Throwing Shade

Gulfport's gold medalist Brittney Reese always remembers her roots

JUSTIN MITCHELL

jmitchell@sunherald.com

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AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/2014 
 Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese walks down the red carpet with other Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame inductees. She won the long jump at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships in Portland, Ore., over the weekend.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/2014 Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese walks down the red carpet with other Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame inductees. She won the long jump at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships in Portland, Ore., over the weekend. SUN HERALD

I'll be the first to admit that sports aren't really my thing.

I enjoy athletic activities, but watching a football game in a crowded bar with people yelling at television screens does not sound fun to me at all. I don't get into the brackets, the betting, or the fantasy teams. I'd much rather spend my Sunday afternoon with the Kardashians than the Mannings.

Although I don't much care for sports, I do have a lot of respect for athletes who give their lives to follow their passion and succeed in an industry that's always looking for the next thing -- the young prospect, the best college recruit, or the most prominent rising star.

Since joining the Sun Herald's team in 2012, I've seen Brittney Reese win gold medals. I've met her family. I've been to her mother's house. I've interviewed Reese twice -- and one of those times, she was in bleachers herself, watching youngsters play football on Gulfport turf.

Reese trains far away from Mississippi, but she never abandons her roots. On Twitter, she often talks about home. She follows the news and follows Gulfport athletics. When she's home, she visits with family, watches sports, and sometimes goes to the casino.

On Sunday, she shared a "Straight Outta Gulfport" photo on her social media pages, the day after she topped last week's win in the U.S. Indoor Championships with a victory at the World Indoor Championships on Friday night.

Reese is an athlete, a champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and a Mississippi girl. For many South Mississippians (myself included), she's an inspiration.

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