4 Life Lessons I Learned While Playing Tackle Football with NY Knockout

I believe the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t apply to fitness, especially when it pertains to girls and women. It’s never too late to try and love a new sport or outdoor activity, which I personally learned after joining the NY Knockout (NYK).

Although it has only been four months since then, the experience has taught me new life lessons and I developed new skills that not only apply on the field, but in my professional and personal life.

Team Is Not A Four Letter Word

As we get older, the word team most likely means more work. When we were kids, we loved being split into teams to play in gym class. I learned that as adults, we still got split up into teams at work, meaning someone is not doing their share of the work and you are picking up the slack.

Being part of NYK, I learned that team is not about the individual picking up other people’s slack, but about the whole, and demonstrates how complete cooperation is needed by every player at all times to achieve even the smallest of yards. It feels good to play on a team where people work together to reach a common goal. Playing for NYK makes the word team a good four letter word.


Part of being on NYK is that your teammates and coaches hold you accountable not only for showing up and being prepared to play, but for your overall performance. Will you be able to play all four quarters of the game? This takes discipline.

I love cheese, I love chicken wings and I love beer. Yet none of those are going to make me a strong and better player. What will, however, is kale, fruits, lean meat, low carb foods, and no cookies. This takes discipline.

How about the individual who works 120 hours in two weeks and still needs to make time for the gym? By having a team that holds you responsible helped develop that discipline

Letting Things Go

This is my biggest problem. I will admit it 100%. I stress and overthink anything and everything. One day at the end of practice, we all gathered around and Coach said, Don’t let things get in your head, let it go and move on. He gave the most accurate example in football. Once the ball is snapped, it is in play and anything can happen.

Unlike golf and many other sports, there are no mulligans or do-overs. When the ball is moving, you better get your butt moving! I learned that this is just like real life; good and bad things are going to happen! You cannot stress, over think, and turn back time. You have to pick up the ball and shoot for the gap!

Run Full Steam Ahead!

In football, there are instances where you have to plow through to make a clearing for the running back to gain yards. Sometimes, you have to stand still and hold off massive linebackers so the quarterback can throw the ball. In any play situation, you have to give it your all and have the confidence to go for it.

This is something that I feel many girls my age lack: the confidence to go for it. Life is about taking risks and we might (and probably will) fail. There is nothing worse than being flattened by another girl four times your size; it hurts. Nevertheless, it isn’t about how you go down, rather, it is about how you get back up!

I would like to send a shout out to my fellow teammates, and let this be an encouragement to any other female thinking about trying anything new. Whether a new dance class, boxing class, soccer or even tackle football, GO AND GROW! You have nothing to lose. Well maybe a few pints of sweat and blood, but the body is amazing like the soul it always heals and replenishes itself.

Meghan Wilcox, Red Roamer

Author: Meghan Wilcox, Red Roamer

Meghan Wilcox, aka “Red Roamer”, is an adventurer with a can-do attitude. She has visited over 20 National Parks and has climbed over 15 of the nation’s highest mountain peaks. She has also participated in various long-distance races and obstacle courses including Lake Placid Half Marathon, Spartan Sprint Series at Mets Stadium, Grand Teton National Park Half Marathon, and Washington DC Ragnar Relay to name a few. Her biggest, most physically challenging adventure in life so far? Joining the United States Army as a Signal Support Specialist, graduating from all her military schools at the top of her class. Currently, Meghan lives in Washington DC and can be found running and biking the trails in and around the DC metro area. She also makes time to coach a co-ed team twice a week in softball, her favorite sport.