It started as a way for an 8-year-old girl to keep up with her big brother.
Sam Gordon just wanted to run with the older kids. The coaches in the local tackle football league figured, hey, why not? Maybe they could turn it into a drill: Who can outrun Max’s little sister?
They were shocked to find the answer: no one.
Sam Gordon, now 9, became one of the fastest kids this Salt Lake City area “Gremlins” league had ever seen. They put her in drills and she outran boys two years older. They allowed her into the “Sharks and Minnows” game and stared in awe at not only at her speed, but her ability to move like a tailback.
“She could cut and follow blocks like a college football player,” says her coach, Chris Staib.
Staib hatched a plan: His team was drafting seventh out of nine. He wanted to pick the girl. So he started talking her down, suggesting she would get hurt. The other coaches bought it, and with his first selection he chose Sam Gordon.
“You dog!” they howled.
Staib just laughed. Sam ended up running for 25 touchdowns and 10 conversions (no PATs at this level) in her first season playing tackle football. She earned the nickname “Sweet Feet” – a modern-day Rudy Huxtable – and a breathtaking viral video in which she looks so fast that you have to wonder if it’s real.
“Oh it’s real,” says Staib. “That’s her. I was there for all of that.”