How Little Giants empowered women to dream big

When I was younger, I wanted to be like Ice Box.

No, I’m not talking about William “the refrigerator” Perry—the infamous defensive end who played for the Chicago Bears in the late eighties and early nineties, danced “The Super Bowl Shuffle” and scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XX.

I’m talking about Becky “Ice Box” O’Shea, the infamous linebacker for the Giants who could flatten opponents in the 1994 family-friendly flick, Little Giants.

Like Ice Box, I was a huge tomboy (still am). I loved football and I was good at it. I wore clothes with grass stains and dirt rubbed on them. I didn’t brush my hair or do anything with it other than pull it back in a tangled pony tail And I constantly felt I had to prove I was just as athletically inclined as any boy on my street.

Whenever I got word that my brothers and their friends were heading to the grassy field in front of the neighborhood playground for a game of tackle football, I tagged along. My two best friends would sit on the wooded fence that ran the length of the field and watch me play.

I knew the game. I knew how to run routes. I knew when to go in for a tackle and when to jump a route for the interception. I was also fast and used my soccer skills to juke them boys right out of their beat-up Nikes. But my favorite part of the game was when a new kid—new to the neighborhood, new to our group—lined up across from me. He’d have this look on his face, this extra bit of confidence because he was covering a girl. I always hated that look. I still hate that look. And I still get that look sometimes playing in my two-hand-touch co-ed football league as an adult. It’s a distinct overlap of smugness and humor, as if they are saying to themselves, “Oh alright, I guess I’ll cover the girl.”

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