They are easily recognized. A colorful mural depicting Cristina Gómez and former Olympic medalist Javier Fernández presides over the patio from the Clara Campoamor School in Fuenlabrada. In it, both athletes are characterized in detail as if they were Playmobil dolls so that children do not forget at recess that no sport has a gender. None. Neither skating nor football.
That Cristina Gómez (Fuenlabrada, 2002) always had it very clear. That is why today she is one of the best players in our country. Although for her, removing merits, American football is simply her “bubble”. She is about to go to Sweden to compete in her league this summer, but first, we knocked down with her with a touchdown the prejudices and barriers that surround the American sport par excellence.
“It’s a boy thing”
Yes, Cristina was too many times the only girl on the team, but that didn’t stop her from moving forward and fighting for what she wanted. Of course, with more effort. “You have to be much smarter than them because even if we want to be the same, we are not physically so. If I weigh 60 kilos and a boy who weighs 110 kilos comes, all of a sudden, I have to be smarter because if not, he will to be able to with me, but let’s go, one hundred percent, “he explains from the stands of the El Cantizal football field, in Las Rozas.
This is his home, his “second home,” the place where he trains five days a week. “The truth is that I dedicate more time to football than to studies, I’m not going to lie to anyone, that’s the way it is,” he laughs. This Fuenlabreña studies Physiotherapy first, plays as ‘linebacker’ in the LG OLED Black Demons – they have been champions of Spain this year – and also in the national team. She is also the first woman chosen by the Europe Warriors, a team that brings together the best American football players on the continent.
“It is a violent sport”
The first time his father wanted to sign up for football, he remembers, he was not very amused. Today, however, she is her biggest fan and is extremely proud of her. “Maybe he thought it was a very violent sport. You hear that a lot, until you enter the world and you realize what it is like. The problem is that being such a visual sport you only see the impact, the contact, the hit … You can’t see the whole process behind it. ”
Although the scratches and scrapes compete to gain ground to the innumerable tattoos on his skin, American football, he defends, is above all technique and good vibes. “It is a sport in which the atmosphere is very good, you get along well with everyone. You leave the game and stay having a drink, talking to the other team … We are a family among all, we are very united because we have to help each other to grow”.
“American football? In Spain?”
For years not even the closest circle, the friends of the neighborhood, knew very well what they were doing. “Many times you hide it, you don’t show it, you don’t count what you do, or the competitions you win. Until some news started to come out, no one knew to what extent I dedicated my time to this sport.”
The truth is that the reality of American football in Spain is growing more and more, but it is still a modest sport. Many times the players have to pay for part of the trips and the concentrations when they go out to play: “There is a lot of visibility, but since you are used to not being paid, you do not see it so strange, it seems normal. I like Spain a lot, but it’s true that if I want a higher level, I have to go abroad. I’ll keep playing, wherever. ”