2013 is the year for No. 13

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Being named to the All Shelby County team is impressive. Pelham High School has several players receiving this distinction-including No. 13, Eli Beall.

Eli Beall, Pelham High School's award-winning fullback No. 13, will be making big choices in 2013. (Contributed)

As the younger brother of athletic sisters, Beall was born a team player. He first entered my radar at Pelham Park’s playground when he was 4. Watching Beall play as he grew up, I witnessed sportsmanship, teamwork-and incredible heart.

In his football career, Beall has played many roles. Unfamiliar with football positions, this writing teacher would say that Beall plays freight train. His determination is reminiscent of Swiss trains that disappear headlong into the black holes of mountains. After these trains vanish into the mountainside, they emerge from tunnels through the mountain in Italy.

Beall regularly emerged from mountains of football players plowing toward the end zone-more like a power-packing freight train than a neutral Swiss train.

Scoring 22 touchdowns and rushing for 1,433 yards, Beall is most proud of the stat he worked hardest to earn. After practice, Beall made extra runs through the blaster: A steel, spring-loading machine used to gain explosive power and improve ball protection skills.

In more than 200 carries, Beall had zero fumbles.

“Eli is a hard worker, leads by example and has great character,” PHS Head Coach Brett Burnett said. “Eli is a really good kid-on and off the field.”

After every game, Beall reminded me of that 4-year-old leaving the playground. Exhausted and smiling, Beall left everything on the field.

Beall’s mom recently told me that her son enjoys his senior English class with PHS teacher Ryan Dye.

“We’ve been blessed with wonderful teachers,” she said. “When Eli was little, if he ever struggled with a class, he’d say, ‘Mom, the teacher is teaching great. I need to learn better.'”

Beall’s solid GPA reveals he’s thriving academically today. Most importantly, he’s learned the power of positivity and versatility. He trusts, he listens and he’s a game-changer.

Fueled by a passion for God, family, hometown and football, watching Eli Beall discover his destination will be one of 2013’s great delights.