WHEELING - There's a chance we'll all know the name Demias Jimerson before his athletic career is said and done. We can only hope, however, it's not because of what happened to the Malvern, Ark., sixth grader not long ago.
At just 11 years old, Jimerson is a football prodigy competing with other 5th-6th grade kids in the Wilson Intermediate Football League. They say that part of the state hasn't seen a young star this good since Madre Hill, who went on to play for the Oakland Raiders and is widely considered the best University of Arkansas running back of all-time.
If there's anyone who can understand what Jimerson is being put through these days it's Hill, because it happened to him first.
You see, apparently Jimerson is so far advanced in comparison to the other competitors, that the league has been forced to put ''The Madre Hill Rule'' in effect for just the second time - the first obviously for Hill himself. That rule states that Jimerson is not permitted to score touchdowns if his team has at least a 14-point lead.
Wilson principal Terri Bryant is on record as saying ''it's not meant to punish Jimerson, but to help the other 5th-6th graders develop as football players, too.''
Essentially, what officials are telling Jimerson, is that it's OK for his advancement to be stunted, but not the other kids. To me, this is a lot like the ''everyone gets a trophy'' line of thinking, which is completely silly.
When are we as a society going to wake up and realize we're doing our children more harm than good by continuously sticking our noses in places they don't belong? Whether it's allowing kids to transfer schools because of a lack of playing time, allowing them to flat-out quit when they don't agree with the way they're being used, questioning a coach's decision publicly, or permitting rules like the one Jimerson is being victimized by to exist, we're continuing down a slippery, soft-invoking slope.
When Jimerson ventures out in the real world and applies a job, and let's for the sake of argument say it's not in the NFL, do you think he'll be to sit back and relax while another less-qualified individual gets up to speed? You know, just to make it fair?
Football is the ultimate life sport. The lessons are many, and they translate well into adult life.
It may not seem like much, but by telling Jimerson he can't score because he's too good, is telling kids you may as well not work hard, because in the end we have to make sure everyone gets a trophy and nobody stands out.
Wahama Hall of Fame
The second annual Wahama Hall of Fame Awards Banquet was held Sept. 24 and it featured a local connection. Blaine Staats was a 1956 Wahama graduate who received a full-ride to West Virginia University to play football. He starred for one year as a lineman for Coach Pappy Lewis, before an automobile accident claimed his life in 1958.
Thought of as a sure-fire pro prospect, Staats had just left the home of his fiancee Dorothy Johnson (Prenant) and her parents in Glen Dale, before he was tragically killed.
Dorothy and Blaine's son, Richard Blaine Johnson, attended the banquet with Blaine's brother and sister and other family members.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net.