Malajsha Mollett was 8 years old when she decided to switch from cheerleading to Kings and Queens of Pittsburgha free sports mentorship program to try out for the organization’s football team.
This decision drew laughter from some of the cheerleaders and derision from the football players.
“In the middle of it, it was kind of sad because it was mild bullying,” says mum, Taejsha Miller, a social worker. “I told Lay that there are probably other girls who also want to play football. You should tell your story.
So Lay, short for Malajsha, put pen to paper and created “The Football Girl,” a storybook that packs a whole lot of girl power between two covers.
The timing of Lay’s trip to the field is perfect as more and more young women accept the challenge of participating in “man’s” sports.
Isabella McNutt, for example, is the first wrestler to face boys in the Hampton Township school district. Caitlyn Callahan recently accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team’s first female coach. athletic director of the University of Pittsburgh, Heather Lykehas an impact at the college level.
But despite the steps forward, contempt and mockery are frequently experienced: Consider the vulgar bullying that Mars Hockey Team Female Goalie suffered a few months ago.
Lay hopes her book can inspire and equip other girls to pursue their dreams and stay strong. Published by Lemons Writing Group, “The Football Girl” is available at Amazon for $20. It’s a perfect read during Women’s History Month.
Now 10 years old and an honorary fourth-year student at Pittsburgh DilworthLay continued his athletic pursuits, adding basketball for the Penn Hills Indians to his interest in football and gymnastics.
On National Girls and Women in Sport Day in February, Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith made a surprise visit to the school to honor Mollett and join her on stage to read the book. He even shared some tips for rushing.
As a local author, Lay was invited to do a reading and book signing on a Sunday afternoon in February at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
“It was really fun. There were about 25 kids there,” Lay says. “I was really, really proud of myself when I got the call. I was on the phone with the Children’s Museum and they just said we should come over there. I was surprised. And once the call was over, I was literally jumping. And my mom would smile and say, ‘You’re really excited.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ »
Lay’s ambitions for her future include being a businesswoman and an athlete.
“Technically,” she says in her eloquent manner, “I have one in my life right now.”
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Lay is carrying on the tradition as the owner of a business called Balling Bags that sells basketball purses and custom tie-dye apparel.
What’s next for this lively young lady?
“I’m working on my second book. This is about my blended family,” says Lay, who also writes poems and raps. “I’m not really good at taking pictures, but writing, I’m pretty good at it. You think of a few words, put them together and, ‘Oh! It’s a sentence. Was good.’ “