She got game: Coronado senior shines as running back, linebacker on football team

Neighborhood All-Stars

CORONADO, Calif. – At Coronado High School, head football coach Kurt Hines asks one question to all of his players: “What’s your ‘why?'”

For senior Tatum Wade, her “why” was “why not.”

“I looked him straight in the eye,” Tatum said. “I want to challenge myself. I wasn’t feeling challenged in any of the other sports I was doing.”

After playing 12 different sports, Hines gave Tatum the green light to try No. 13. After some difficult tryouts, she landed a spot on the varsity roster. 

“Football doesn’t need to be a male-dominated sport,” Hines said. “Obviously, the great majority of players are males, but if you have a passion for athletics, if you have a passion for football, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female (if) you can play”.

Tatum now gets several reps playing both sides of the ball. She is one of four running backs on the team while also helping out on defense playing linebacker.

She’s been lauded for never shying away from the physical demands of playing two of the toughest positions on the field. 

“It’s definitely made me want to challenge myself more,” she said. “It gives me more drive to do other things and more drive to say hey, nothing’s impossible. If you try, it may not work out for you but that doesn’t mean it was impossible to do. Football proved that point. Might as well try.”

Hines, a head coach for more than two decades, says he’s most impressed by her resilience. 

“Her mental strength is superior to so many others simply in that she’s fighting a norm,” Hines said. “I think so many people assume that she should not be a football player or if she is a kicker. But she plays linebacker for us and running back and she is as mentally as tough as they come.”

Upon graduation, Tatum plans on enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps as a firefighter, adding that the lessons football taught her will remain deeply woven in the fabrics of her personality. 

“I’ve always learned that if you put in the effort — really try hard — anything is really possible,” she said.

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