(Disclosure: This article originally appeared in The Banner Press, please support our local paper and pick up a copy today)
As I sat on the edge of the bleacher, I started to feel guilty. I knew should be cheering for my child's
On October 10th, was the first time I watched Kyla Beel play basketball. There was an obvious difference between her and the most of the team - she is a girl on a boys basketball team.
However, as I sat and watched for a while - her being a girl meant less, but the way she played meant more. Miss Beel has a special charisma about her, the kind that pulls you right off of your seat - even when she is stealing ball from your own child.
After the game, I began chatting with friends about how impressed I was by Miss Beel and started tracking the young woman down. I wanted to speak to Miss Beel, I had to get to the bottom of the mystery of what would make a die hard Woodland fan suddenly cheer for the Leopold team.
Last weekend, I got that opportunity to sit down and have a one on one conversation with Miss Beel - and as I suspected, that charisma surrounds her on and off the court.
Beel at the age of 12 years old, has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember. Her mother, said every morning and every afternoon you can find Beel out shooting hoops in front of the house. She has played for the Leopold Basketball team for 2 years, and in 2012 won the State Free Throw title.
Pretty impressive title for a young woman to hold, especailly coming from a small rural school. Beel is obviously proud of herself, but she is not arrogant at all. She explained that she owes most of her accomplishments to her Dad and Coach, as they are her bigest motivations, and her Mom, Brother, and sister as they are her biggest fans.
I asked Miss Beel how the she thought of the boys, both on and off the court, she said "they are not boys, they are teammates and opponents - and she believes that the boys like that she is on their team." Not exactly the response I expected from a tween girl; and good for the young men for seeing that she is more than just a girl.
Beel's off the court activities, is most likely what makes her an amazing on the court ball player. You will not find Miss Beel at the salon most days, but you might find her working on the family farm, hunting, and she added that she earns money making hay over the summer. Beels mom says that she was born with a fire and is an obvious go getter.
In the future, Miss Beel plans to attend college and become a veterinarian, she said she loves working with animals. I asked Beel if basketball was in her future also, she said "I want to play as long as I can play."
Locals, if you get a chance to watch Miss Beel play, I do encourage you to do so. While I may have felt a little guilty cheering for the opposing team, I have to admit it felt amazing to say this talented young woman came from Bollinger County. Good Luck Kyla, I look forward to watching you compete for many years to come.