The NFL has hired its first female full-time official! Sarah Thomas, one of nine new game day officials hired for the 2015 season, is breaking barriers and blazing trails as the first woman to have completed the National Football League’s official development program and been subsequently hired as a regular by the league.
Sarah’s no stranger to making tough calls—she’s been officiating football games for nearly twenty years, and she’s a mom and wife with a full-time job as a pharmaceutical rep. But being welcomed into the organization as a full-time line judge has a new set of unique challenges and pressures: Will she make the right call? Will her calls be scrutinized more harshly because she is a woman? So far this season, Sarah has earned much-deserved praise for doing her job well. Earlier this month, she called a game-winning touchdown with only five seconds on the clock and earned kudos from players and coaches alike. It couldn’t have been easy to tell an entire defensive line that they failed to do their job and lost the game.
Sarah told nfl.com that shattering the glass ceiling was never her intent. “I’ve never set out to do that, but I’m telling you it’s an honor,” she said. “And I’ll just say, for anybody, male or female, go and do something because you love it, not because you’re wanting to prove somebody wrong or you want recognition for it.”
Trailblazing comes easy—or is at least part and parcel—when you’re living as whole-heartedly as Sarah does. What barriers might you break when you live with your whole heart?