As a freshman at DeLaSalle two years ago, Christina Carte’s mother made a demand.
“She wanted me to play a sport,” said Carte, who is now a junior.
Typical girls’ sports weren’t appealing to Carte so she boldly tried out for the football team.
“I really like the sport,” she said. “I always tossed the football with my friends. Girls’ teams were just not my thing. So I tried out.”
She’s still at it, a 5-4 wide receiver who just began her third season with the Islanders. Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke to Carte during a break in a recent practice about why she chose football and what keeps her going.
Q: When do you realize how tough is would be?
A: I think it was in my first tackle drill. They had us in pads, fully dressed. I got knocked over and I think I cried for like 20 minutes. But I got back up. It was OK.
Q: Have you ever thought about quitting?
A: Yeah, last year I was having a really rough season and I thought about it, but my coaches kept telling me, “No, don’t do it, this is for you.” I was like, “All right.”
Q: How do the guys on the team treat you?
A: They take really good care of me. Of course, they’re going to mess around with me because that’s the team atmosphere, but they take really good care of me. They look out for me, make sure I’m OK.
Q: Have you gotten any varsity playing time?
A: I played at the homecoming game last year. We were up by a lot, so they put the third string in. I got a catch. It was awesome.
Q: Talk about the catch.
A: It was a screen pass. I think it was in the third quarter, I’m not quite sure. I ran a little bit, trying to get past a bigger guy, but he kind of knocked me over. It was really cool.
Q: How did it feel at the time?
A: It was all kind of a blur. I just remember my head hitting the ground and I was like, “Oh, no.”
Q: What kinds of reaction have you gotten from people?
A: I get a lot more support than people who say it’s not right. Of course, you’re going to get those people who say “That’s not cool. It’s a guy’s sport.” That’s when you have to rise up to adversity and go harder.
Q: What would you say to other girls who want to try football?
A: If you really like it, do it. But don’t go in thinking it’s going to be easy or do it because there’s a lot of guys on the team. Don’t do it for attention. Do it because you love the sport.
Q: What is the hardest you’ve ever been hit?
A: There was a JV game. I remember a number 86 — I’m blanking on the team but I remember the number — coming toward me. I was doing kickoff return and 86 just came down and hit me and knocked me back about 5 yards. I just flew. I saw him coming and I thought, “I’m going to get hit. Dang.”
Q: Do you work out with the team in the offseason?
A: Yes. Nobody wants to lift weights at eight in the morning, but when there are a lot of people there, you realize something bigger than me is motivating me to do it.
Q: Are you in a lot better shape?
A: Yes. Football really got me in check. I couldn’t even lift the bar initially, which was 45 pounds, but now I have more weight on it. I’m getting better.
Q: So you’re ripped now?
A: I can’t front or anything, but I’m not bad.