Gateway grad Amato focused on winning title with Passion
Beth Amato considered hanging up her helmet, shoulder pads and cleats after the 2013 Pittsburgh Passion season ended.
The team fell short of a league championship, but with Father Time catching up to her and three children getting more involved with sports and other activities, she felt the time was right.
But the more she thought about the team — her teammates and coaches — the more the Monroeville native, Gateway High School graduate and Plum resident felt that one more year with the Passion and the quest for a league championship was something she could to be a part of.
“A lot of the girls, especially the younger ones, were coming down to my work and talking to me abut coming back,” Amato said.
“They talked me into it. I always keep myself fit. I run and work out as much as possible. Things had gotten so busy with (daughters) Alexis (and) Ashley and (son) Ronny. They are doing so much right now with athletics and other stuff.”
Amato, 49, missed the regular-season finale on June 14 because of Alexis' high school graduation party. But she's been a part of numerous big wins this season.
The Passion went 8-0 in the regular season, and at linebacker, Amato helped the defense limit its eight opponents to a total of 24 points.
“It was kind of easy to come back because I knew we had a really good team,” the 12-year Passion veteran said.
“We knew we had a team that could win a championship. We all want to go out on top. (Head coach) Teresa Conn told me I needed to go out on top. We're going to try to do that.”
The Passion open the Independent Women's Football League playoffs Saturday against the undefeated Keystone Assault.
Kickoff at Cupples Stadium on Carson Street on the South Side is set for 4 p.m.
These days, Amato is rotating in at linebacker with two other players, including seven-year veteran Olivia Griswold.
“It's kind of weird because I've been used to, in the past, playing the whole game,” Amato said.
“I am still making tackles and recovering fumbles, but I try not to get frustrated with not being in there all the time. I have so much energy when I am on the sideline and not in the game. But I understand the situation because we're all working for a victory and working to be the best.”
Even though she isn't as spry as she once was, Amato said it's important to still play the game at full speed.
“I am still fearless,” she said.
“You have to play that way. If you don't play at full speed, you will get hurt. I do really feel it after games. My shoulder hurts, and I have other bumps and bruises. It's obviously different from when I was younger. It definitely takes longer to recover. I have good days and bad days physically. But I still have that fire.”
The concern for her well being, she said, is felt the most by her family.
“They really worry about me getting hurt,” Amato said. “Ronny plays the game now, and he knows the risks. I appreciate their concern very much.”
Amato said that if the Passion wins the IWFL title on July 26 — the semifinals are July 12 — she will retire.
But until then, she said, she will give 100 percent on the field and continue to be a role model to the younger players, both on and off the field.
“That's an honor to be looked up to like that,” Amato said.
“They are all great athletes. It's good to see all the time and work I've put in be noticed and be a role model for these girls. I love to see the energy in these younger players.”
With Alexis a recent Plum graduate and Ashley entering her junior year at Plum, Amato said there is a possibility of her daughters some day following in her footsteps with the Passion.
“This is a rough sport, and I don't want them to get hurt, but if they decide to play, I would support them 100 percent,” Amato said.
“I would instruct them and show them the game. I would love to see it. It's the greatest game I've ever played. But it would have to be their choice and their choice alone. It's funny when the coaches and players come up to me and say they can't wait to get the next Amato (on the team).”