylor’s example and voice of perseverance will inspire other athletes. “I just know that I am doing what I love. I would say as long as you do something you love, that's all that matters. Don't let people bring you down. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
WNFC CFO Kristen Davis & Texas Elite Spartans WR/DB Maria Jackson
representing Got Her Back and supporting Taylor on game day!