Becky Worsham: A Leader on the Line
By Neal Rozendaal
This profile was written in 2013.
Becky Worsham can describe how she felt as a rookie with the D.C. Divas in one word…paranoid.
“I didn’t know anything about anything,” she laughed. “I only knew how to get into my three-point stance, and I barely knew that. I worried about the snap count and what play we were running. I was just really paranoid…paranoid about the snap count, paranoid I was going to miss my block.”
With a little bit of experience, however, that paranoia soon disappeared. Becky Worsham is now perfectly comfortable on the football field, and as the team’s starting left tackle, she stands as a leader on the Divas’ line. “She contributes greatly on and off the field and is a true team player,” head coach Alison Fischer said. “She’s the total package for an offensive lineman, bringing athleticism, size, and intelligence.”
Worsham always had the natural athletic talent for football. She attended high school at Word of Life Christian Academy in Springfield, Virginia, where her favorite sport was basketball. As a senior, she scored over 1,000 points and helped lead her small high school to the state tournament. She then played basketball for two years at Trinity Washington University, placing fifth in the nation in NCAA Division III in rebounding.
However, Becky Worsham admitted that her life had become mundane in 2007. Despite a good job as a physical therapist, she lacked a competitive outlet. “I just had nothing really going on in my life,” Worsham confessed. “I didn’t have anything to motivate me.”
One of her patients changed all that. Michelle Riddle, an offensive lineman for the Divas from 2002-2010, came into Worsham’s office for some physical therapy. The pair struck up a conversation about football, and Worsham mentioned she had played some flag football before. “It was full contact on the line with no pads,” Worsham recalled. “I thought it was great! When I told Riddle about it, she said, ‘Oh, then you’ll like playing for the Divas. You should totally come out and take a look at the team.’”
It was the camaraderie among her teammates that made Becky fall in love with football. “Honestly, I don’t think I would have stuck with the Divas unless I made friends like I did,” Worsham said. “The friends I’ve made in football are ones that I’ll never be able to make outside of football. You don’t make a connection like that with multiple people all at once the way you do on a football team. I’ve never had that experience before on any of the sports teams I’ve been on. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like you’re family.”
Playing on the line helped Worsham mature in ways she never imagined. “When I was a rookie, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” she admitted. “I had to change my mentality. On the offensive line, you have to be selfless. I struggled with that a little bit, because I realized I’m never going to touch the ball. But after I understood the concept of the game and the purpose of my position, I fell in love with it. I look at football a different way now.”
Slowly but surely, she learned the nuances of playing on the offensive line. It wasn’t always a smooth road. Becky has had five different position coaches in her last five years with the Divas, but she’s tried to take something from each of them that she can use to improve her game. Worsham remarked, “You just learn to be a team player and adapt. The Divas have taught me that you want to be a sponge wherever you’re at, absorbing and using as much information and whatever techniques they give me.”
She has nothing but praise for her current offensive line coach, Greg Gaskins. “I’m so happy we have Greg. He’s the best,” Becky exclaimed. “He starts with the basics and goes from there. I like how Greg makes everything in practice relevant to game situations, which will only make us better. I’m just trying to learn as much I can from him.”
While Worsham has been learning from her coach, Coach Gaskins has relied on her. “This is my first year coaching the Divas, but I am glad that I had someone as capable as Becky to help me,” Gaskins said. “She makes my job easier because she is so knowledgeable about the game, and her dedication and effort are unparalleled.”
Her coaches are unanimous in their praise of Becky’s work ethic. “She has a desire to be better and is willing to put in the work to do so,” Coach Fischer remarked. Worsham attributes that to a piece of advice one of her old coaches once gave her. “He said, ‘Whenever you go to practice, always strive to get better.’ That stuck with me. That’s how I feel whenever I get out there on the field. Let’s just focus on one thing today and get better.”
Becky Worsham has been transformed from a hesitant rookie into an experienced, intelligent team leader. “The first thing I think of is her intelligence as a player. Her ability to recognize situations and make accurate adjustments on the field helps make us a good offense,” offensive coordinator Eric Evans declared. “She is a leader for our team, consistent and reliable. I personally couldn’t imagine sending the offense out there without her.”
She has used that intelligence to assume the role of a coach on the field. “In the past, I really didn’t enjoy playing that much, but I enjoy it now,” Worsham admitted. “I feel like now I’m just seizing the moment and teaching my teammates how to get better, and that’s only going to make me better.”
Worsham was one of 45 players named to this year’s U.S. Women’s National Team. She will travel to Finland along with two other Divas to compete in the IFAF Women’s World Championship. Even that high honor has been used as fuel for Worsham’s competitive nature. “That was my whole mentality with Team USA. I wanted to go to learn from other people and to see how everyone else played, because I knew it would motivate me to get better.”
But for now, Becky Worsham’s main focus is on leading the Divas to victory. She was a member of the 2009 Divas team that lost in the national championship game, and she’s eager to help the team get back there.
“The Divas have grown and matured so much,” she observed. “We’re ready to win. In 2009, we deserved to be there, but I think we weren’t really ready to win. We’ve matured a lot since then. It’s been an up and down road, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Becky Worsham has come a long way since the paranoia of her rookie year. Now she’s helping her teammates to develop as well. “She is a great asset, not only to our offensive line but to the entire team,” Coach Gaskins said. “She makes everyone around her better, and there’s nothing more you can ask of a player than that.”