Emilia Alpert and Lindsey Balsley made history for the Coronado High School football team on Sept. 22, when both female players scored for the Islanders against Mar Vista.
The achievement garnered national attention, with a story in USA TODAY as well as other publications that focus on high school sports and numerous social media posts.
I’ve coached 26 years and this is the first time in my experience that I’ve ever heard of two young women scoring in a single game.”-Coronado High School football Coach Kurt Hines.
“I’ve coached 26 years and this is the first time in my experience that I’ve ever heard of two young women scoring in a single game,” said Coronado football Coach Kurt Hines.
Calling out ‘Jackwagon, keyboard warriors’
However, not everyone was happy about the achievement.
The girls’ success received some negative feedback on social media sites, which infuriated Hines.
“I think social media is like a loaded gun,” Hines said. “In the right hand at the right time you can save a life and do some good and in the wrong hands it can cause lots of damage.”
Hines, who has a large social media following himself with tens of thousands of followers, used those platforms to call out all of the “Jackwagon, keyboard warriors who are living in their mother’s basements” and hating on young women and men.
“If any adults find themselves knocking high school athletes, they’re living their lives wrong,” Hines said. “It baffles me that in a world that is so overpopulated with hate, that people are going to point that hate towards a young woman or young man.”
After noticing that an article was posted on MaxPreps, which calls itself “America’s source for high school sports,” Hines warned the girls that there might be negative feedback, since it had happened to a young female athlete he had coached in the past.
He told them ahead of time to take pride in what they do, realize the work they’ve put in and block out the negative noise.
Tuning out the negativity
“People have a lot of things to say and it’s not new, you know, I just learned how to tune it out,” Alpert said about the comments. “It’s never something that makes me not want to show up to practice…It honestly just motivates me more to do my best.”
Alpert said that she understands that girls don’t have a lot of the same athletic opportunities as boys, and feels honored to be an advocate for women in sports.
Balsley said this is the first time she has been faced with hate for playing football because all of the people she interacts with face-to-face are supportive of her decision, and they are secure in themselves and not threatened by her.
She said those making the comments, on the other hand, have no credibility.
“I don’t really care what they were saying, because it doesn’t really affect me personally,” Balsley said.
Support from teammates
Hines said that on the flipside, the great majority of people respect what Alpert and Balsley are doing, and they appreciate the girls for “putting themselves out there.”
Hines, Balsley and Alpert all noted the support from the rest of the team.
“One of my favorite parts is… hearing the team celebrate and hearing the team get behind them because our guys understand that these young women are putting themselves out there,” Hines said.
‘Shove her into the end zone’
Alpert was put into the game with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter after junior Landon Sutherland maneuvered a massive 59-yard run, putting the team directly on the 1-yard line.
Right before the snap, Alpert said she looked at sophomore quarterback Trey Arnold and told him to “just shove her into the end zone.”
Shoulder lowered, Alpert rushed the touchdown through Mar Vista’s line and fell into the end zone, with the Coronado linemen rallying around her to give a final shove.
Alpert said all of the linemen were a tremendous help, specifically noting how senior Graham Bower had her back.
I’m honestly just so grateful for everyone around me and the other guys on the field that wanted it just as bad as I did. The lineman took care of me and I had an amazing quarterback to help me and calm my nerves.”-Emilia Alpert
“Falling into the end zone was just the craziest experience,” Alpert said. “I’m honestly just so grateful for everyone around me and the other guys on the field that wanted it just as bad as I did. The lineman took care of me and I had an amazing quarterback to help me and calm my nerves.”
The first thing Alpert saw when she looked up after the touchdown was a sea of green Coronado jerseys surrounding her. The amount of support and happiness she felt in that moment was equaled by the amount of celebration from her teammates, she said.
Same feeling of excitement
Balsley recalls the same feeling of excitement after getting an extra point for the Islanders in that game.
Balsley recounted the moment that Hines put her on the field, telling her she was on the kick.
After making it through the uprights, Balsley remembers a lot of cheering and pats on the helmet.
The Islanders, currently 3-3, had a bye Sept. 29 and will play Crawford on Oct. 6 for the homecoming game.
“These next four games after our bye week, there’s not going to be a single easy game for us,” Hines said. “We definitely have our work cut out for us moving forward, but we’re excited about that.”