Washington high school football state champions will be crowned this weekend, but one Port Townsend native will be making history of her own.
On Saturday, 26-year-old Kaila Olin will become the first female to officiate a state championship football game in Washington.
Her journey wearing stripes and carrying a whistle started more than a decade ago.
"Growing up, she's been a cheerleader her whole life. And then to see her drop the pom-poms for the flag and the whistle, for Friday nights, that was kinda cool," said Kaila's father, Don, who also calls football games.
"I liked football, but I didn't love football. Then, when I turned 15, I was in driver's ed. and to get my hours, I took my dad to his meetings, which were an hour one way and an hour back. So, I was like done, easy. But I don't want to sit in the car. So I said ‘can I come in with you?’ He was like, ‘of course’. I went in, and I sat, and I just fell in love with the game ever since," Kaila explained.
She began officiating Little League and middle school games before making her way up to junior varsity and varsity, getting certified at 18.
Don said doing the game with his daughter is one of the most thrilling things he's gotten to do while officiating a game.
Seeing Kaila now making history, only one word suffices for Don:
"Very proud. Even thinking about it right now, I'm very proud, because I knew she was the first female. And, very, very proud," Don said.
Kaila's path wasn't an easy one—she's faced doubters and criticism, but she has a message for any other girl or woman who is thinking about joining her.
"Do it. Absolutely do it. Especially, because it pushes you. It pushes you to be the best version of yourself. It pushes you to be tough mentally and physically, and I didn't know I was as tough as I am until I'm on that football field," Kaila said.
She will officiate the 1A championship game between Eatonville and Royal at Harry E. Lang Stadium at noon.
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