Thursday, October 29, 2009
Shelby Johnson – exception to rule
By CLAUDE VINSON
Throughout the state of Mississippi during the months between August and December, there are thousands of student athletes engaged in variety of scholastic sports at the secondary level. The sport of football will garner the largest portion of that number. And like the ads proclaiming the purity of Ivory soap, 99.99 percent will be of the male persuasion.
But there is an exception to almost every rule and at Byhalia High School it is vested in Shelby Johnson. Shelby is a girl – perky, petite and pretty but not presumptuous. She is well aware of her position on the Indian squad.
“I can play wide receiver, linebacker and safety,” she said.
Shelby is intrepid. She is cognizant of the fact that football is a rough and demanding activity.
“I don’t think about being hurt,” she said. “I am like any other player on this team. I am here for the long haul and I want to make a contribution.”
Shelby has tried cheerleading, basketball and other less demanding endeavors but has found none measure up to the level of excitement found in organized football.
Her coach, Markeith Washington, echoes Shelby’s assessment.
“I like her work ethic,” he said. “She gained a place on this squad through her own initiative.”
Shelby’s parents, Bo and Karen Johnson, admit that they had some reservations when their daughter announced that she wanted to play football.
Her father said, “She really loves football and we are here to support her.”
The Johnsons attend all of her games. Shelby has an older brother but said he is mostly interested in hunting.
As a sophomore, Shelby, not unlike that infinite slogan which graces all United States coinage, has two more years in which to be “E pluribus unum” (out of many one).
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