Shynice Waldrop has always been tough even as a little girl. Growing up with three older brothers no doubt played a factor.
"They used to beat me up all the time," said the seventh grader who attends Howard T. Herber Middle School in Malverne. "I mean it never got real serious, but they definitely didn't treat me like some little girl. It's okay though because they made me tougher for it."
In fact she got so tough that she went and tried out for the inside linebacker position on her school's football team.
"I always loved the sport of football and Coach (Lorenzo) Jenkins gave me a chance to play for his team. I told him I wanted to play at inside linebacker because my favorite thing to do is block and tackle people."
Coach Jenkins has no regrets letting a girl play on what had been an all-boys team.
"She is tough and aggressive and she definitely holds her own out there," said Jenkins. "We are glad to have her."
Waldrop has recorded tackles a scrimmage against Valley Stream South and has been a factor in other games this season.
She sat out the last few games because of academic reasons but was scheduled to hit the field earlier this week to play against East Rockaway. She hopes to make a few more tackles before the end of the season and plans to play on the team next year too. She also competes on the school's volleyball team and will try out for lacrosse in the spring.
When asked if she would try to continue to play at the High School level she said she would love to if given the opportunity.
"If Coach [Kito] Lockwood would allow me to play I'd definitely try out," she says. "He's seen me play so he knows what I'm all about."