Los Angeles team
Oct. 30, 2022
Meet 8-year-old Callie John, the only girl on her Texas football team
MIAMI, Texas — Callie John Calvert, 8, doesn’t feel the need to introduce herself to strangers. She might saunter into an adult conversation holding a pickle-flavored snow cone and begin to hold court about whatever is on her mind — gymnastics, geocaching, unicorns.
Callie John has the distinction of being the only girl on a tackle football team in her Texas Panhandle town. Her mother, Erica, was initially hesitant — “Callie John is a girl. Most girls don’t want to play.” — but at the first game of the season, Callie John was a crowd favorite, eliciting cheers every time she trotted onto the field. Even her mom seemed persuaded. “Hit somebody!” she shouted from the bleachers, several times.
Football wasn’t initially Callie John’s plan (she also cheerleads and plays basketball). But as the teacher was passing out sign-up forms the boy next to her said, “‘You’re probably not going to play.’ So I turned around and said, ‘Can you put one in my cubby?’”
Tackling is daunting, but Callie John has a trick for mustering courage. When a rival player approaches, she plays a game with herself: “I’m thinking that they are demons trying to eat my unicorn.”
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