HERALD STORY ON JOHN BOY AND BILLY: CHRISTOPHER'S REAL TOUCHDOWN - Something Of Greater Value In Calhoun Sports

(11/17/2012)

Barry Miller, pastor of the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Spencer, was impressed with a story by Gaylen Duskey on the Hur Herald about his 13-year-old grandson, Christopher Kirkland.

Rev. Miller submitted the story to the John Boy and Billy national radio show, and they have broadcast it in a special segment, and it will be appear again Monday at 6:30 a.m.

BEHIND THE SCENES: CHRISTOPHER'S REAL TOUCHDOWN - Something Of Greater Value In Calhoun Sports

By Gaylen Duskey (10/20/12)
realfang@citlink.net

I never hated to see a penalty called as I was this one.

Christopher Kirkland, my 13-year-old grandson, had just barreled into the end zone with his first touchdown.

The place went wild.

The yellow flag flittered to the ground.

The touchdown was called back and the Red Devils were assessed five yards for aiding the runner.

And it was a good call, but couldn't they have just waived it off … or pretended they didn't see it?

But there is more to this than my grandson not actually getting an on-field touchdown.

Much more.

Christopher is a 5-5, 95-pound player. He looks so tiny out there with his teammates and this year he was pretty much relegated to kicking duties.

It was a job he loved even if it didn't give him much playing time.

The story could end there with the team trying to get the kicker a touchdown.

But it doesn't.

Christopher transferred to Calhoun County in the sixth grade to take advantage of the nice speech program featured in the schools here, moving in with my wife Barbara and I.

So here was this scrawny kid with the big blue eyes and the thick glasses wanting to do everything the school had to offer, even the athletic programs.

My wife made him an offer.

Basically it was he could play all the sports he wanted if his grades didn't slip. If they did … well, it was the end of his budding athletic career.

But he made the grades and hung in there and somewhere along the way became everybody's little brother and his sports teammates all befriended him even if he wasn't a good athlete.

He was a good teammate and a good friend and that was good enough for the guys on the team.

That's where trying to set him up with his first middle school touchdown came from. And his teammates tried hard.

First they set the play up.

To do that they had to get the ball close to the goal line. They did that as Jakob Holcomb ran the ball down to the one and instead of stepping ahead into the end zone for the touchdown he stepped out of bounds.

That set up the first touchdown try for him.

He scored!

But the awful flag called it back.

Calhoun was back on the six yard line with time winding down.

On the next play Holcomb again took the ball and again decided against scoring the touchdown stepping out at the one.

And again Christopher was sent back out there to try again.

This time there was a miscommunication and Christopher did not get the ball from quarterback Caden Hicks.

In the confusion the ball ended up in the hands of Holcomb and this time he scored.

They tried to get him an extra point run from the three but he got tripped up near the goal line and failed to score.

Oh, well, I thought. I need to thank the coaches for giving him the opportunity.

As I sought them out, one of the players – Connor Ritchie – asked if I saw Christopher's touchdown. I said I did. Too bad they called it back. I was told it WAS a touchdown.

As I waited for the coaches to get there I heard from inside the locker room a spontaneous outburst of “Chris, Chris, Chris!!!”

I thanked the coaches and they went into the locker room only to have another outburst from inside as the cheer of “Bubba, Bubba, Bubba” sounded.

Bubba is what the coaches sometimes called him.

Everybody's little brother. The good teammate.

Everybody wanted him to score and they cheered him even though he really didn't.

But that was his touchdown.

And Christopher, I hope you know that was a touchdown more valuable and much rarer than any touchdown you could ever score.


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