8-year-old’s nickname ‘The Icebox’ inspired by ’94 film
Eight-year-old Alexis Breaux of Luling just had to offer a minor correction to one of her flag football coaches, who had just called her over.
“He called her Alexis and she told him, ‘That’s not my name,” said Shannon Breaux, Alexis’ mother, with a laugh. “He asked, ‘Oh, I’ve been calling you by the wrong name?’ She replied, ‘I’m Icebox.’”
The nickname fits the flag football first-timer, the lone female player in her 7- and 8-year-old division of St. Charles Parish’s flag football recreation league and on her Mimosa-based team. The moniker is inspired from the 1994 film Little Giants, in which a band of underdogs come together to form a Pee Wee football team, the Giants. One of the stars of that team was Becky “The Icebox” O’Shea, who despite coming from a line of football stars — and being one of the most talented players in her area — was turned away from playing for other teams because she was female. Her nickname, of course, came because she hit like a big ‘ol Icebox truck.
There’s a bit of a resemblance between the two, and Alexis is enjoying her new adventure. Last week, she crossed the goal line to earn her first ever touchdown.
“I like running and I like getting the ball,” said Alexis, who plays running back.
“This is really her first time playing football in any way,” Shannon said. “Maybe a few times with the kids in the neighborhood, but I could count that on one hand. She never wants to miss a game, never wants to miss practice.”
Her head coach gave her the nickname of Icebox, though at first, Alexis didn’t understand the reference — after all, the movie is nearly 25 years old now.
“He threw it out there and said she’s competitive and tough,” Shannon said. “We found a copy and showed it to her, because she didn’t understand who (Icebox) was. Now, she loves the nickname.”
Historically, football of any kind has largely been male-dominated, but times are changing and more females are getting involved. Alexis is one of the proud few suiting up in the freshly established St. Charles Parish Recreation Department flag leagues.
Another example is that of Merritt Tompkins, who joined Destrehan High School’s freshman football team last year as a kicker and has since earned her way onto the varsity roster.
“We told Alexis she’d probably be the only girl in the entire league,” said Shannon. “She was all for it from the very beginning.”
Her parents were as well, both noting they encourage both Alexis and her brother to try things out of their comfort zone. Her coaches, teammates and opponents have all contributed to making it a very positive experience.
“It would be great if it motivates other girls to be out there, not be afraid to go out and do what they want to do.” –Shannon Breaux
“There was one time when they were shaking hands after the game where a guy picked his hand up and didn’t want to,” said Shane Breaux, Alexis’ father. “But honestly that’s it. Sometimes, early on, we were a little worried that people might be ugly to her, but nobody’s really given her a hard time.”
On the contrary, Alexis can get the people out to watch the games hyped up.
“When she first started, we’d be walking up and we saw other little kids pointing, saying ‘that’s the girl they call the Icebox,’” Shane said. “It was a fun little thing.”
Shannon said she’s heard other young girls on the sideline saying they wanted to play football “like Icebox.”
Perhaps she’ll inspire a few to do just that.
“It would be great if it motivates other girls to be out there, not be afraid to go out and do what they want to do,” Shannon said.