Football is played in a more straightforward manner at the Pop Warner level. In order to make tackles, receptions, and throws that no one else can, the top youngsters play both offense and defense during a whole game. One of those children was Joann “Jo” Overstreet, who dropped and dragged like a cursor as she walked the field with the males.
Overstreet told FanSided, “I started when I was 11 years old playing on the waist tackle squad. “I truly did everything. I was the quarterback, I was the receiver.”
“When they told us to go head-to-head and tackle someone when I initially joined the squad, I was like, ‘Uh oh.'” When I first started tackling, there were no guidelines, so I reasoned, “Oh, I believe I’m simply meant to pick them up and drop them?” And after I did that, they said, “Oh, yeah, sign her up.” I thought, “Oh, football’s for me,” ever since. When I began playing tackle, our team won the city championship.
Overstreet had a dangerous reputation in her own Killeen, Texas, even among her own colleagues. Jo was the best tackler.
They were genuinely quite afraid of me, Overstreet claimed. “After that, nobody wanted to compete against me in practice or games.”
Some players felt they could take advantage of Jo’s size because they saw a female on the field, but those who understood what Jo could accomplish didn’t want to line up against her. She had a rock in her hand, and her teammates did everything they could to block them and open a path for her.
In retrospect, Overstreet remarked, “What I thought was very amazing when I was a child, and now that I’m an adult, I understand that what they did was they protected me.” “Back then, everyone wanted to get me since I was the only girl there. Oh, she’s weak; let’s beat her up. We intend to strike her. We’ll get in touch with her. Just wait till we get to the QB. Let’s attack her.
My colleagues would show up and have my back, which was the response I was witnessing. They kept pushing people down as I ran for the ball, yelling at everyone to move. I thought, “Man, I love that,” as he simply pushed them aside. I adore the sense of unity we had as a team. They stood with me the entire season when I was a child. We became city champs, after all. Playing tackle with the boys after having that experience—
Jo paused to consider what it was like off the field as she described how her teammates struggled to get her on the pitch. Despite how much everyone enjoyed having her on the squad, she was always made aware of the fact that she wasn’t a guy.
“Because I was in my own locker room, I did feel lonely. I wasn’t permitted in the boys’ locker area until they said, “Okay, Jo, you come in,” and they were all fully clothed. I did felt alone under such circumstances. For a very long period, I did wonder, “Why are there no ladies doing this sport?” I didn’t know there were options for girls to play football until I was an adult. However, having that chance to play when I was younger has shaped who I am as an athlete and a person now.
Given that Jo has always been an athlete, it makes reasonable that she can appreciate the dedication in Odell Beckham Jr. Since those 11-year-old boys believed she was a simple target, Overstreet has been drowning out the noise.
I have always maintained my attention despite being highly adept at avoiding background noise. I played sports in college, I played professionally, and now I play football. People will say anything they want to. Regardless, it’s all about what you want to do; what other people think is irrelevant. I’ve also always been the kind of athlete who ignores the background noise.
When I was 11 years old, I started to dominate football, and ever since then, I’ve recognized that I’m a little bit different from everyone else. I was stronger and more swift. And I had no idea why. But all day long, I surround myself with individuals who are really upbeat and supportive. And I live my life in the same way because I believe that’s really vital.
“I make an effort to mimic whatever he does. I admire how hard he works. And I’ve seen that he consistently has to cope with a lot of noise while maintaining focus. I adore that about him so much. He’s too huge, you know, since so many people usually criticize him so harshly. He is all of those things. And I adore how he maintains his concentration, simply keeps moving forward, and remains true to himself. I believe it’s crucial that many others get this. Do not be concerned about what others may say. Simply be you, the finest version of yourself, and leave it at that.
This July, the young woman who won a local championship with her favorite youth league tackle squad will compete in the World Games as a two-time gold medalist. If flag football is included as an Olympic event by 2028, Jo may even play at SoFi Stadium. Overstreet has progressed thus far by positively realizing her dream, but there is still more for her to do.
And if anybody attempts to obstruct her, she responds the same way she did in face-to-face combat: line up against her and watch.
She remarked, “I never had any problems with someone telling me I can’t play the sport. As a man, I would simply respond, “Line up in front of me and let’s prove it,” if someone told me that. Speaking is not my strong suit. Instead than talking about what I could accomplish, I’m going to demonstrate it for you.