Half a continent away from home, the shy quarterback dressed quietly in a bathroom, away from the rest of the team.
When the signal-caller emerged for the big game, all eyes followed. The Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida was a big-enough deal for an 11-year-old from small-town Harvey, Ill. The added attention just made the quarterback nervous. But as was often the case, something happened when the quarterback took the field--the whispers became a roar, and the quarterback turned ferocious, demanding and in control, a consummate leader. The game later became a defensive battle marred by turnovers and a mostly stalled running game, but it didn't matter. With the first whistle, the ferocious quarterback had made history.
Almost five years later, that quarterback is again far away from home, standing in the lobby of a Westwood, Calif., movie theater swarmed by flashing bulbs, Hollywood backslappers and stars like Ice Cube and Tyler Perry. But this time, the quarterback is unmoved by the craziness.
Big-game experience will do that to a girl.
"I just want to get out of this dress," says Jasmine Plummer, 15, tugging on her turquoise gown. "I have some jeans in the limo. Can't wait to get back there."
Jasmine doesn't understand the hubbub. As far as the high school sophomore is concerned, she was just your typical jock. True enough, except this quarterback wore her hair in pigtails and, at age 11, led her Harvey Colts to the Pop Warner Super Bowl, becoming the first female QB to helm a team in the national tournament's 61-year history.
That's how Jasmine finds herself in Los Angeles on the get-out-of-school pass that is the world premiere of "The Longshots," the cinematic retelling of her story. Directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, whose indie debut "The Education of Charlie Banks" received solid notices, the flick from MGM and Dimension Films stars 15-year-old Keke Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") as Jasmine and Ice Cube as her uncle and coach Curtis Plummer, a character based on Jasmine's real uncle and coach, Fred Johnson.
It all started with a game at the park and 23 stitches.