Nine year-old Sam Gordon (that’s short for Samantha) has compiled pretty impressive stats in her all-boy Utah Pee Wee Football league. They are stats that any fantasy football owner would envy. At first glance, this “Good Morning America” segment felt so saccharine that I was getting a toothache. It reminded me of that cliched Warner Brothers movie, Little Giants or the more endearing Rudy Huxtable (7:50 minute mark).
But then I saw this video:
And then I watched it again. And then a third time. Just like a few others on the planet. I was mesmerized by her vision, her ability to find the gaps, to shake off defenders, and to take serious hits. Upon watching it, I was compelled to compare her video reels of the most elusive running back of all time: Barry Sanders. I was impressed and captivated.
But there’s something more captivating going on here than her athletic prowess or her obvious challenge to gender roles. That’s been done. It’s even more captivating than child phenoms who dominate their peer group and get sucked in the national media hype machine. That, too, is passe. On the surface it is a simple story of a father who made a video commemorating his daughter’s accomplishments. Scratch a little deeper and it really a subtle gesture of a father’s pride in his daughter.
There seemed to be no pretension, no desired cash-in, contrary to what is insinuated in this Forbes article. Instead, both father and daughter seem unaware of the national spotlight and just relish the joy of being together. In fact, this video which emphasizes this little girl’s dominance really serves as an entree for something more desperately needed in the world: tenderness.
Dreams, talent, skill, dominance, and potential are all heavily valued in this world, but what may be missing the most is the value of being proud of the one you love. Sam and her dad’s greatest skill may be savoring that moment of loving and being loved.