The Faces in the Hallway: Sarah Pittman

It’s Thursday night under the bright lights of Skip Pope Stadium. The football is snapped back to the quarter back and you see someone take off running, hoping to catch the football and score a touchdown. There is something different about this wide receiver though–there is a ponytail flowing out of her helmet. 

Freshman Sarah Pittman plays football for a team and a sport that has been dominated by boys; so much so that she is the only girl on the team. She is creating a new path for girls to follow in her footsteps. Pittman is in 9th grade, so she has only played for the freshman football team so far, but she has a real chance to be an inspiration to young girls who want to accomplish something that has not been done much before. 

The 2020 season was her first time playing football. She plays wide receiver on offense and cornerback on defense, two very important positions in football. Pittman has known for a while that this is what she wants to do, with her interest in football beginning in elementary school.  

“This is my first season, but it was fifth grade when I thought that this is something I’m going to do,” Pittman said. 

She has taken a different path than some of her peers as they choose to play flag football, a sport designated for girls. She had her sights set on playing football since she was young, and when Sequoyah implemented flag football as a sport last seasonPittman felt like trying to play flag would be just as hard as learning a whole new sport.  

“The idea of switching to flag football seemed just as weird as switching to soccer or basketball, so I don’t even know if it’s the same sport. Tackle football was just drilled into my head,” Pittman said. 

One of the main reasons she wanted to join the team was to play the guys who she grew up with. 

The guys have been the same guys that I’ve seen play since elementary and middle school, and that was the team I grew up wanting to join,” Pittman said. 

During the years that she couldn’t be on the team, she studied the game with her three older brothers so that when it came time to play, she would be ready to go on the gridiron.  

In the 2020 season she finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of playing with the teamWhen looking at her performance, she believes that some aspects went well and that there are other things she can improve on in the future.  

“I wasn’t the worst, but most players played through elementary and middle school, so I had a lot of catching up to do,” Pittman said. 

Now that she has one season down, she is trying to look towards the future and get on the field again. While Pittman’s mom enjoyed watching her on the field, the dangers of football can be scary for both parents and players.

“Right now, I’m focused on trying to get my mom to let me play for another season, Pittman said. 

Pittman struggled with convincing her mom to just let her play for one season, so now she has to find a way to extend that agreement. If she is allowed to continue to play, and eventually play varsity, Pittman will be making great strides for girls everywhere that just want to play football. This could help open doors for girls who have been turned away simply due to their gender. However, before she can do this, there is still work to be done. Pittman knows she still has to improve her game before she can get to the level that she wants to be at. 

“I really want to focus on just bettering myself as a player. I’m not too worried about playing time as much as I am about keeping up with the sophomores and all of the upperclassmen,” Pittman said. 

She wants to improve her speed and strength, two very important aspects of football. Pittman says she has “no idea” how she can catch up to everyone that has played the game for years. She just knows that if she continues to practice, it can happen. 

She is only a freshman, but if she continues to put in the work to be great, Pittman can help open many doors for girls all around the country.