Girls in the Game - Hattiesburg Native Plays Male Dominated Spor - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Girls in the Game - Hattiesburg Native Plays Male Dominated Sport

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The football field continues to become a venue that welcomes both males and females.

According to http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/ Title IV's passage in 1972 led to a 990 percent increase in women's participation in high school sports.

The bill requires high schools provide equal opportunity sports for both men and women.

For this reason, high schools often offer women's volleyball during the same season as football.

But this story features one Hattiesburg native who relives her days as a female playing a man's game.

Meet Betsy Mercier.

She has been an athlete her entire life.

"I've played soccer since I was three," says Mercier.

But that is not the only sport she played.

In 2011, the senior was already a manager for Sacred Heart's football team when the head football coach approached her about kicking in the team's final game.

"And he was like, 'Look, I'm just thinking about it. Would you ever want to kick?' And I was like, 'In a game'?"

Coach Kern was referring to the team's homecoming game.

But then the unexpected altered the original plan.

"And then it dawned on us, that she's going to have to be with the homecoming court during the first half, and then to top that off she ends up winning - being the homecoming queen," says Sacred Heart Athletic Director Brian Kern.

The 4'11" kicker made her way to the sideline during the third quarter, leaving her with enough time to line up for only one PAT.

But Mercier never attempted the kick.

"The snapper throws it over the placeholders head and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh'," says Mercier.

"When we asked our long snapper what happened, he said when he looked back there and saw Betsy it kind of just messed him up," says Kern.

Although things did not go according to plan, Mercier says she does not regret anything about the experience.

In fact, she encourages more girls to play with the boys.

"If a girl can keep up then she should totally play, because that's how it should be," says Mercier.

As for coach Kern, he speaks for all local coaches when he says he sees no issue with girls playing football, at least under the right circumstances.

"If the girl's committed to it, and if it's something she truly has a commitment to, I don't think there's a coach in the world that would deny them the opportunity," says Kern.

 

For more information about Title IV, visit the aforementioned website: http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/advocate/title-ix-and-issues/what-is-title-ix/title-ix-myths-and-facts

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