The roots of stickball run deep in Choctaw culture. The fiercely competitive game – played long before there was football, baseball and basketball – is played with sticks and a small orange ball. Mississippi Today photographer Eric J. Shelton captured the action from the World Series of Stickball, played annually at the Choctaw Indian Fair, near Philadelphia, in this slideshow.

Eric J. Shelton is a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018.