Former football players hope their sons grow up and maybe sport their jersey number one day, but for their daughters? Not so much.
Madi Phillips, 14, will be carrying on the Phillips tradition by wearing her dad's football No. 33 when she takes the field for the Destin Middle School Marlins as their starting place kicker this season. She will be the first girl ever to join the Marlin football roster.
"So far I like it. It's fun. I'm getting a great workout in and I love the practices. It's awesome," Madi said during practice last week. As for the uniform and pads, "It's a hassle, but I'm getting used to it."
The Marlins have been on the practice field for the last several weeks from 7 to 10 a.m. running through drills, plays and conditioning.
But being on the field and playing for Coach Demetris Stevens is nothing new for Madi. For the past two years, she has been the starting goalie for the girl’s soccer team of which Steven coaches as well as football.
When Madi approached Stevens about playing on the team a few weeks ago, "I told her, 'Madi if you come out you're going to be better than anybody we've got right now … you can kick the ball really well.' "
During practice last week she was booting it 30 to 35 yards off the tee on the kickoff.
She will be handling all the place kicking duties for the Marlins.
"She's doing an excellent job at it," Stevens said.
Although Stevens was excited when Madi expressed an interest in kicking, her parents were a little hesitant to start.
"Initially we thought that's probably not a good idea," said her mother Kelly. "It kind of caught us off guard.
"It was not about her ability to do it, but about her being out there with so many boys … and that she may get hurt," Kelly added.
But because she's so competitive, "It's hard to tell her no," Kelly said.
Her mom admitted that she and her husband, Robby, even thought that after a week of practice in the heat and pads she'd give it up. But she hasn't.
"I guess we're in it for the long haul," Kelly said. "It's a little scary and nerve-wrecking.
"But it makes me feel better that Coach Stevens will be out there as well," she added.
At home it's a different story. Madi taking on the challenge of football has "changed the dynamic in the family," Kelly said.
Madi has two younger brothers, 11 and 7, who the Phillips have tried to keep in soccer.
"Sister has given them a free pass to play football now," she said.
Kelly said her husband Robby played center for his high school in Cottonwood, Ala.
"He thought they (the two boys) would be the ones to wear his number," she said. " 'I never thought my daughter would be wearing my jersey number.' "
"We're just kind of sit back and shake our heads," Kelly continued. "But it's cool … we want to see her do well."
Madi is glad to have the support of her parents.
"They are worried, but they said they'd support me through anything I put my mind to. So they are going to support me throughout the whole way."
The only kicking in Madi's future after middle school will most likely be on the soccer field.
"I'm ending it right now," she said. "It's just a one time thing."