Jamie Menzyk is often asked why she plays women's professional football.
Though there is not a lot of glory despite playing offensive line for the Chicago Force, one of the top teams in the Women's Football Alliance, and having to get funding to help pay her costs, she said she loves the game.
There is another thing she said makes it a worthwhile venture. It happened at a Force home game at Evanston Township High School.
"This man, John (Corso) brought his two little girls and they had a sign which said: 'Beware! Chicago Force HIT Squad' and the Hit Squad is the offensive line," Menzyk said. "I asked John why he brought them out to our game and he told me he wanted his girls to see us and 'that they need to know that there is nothing life that you cannot accomplish if you try.'
"It brought tears to my eyes."
Menzyk has certainly accomplished a lot. She played one year of high school football at Whiting. She said she played on special teams during her senior year, the 2001 season. She also played softball and basketball at Whiting, and played volleyball her junior year.
Force coach John Konecki, who is Crete-Monee High School's offensive coordinator, said Menzyk is one of the best blockers he has ever coached.
"She reminds me of Art Shell or Randall McDaniel," said Konecki, who coaches the team in the summer. "In Sweden in 2010, she had the most dominating performance I have ever seen by an offensive lineman. She just ran over people."
Menzyk was part of Team USA which went to Stockholm, Sweden in the International Federation of American Football tournament in 2010, and was named the championship game's most valuable player.
"That was an honor because offensive linemen do not usually get a lot of recognition," Menzyk said. "It was a great time over there and it was a great experience overall."
She is a five-time all-star in the Independent Women's Football League, of which the Force was a member, and the WFA. The Force lost to the San Diego Surge 40-36 in the WFA title game at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. She said that was also an experience.
"At first, you walk down the tunnel and think about the NFL guys walking down that same tunnel and you kind of get nervous," Menzyk said. "Then you walk onto the field and look up and see the Jumbotron and the ribbons (sideline scoreboard). You get that rush of adrenaline."
Menzyk is currently back to school as she is doing an apprenticeship to be an ironworker though Local 395.
"It is a long day, but you are learning in the classroom and I am going to have a good trade," Menzyk said. "I guess I tend to go into something that someone says you (women) can't go into. There are not a lot of female ironworkers, but I am excited."