Michelle Roque takes the snap, spins and rolls to her left — while keeping her eyes downfield. She scrambles away from a defender and glides toward the line of scrimmage.
Three defenders converge. She has no intention of stealing their souls and catapulting them into the depths of YouTube embarrassment. Those three, however, stand between her and the end zone.
It must be done.
Michelle Roque burst onto the national scene in November 2014 with a flag football highlight video (above) from an intramural league at Florida State. A year, later she posted a second video that went viral. Both videos showed her dominating opponents with a ruthless combination of spins, jukes, deep passes and leaping catches.
Last August, a friend's boyfriend suggested she wasn't as good as Callie Bundy, a fitness model and football-throwing wizard with 360,000 Instagram followers. Instead of debating him, Roque's innate competitiveness took over and she created a trick shot video.
"Did I think it would blow up that big? Not at all," she told HERO Sports. "I was happy, but I did it because I’m competitive."
Though proving the skeptical boyfriend wrong was the primary objective, the trick shot video — and highlight reels — have delivered opportunities she didn't even know existed.
"It opened a lot of doors," said Roque, who played youth and high school football. "I don’t think I handled it properly. It all came out of nowhere and it was kind of nerve-racking. I got on the U.S. National Team and got to play at the world championship. That was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done, such an amazing experience. I got to meet George Whitfield and go to SEC Pro Day."
— Michelle Roque (@michelleroque7) July 1, 2017
Roque, who graduated from Florida State this weekend, has also rediscovered a passion for music. She began playing the piano at four years old and wrote her first song at 10. And about two years ago, she says that love came rushing back.
Just like she's a touchdown-scorer who happens to shatter ankles, she's a writer who happens to sings, saying that she "didn’t intend to be a singer but [she'll] whatever it takes to get [her] music out there."
"I just want to be a writer. Writing doesn’t feel like work to me. I do it for fun in my free time and it’s my true passion. Sports and writing is where my heart’s always been at. I would love nothing more than to be able to do that the rest of my life."
She took a big step in that direction with the release of her first single last week, On and On, an anthem for perseverance and pursuing your passion. Find someone you love, block out the noise and march to the beat of your own drum.
"I’ve gotten a lot of awesome feedback," Roque said, surprised. "I was expecting a lot of mean stuff because I’m not a singer but I haven’t heard one mean thing. It’s been all positive."
She's surprised because of the barrage of disdain and hate after her football videos were published by CBS Sports, ESPN, GQ and nearly every sports and entertainment blog on the internet. As most focused on her quickness, arm talent and beauty, others opted for a more hateful route.
"It’s inevitable that people will hate when someone else rises," she said. "There was a negative stuff but it was easy to ignore. Just close your computer screen and go on with your day."
For Michelle Roque, there's always a plan. She may not know the path or the means, but she knows the end goal. And sometimes you have to — politely — break a few ankles on the way.