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The 411: Youth

Football’s femme fatale

Football’s femme fatale
Amber Fackelman and her dad, Troy, enjoy a quiet moment after her final eighth-grade football game. She’s decided not to play in high school.

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Pascalle Bippert
WCN Correspondent
December 18, 2013
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Amber Fackelman is a pretty typical 13-year-old. The Stockdale Junior High School eighth-grader likes to wear makeup and dresses, and fusses with her hair. She loves John Cena, the wrestler, and she loves all types of music -- country, pop, some rap, and old-style rock ’n’ roll. Amber thinks movie star Josh Hutcherson is very attractive. The daughter of Troy and Alisa Fackelman loves animals and has a German shepherd named Radar and a horse named Diamond. She loves to play volleyball and softball.

And she wears the No. 71 on her football jersey for Stockdale Junior High’s eighth-grade boys Brahma team. She plays offensive and defensive tackle.

Amber has been playing football since she was 9 years old, playing with the Christian Fellowship Police Officers (CFPO) league. This season when Stockdale played Nixon, some of the boys on that team had played with her on the CFPO league.

She is not the first girl to play football with the boys in Texas. Frankie Groves, a 17-year-old girl in Amarillo, played football in 1947. Groves said the boys on her team were not nice to her. (Read more about her under “Female football star” at right/left/other.)

Fast forward to 2013. The boys on Amber’s team are very supportive.

Dillon Kotara, a defensive end and one of Amber’s best friends, said, “I think it’s great. I think more girls should play if they can handle it.”

He said other teams make comments about the team having a girl playing, but no one at school teases her at all.

Quarterback Matthew Dunn doesn’t think he has to defend Amber’s right to play.

“No, she proves it out there,” he said.

“I don’t feel any more protective,” he said, discussing his reaction if she gets hurt. “She’s one of the team. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

On the field in her uniform and pads, that may be the case, but do they feel differently when she’s at school, wearing makeup?

“Yeah, she looks different,” Matthew said. “Out on the field, she’s one of the guys. At school, she’s one of the girls and a cool friend.”

“No, I feel no different about her,” Dillon said. “She sweats and bleeds just like the rest of us out there. She’s my friend on and off the field.”

If a boy at school wanted to date Amber and they thought he was not going to be good to her, what would they do?

“I’d warn her,” Matthew said.

“I’d warn her and then tell him he doesn’t deserve her,” Dillon stated. “She’s one of a kind.”

Amber’s dad, Troy, is very proud of his daughter. He thinks it’s neat that she plays the same positions he played in school.

He takes it one game at a time. He doesn’t want her to get hurt, of course, but he knows she can handle herself.

When the Brahmas played the Nixon Colts this past season, Amber had her own cheering section. Her mother, Alisa, made signs on large poster boards to hold up and cheer for her during the game. Her mother is very proud of her and hopes she plays high school football next year.

Her older sister, Nikki, made a cute poster that has a picture of Amber in makeup as “The Beauty”; the reverse side bore a photo of Amber in her football helmet, with the caption “The Beast.” Clearly, her sister is also a fan.

The announcer included Amber’s name for making tackles, just like the other team members’ names. She bent down and shouldered her way through the pack and brought the opposition down to the turf.

“It was quite interesting to get to know the real guys, and there is no drama with them,” Amber said.

She felt she drew closer to them as friends.

Will she continue to play in high school?

“No, the guys are much bigger in high school and there is a greater chance of getting hurt out there,” Amber said.

Despite being a fairly typical 13-year-old girl, her report card reflects this young lady’s unusual interest. She got a 100 on her report card for boys athletics.

Female football star

Frankie Groves of Amarillo made Texas history back in 1947, playing football with the boys.

She made tackles and held her own, but it turned the town upside down, forced her dad to resign from the school board, and made her mother become a recluse and hide in her house for a year from embarrassment.

Frankie’s participation on the field caused the law allowing girls to play high school football to be overturned until 1993.

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