There’s no question this is a landmark year—one that, for a myriad of reasons, will be viewed in the years to come as a major inflection point in our respective lifetimes. For instance, this upcoming college football Saturday will be must-see television when Vanderbilt University and the first-ever female player on a Power Five conference team take on the 11th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Should you tune in to see Sarah Fuller lining up for kickoff, know that she won’t be making history—she did that last week.
I recognized what a monumental milestone it was when my 11-year-old daughter, Maddie, bounced around our living room with excitement about my favorite sport. Not once had she ever talked endlessly about a specific football game until this particular one being played in Columbia, Missouri, featuring a winless Vanderbilt team. The contest dominated every national headline because for the first time ever, a female student-athlete put on the helmet and shoulder pads to compete in the NCAA’s highest division and arguably the sport’s toughest conference. Sarah Fuller is now the name my daughter will never forget and for good reason—when she trotted onto the field as starting kicker for the second half of her team’s blowout loss to the Missouri Tigers, she executed a squib kick and shattered a ceiling. On Tuesday she was named SEC football co-player of the Week.
Each of us has at least one moment that changes our lives and inspires us to think beyond our wildest dreams. Each of us has a role model or a person significant enough to us that we stop whatever we’re doing, and observe what they do in marquee moments. In this instance, Fuller was not afraid to step up while everyone was watching. She embraced the moment and reveled in the opportunity it brought for her to be a role model. Fuller has handled the attention with great poise and composure. In every media appearance since this past Saturday’s game, she’s reinforced her intentions of being a role-model for little girls everywhere more so than being in the history books for all-time.
Just last month, Fuller’s prowess on the soccer pitch, as starting goalkeeper, helped Vanderbilt secure the Southeastern Conference Championship. And while the 21-year-old who stands 6’2’’ and has been seen kicking soccer balls from nearly goal post to goal post, was making plans to join her family for Thanksgiving, she answered a call to join a football team who was in dire need of