Cheerleader takes up football
Brielle Susmarski, 9, of Norridge runs drills during practice with the Vikings of the Norridge Youth Activities football league, which is run by the Norridge Park District. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:08PM
NORRIDGE — Brielle Susmarski, 9, of Norridge has switched out her pom poms for shoulder pads.
Susmarski plays for the Norridge Youth Activities in-house football league, which has been around for decades and is back this year after a one-year hiatus.
Her younger brother Troy, 7, plays for the league. Susmarski had performed as a cheerleader during youth football games, but after seeing her brother play, she decided she wanted to play too.
“I saw my brother doing it and it looked really fun,” said Susmarski, who also plays soccer and softball.
“The difference is cheerleading is mostly tumbling and stunting and football is like tackling and running with the ball,” she said.
About 60 kids in second through sixth grade play for the league, said Bob Short, league president. While Susmarski is the only girl playing now, a few girls have played previously.
Short said football teaches discipline and teamwork.
“Contrary to baseball, everyone is involved in a play,” he said. “They can’t sit there and wait for the ball to come to them. They have an area to cover or a hole to shoot through
“Not all kids have to go on to a travel league. They can still learn the fundamentals to play football and have time to do their homework and experience other sports.”