Posted: Nov 26, 2012 2:54 AM by AP/CS
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - She'd never kicked a football until her father took her to a NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition on a whim. But 6-year-old Thamerin Balthazar won local and sectional contests and will compete against two other Louisiana girls and one from Mississippi on Sunday in the Superdome.
Paul Balthazar of Alexandria took Thamerin to the local competition at Alexandria High School just for something to do, The Town Talk reported. He had seen the signs along his jogging trail and thought, Why not?
Thamerin has been practicing since then - a few times before the sectional competition and several times a week since. She's much better at kicking than passing, Balthazar said.
She's also a gymnast and dancer. Until her winning kicks, she had been scheduled to dance as a mouse and a bonbon on Saturday and Sunday in the Red River Dance Theatre Company's performance of "The Nutcracker." She had to bow out of Sunday's performance.
Thamerin is competing against Kayla Dundy, of Baton Rouge, Grace Shurley, of Shreveport, and Kristian Weatherby, of Columbus, Miss. They're in the youngest of five age groups, for children aged 6 and 7.
Boys and girls compete separately. Each makes one punt, one pass and one kick, with scores based on distance and accuracy. The top four scorers in each age group nationwide will compete as national finalists before an AFC NFL playoff game.
Contestants will be on the field when the Saints come on for pre-game warm-ups, and the family has free tickets to the game against San Francisco.
That thrills Balthazar, but is lost on his only child.
"She's just happy she's winning," he said.