A stigma exists around certain sports that they are only for men. Women who get involved in these sports are often considered to be butch and manly, and when they start in these sports as children they frequently face bullying.
One of those young girls is seventh grader Dejah Rondeau from Exeter, New Hampshire, who plays quarterback for the Exeter Seahawks football team. As a result of her prowess in the sport, she has faced plenty of vitriol at school.
As reported by Fox News, when the New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman heard about the bullying Rondeau was facing at school, he decided to brighten her day and reward her for her love of football. Edelman decided to gift her tickets to the Super Bowl for Sunday night.
That wasn’t the only thing Rondeau was given by the Patriots. Once they learned of her story, she was also invited to tour the trophy room at the Gillette Stadium with owner Robert Kraft. She also met with Edelman, who happens to be her favorite player, and who she got to play a game of catch with. It was during that meeting that she was presented with the Super Bowl tickets.
7th grade quarterback Dejah Rondeau wears no. 11 in honor of @Edelman11.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 29, 2019
“I heard about your story, about going out there and having a challenge, of dealing with adversity because people not accepting this, that,” Edelman said. “My respect level for you is just through the roof because you just ignored all the noise and you played the game we all love and that’s football.”
Rondeau was over the moon about the surprise, and excited that she would get to attend the Super Bowl.
The seventh grader first started playing for the football team after their initial starter went down with an injury. She started the next three games for the side. Unfortunately, not everyone in the school took too kindly to a girl playing on the team.
She was bullied for playing quarterback on a youth football team. On Sunday, seventh-grader Dejah Rondeau will be at the Super Bowl thanks to the New England Patriots. https://t.co/vqne2PngdA
— AP Eastern US (@APEastRegion) January 31, 2019
Rondeau’s mother, Nichole Brock, explained the bullying her daughter had faced since joining the team.
“Some people don’t want to accept a female quarterback. She’ll have to put in 110 percent when others are putting in 50,” Brock said. “But Dejah becoming the quarterback is the best thing that could happen to her. She’s worked really hard at it.”
Hopefully the teenager enjoyed the incredible gift she was treated to on Sunday night, watching the game she loves so very much!