Liv Kyncl, Lakeshore Varsity Football
When the football coach, from a school that places it’s football team in high esteem, approaches you to try out, what do you do? Your first reaction might be to say “of course you’ll join.” But, the answer is not always that easy…when you are a girl.
Freshman Liv Kyncl had to go through this very scenario when Lakeshore’s Freshman Football Coach, Danny Davison, approached her. He was looking for a kicker and knew that Liv was the goalkeeper on her travel soccer team. Coach Davison asked Liv if she’d be willing to come kick for him so they could see how she’d do. Before you know it, her first attempt went squarely through the uprights! Talk about excitement!
Coach Davison saw Liv go five for five that afternoon and knew he had found the player he was looking for, if she’d decide to join the team.
When you are breaking barriers and doing something that has never been done before, it’s not always an easy decision to make. Not only do you have to think about the concerns in your own head, but in this case, Liv also had to consider the impact it could have on her twin brother who was also on the team. She was worried about what he was thinking and how he was going to treat her. In the beginning, it was really rough. Her brother wasn’t thrilled to have his sister join the team. There were comments from outsiders that didn’t help either.
Liv’s Mom and Dad also had their own concerns. Their daughter was considering joining the football team. Rachel Kyncl, Liv’s Mom, was definitely worried. What if Liv got hurt? Maybe she’d be less likely to be injured if Liv only kicked PAT’s (points after touchdowns)? There were a lot of questions and concerns to be fielded.
Ultimately, Liv decided that she’d give it a try because the team needed a kicker. And heck, she was good at it too, so why not? In addition to PAT’s, Liv also ended up kicking field goals.
Even though her brother wasn’t too happy about the idea initially, when Liv went two for two on her PAT’s in the game against Portage, she definitely proved herself. Liv’s Mom mentioned that the two siblings talked about the game the whole ride home.
Liv has learned a lot about herself through this experience. Sometimes you may need to give people time to change their minds or opinions about you or the situation. On top of that, Liv also learned that sometimes it is fun to put yourself out there and to step out of your comfort zone. If you do, you may find something that is enjoyable. After Liv was hit three times in a game and had a cleat ground into her foot, you might question whether or not football is something you’d consider enjoyable, but Liv refers to it as “keeping it real.” At the end of the season, Liv was asked by Varsity Coach Danny Thompson to dress for the last game of the regular season. Liv also dressed for the playoff game. Although she didn’t get in, Liv was ready on the sidelines. She’s not just a tough girl, she’s a tough athlete.
Liv’s advice to others: “Take new experiences and opportunities as they come.”
Liv’s parents are incredibly proud and want their daughter to realize that she is capable of doing anything she sets her mind to. Even though Liv didn’t set out to break down barriers when she joined, she was the first girl to dress and play on the Lakeshore Varsity Football team.
“This definitely wasn’t something she set out to do. Coach Davison would tell you that he’s a really good recruiter! We hope this opens the door for other kids to do things that haven’t been done before or aren’t the norm,” said Liv’s mom, Rachel.
Liv proved that she belonged on the team. A sense of belonging is the heartbeat of inclusion.