Choctaw take pride in stickball – ‘the granddaddy of all American sports’

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.

Grace and athleticism take center stage in Jackson

Marcus Alford is in Jackson teaching and training dance students during the USA International Ballet Competition. But the former student football trainer who introduced dance stretches to Coach Bear Bryant’s football team is much more than that. This week, Mississippi Today photographer Eric Shelton spent time with the graceful instructor and the dancers as these athletes worked on their craft.