So un-Texas, so un-football, yet so inspiring
Normally — being cynical and wary of being manipulated — we carefully scrutinize anything that falls into the category of “inspirational.”
Normally, we sidestep the sappy.
Normally, what inspiration we do draw is from dogs.
But every once in a while, humans come through.
This story is two years old, and I’m surprised it hasn’t become a TV movie yet. It’s about a high school football game between Grapevine Faith Christian School and Gainesville State School, which is located within a prison facility for juvenile offenders.
Gainesville State School hadn’t had a win yet that season, and — security being a concern – has never had a home game. As a result of playing only road games, its team — in addition to having only 14 members, shabby equipment, armed escorts with handcuffs at the ready and little hope of winning, on or off the field – had never had any fans to cheer them on.
In the season of 2009, Grapevine Faith coach Kris Hogan showed some — and in the other team.
He sent out an email asking students, faculty, parents and other supporters of Grapevine to root for the team that returns to a maximum-security prison after their games, the Gainesville Tornadoes.
“Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”
The Tornadoes, being cheered on by the opposing teams fans and cheerleaders, didn’t win (that would have been sappy), but — once they got over being stunned — they played their best game of the season.
Then they celebrated, showering their coach with squirt bottles, even though they lost.
ESPN columnist Rick Reilly wrote a fine piece about it as well back then, and it recounts how, as the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
Gainesville coach Mark Williams, before his team departed, told Hogan, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: cheering, christian school, christianity, coach, faith, football, gainesville state school, gainesville tornadoes, grapevine faith, high school football, home team, hope, humans, inspiration, inspirational, juvenile, kris hogan, losing, offenders, prison, report, texas, tornadoes, video, visiting team, winning