Karlie Harmon, a club team quarterback from northern Virginia, was on Super Bowl Radio Row earlier this week, in a room filled with athletes and actors. She was part ambassador and part reporter, and even got a photo of herself with boxer Evander Holyfield.
Harmon, now 15, was just a backyard player when her friends convinced her to enter a Punt, Pass & Kick competition. She said she won that event, and later got eighth in the nation. With promise like that, she decided to have a sit-down conversation with her parents.
"Mom and Dad, can I please play football?" she asked. "I will give it my all."
Once she joined the team, Harmon said she felt like she belonged -- no matter her gender. Now, she has the strong shoulders of an athlete built to throw.
"I think it's the environment on the football field that really feels like home to me," Harmon said.
During Super Bowl week, Harman has been a spokesperson for Proctor & Gamble's Always line, which is part of the Play Like A Girl campaign. She even appeared on the red carpet of the NFL Honors award show on Saturday night with star running back Sam Gordon. If you haven't seen the Like A Girl ads, they are powerful.
Where a phrase like "She throws like a girl" was designed as an insult, the campaign wants to turn it into a strength.
"I want to reclaim it. I want it to be a positive thing," Harmon said.
Harmon has another year of football for her club team, Dulles South. After that she will have to decide if she wants to try out for her high school team. She will continue to play basketball and soccer, her two other sports, even if she doesn't go forward with football. But still, it's tough to have to choose given all that she's been able to accomplish as a player.
"It makes me sad only because you get really close with the players, they become family and it's hard to leave them," Harman said. "I'll be sad to leave the sport and not have the competition, but I can always go in the backyard and play with my family."