“Football is a physical sport. You’re gonna get punched in the face. It’s about how you respond. Punch back.” If anything sums up ESPN’s latest documentary Born to Play, it’s that. Director Viridiana Lieberman’s examination of women’s tackle football is inspiring not only for fans of the sport, but for anyone who feels like their dreams are unattainable.
Following the Boston Renegades as they attempt to win the 2018 WFA national championship as redemption for falling short the season before, the film allows viewers to get to know the fierce competitors – women whose ages range from 19-49. These women have full-time jobs, relationships, families and other responsibilities that pull them from the field, but it never stops their unwavering passion for the game.
In the words of a Renegade, “We have our goal. It’s not gonna happen because we want it to happen. It’s gonna happen because everyone grabs their oar and rows.” In this unprecedented time of a global pandemic, Born to Play can serve as a metaphor of where America is right now and where it could be, if we acted like teammates trying to win a championship. Although we might not get that with politicians, we get it here – and it’s refreshing.
These women put their hearts, minds and bodies into purpose, despite the obvious sexism they encounter as female football players. They are role models for any young girls, boys or anyone who feels different. There is a place for you, there is a space for you, you just have to find your team.
Thankfully, the documentary will be receiving additional air dates throughout the summer and is available to stream through ESPN.