Tuesday, June 16, 2009

5 Questions With A Rookie

Yes, "5 Questions" is usually on a Monday but I couldn't help but move it a day after the Lakers won the title! Woo! At any rate - back to reality now...

Today's guest is one of the amazing women that plays for the Southern California Breakers. Monique Boone joined the team this and made quite an impact. I'll let her introduce herself and answer five questions:

I come from a small family (one sister and parents) and resided most of my life in Newark, Delaware. After college, I moved with my girlfriend (now wife) to pursue my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. At the beginning of the season, I had graduated with my Masters and was counseling elementary students in Garden Grove Unified School District. I received exciting news that I would be starting the PsyD Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Argosy University, Orange County. On the football field, I play a variety of positions (tight end, defensive end, linebacker, fullback, and offensive line). My number is #39 and my nickname is Beast (with the origin still being debated).

1. What sports did you play (if any) as a child growing up? Was your family big into sports or is this something you came to later?

As a child, I was excited about sports. I mainly played soccer, basketball, and the sport I became most passionate about, lacrosse. My dad was the athlete in the family. He received sports scholarships in college and played football for Hampton University. Although my dad had those accomplishments, it was an open invitation to become involved in sports. I am really happy for that kind of structure.

2. How did you get started playing football? Is this a sport you have always wanted to play? Are there any other sports you are active in today?

In the spring of 2008 I was looking at the newsfeed on Facebook from my friends on the East Coast and I noticed that a few of them were trying out for women's football. I could not believe it. Women playing football? Since it was already the spring I felt that it was too late and I did not give it too much thought. Sometime in October I remembered women's football and started doing some Google research. The first team I found was actually the Los Angeles Amazons. I went to their December tryouts and was truly considering playing for them. During the tryout, one of the players was mentioning other teams in the area and the Southern California Breakers name came up in conversation. My ears perked. I was a girl from Orange County and if they are closer then that would make it a lot easier for me to get to practices, meetings, games, etc.... anyways, after the tryout I Googled again and found the Breakers. I contacted Enrique (the team’s Chief Operating Officer), went to my first preseason practice, and really the rest is history. I felt I made the best decision and I do not believe I would be as happy as I am right now anywhere else. In high school during the football games, my friends and I would joke about putting a helmet on and throwing me in but of course I could not do that because I was in marching band. I have always loved the sport of football but I had no idea I could actually play. I’m not active in any others sports at the moment.

3. What have been the biggest challenges for you as a football player? What are the biggest rewards?

A few of my challenges have been confidence and facing personality traits. With confidence, I had only watched football and here I was trying to learn formations, route numbers, feet placement, how to block, how to tackle and run through tackles, catching a football, etc... There was so much information that the coaches and the veterans were trying to cram. I stated several times throughout preseason that football was the most complicated sport I had ever played. It was through the long practices and study material provided by the coaches and just sheer commitment of thinking about football that were factors and the building blocks toward having confidence. With my personality traits, it definitely differs from the way that I play. Honestly I am really shy, and it is difficult for me to put myself out there. With the Breakers team, where there are so many big personalities, you have to bring your personality so this opportunity gave me a chance to work on my shyness. I feel the biggest reward I received from this experience is family. In psychology, there are two phrases: "family of origin" and "family of choice". Currently, my family of origin lives in St.Louis, MO and the only family in California is my wife. Before football, I did not have a family to call my own. The Breakers came along and welcomed me into their family. It sounds pretty sappy, but the Breakers showed that loyalty and friendship could be found in Orange County. I am not sure if I ever will be able to repay the Breakers for everything they have done for me and becoming my family of choice.

4. Who have been your biggest role models in sports and otherwise? Do you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?

This is tough. I would say all women athletes were my role models. This is a large group but every time a woman steps out to play a sport, she is covering new territory that was never stepped on before. I definitely consider myself a role model especially now playing football. Football was a sport traditionally held for men. Granted, it is still seen that way but the NFL just started having camps for girls. In the new NFL commercial they show girls playing football. With every person that I discuss about football is another person being enlightened and educated about women and sports.

5. What advice would you give to young people that are interested in playing a sport like football?

I would tell young people that football equals commitment. As I look back over the season, there was a considerable amount of time given to conditioning, playing, and learning the game of football. This sport gives little room for people that only want to run at 50%. It has to be 100% every time for the safety of your teammates and yourself.

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