- Ada, Oklahoma

September 13, 2013

Memories on the field will last a lifetime

Art Lawler Staff Writer

Ada —

Ada running back Shiloh Windsor suddenly broke into the Ardmore secondary last Friday night and kicked into high gear before heading 79 yards for a touchdown.

It was one of the few highlights for a young Ada team that hasn't quite figured itself out yet.

That'll come in time but the Ardmore kid who chased him to the goal — indeed, the kid who caught up to him and was so close you couldn't see air between them for about 20 yards — will spend the next 40 years beating himself up for not at least trying to make that tackle.

Not sure he could've if he would've, just that he's got the rest of his life to ponder what he should've.

You say, so what? He's not our kid. Who cares?

Just this. Most people who play high school football, regardless of which team, never play again once their senior season ends. What they're left with are the memories and their mental corrections.

Those are the ones where the mind goes back to instant replay, only in the retelling, adjustments are made that alter the outcome from a negative to a positive.

I knew a kid like that who once moved from one town to another 30 miles down the road.

Because of that, he had a chance to go back the next football season and play against his old teammates.

Along about the third quarter, this former teammate breaks into the secondary and is leaning toward the goal line, which is still 80 yards away.

The kid who moved down the road knows this kid well.

He's a tough, hard running back, quite a bit bigger than himself. He also knows his former teammate wears a knee brace and is kind of flat-footed.

The kids all called him Cool because he had a nice Ford Galaxie with a continental kit on the back. (Ask your dad for a definition, sonny. I'm busy telling this story, OK?)

Anyway, one thing we thought made Cool look Cool is that he had a beautiful young girlfriend and a Marlboro sticking out the driver's-side window from which he waved to us ordinary guys, even as he blew second-hand smoke on his two beautiful “possessions.”

The kid who moved thought to himself, “I'm much faster than this kid. True, I'm smaller, but I can last longer because I don't smoke.”

As he flew down the field trying to make up a 20-yard deficit, he had to admit to himself that his girlfriend wasn't nearly as beautiful as Cool's.

He didn't have a Ford Galaxie with a continental kit, either. He was, in fact, still dependent on the use of his dad's uncool, '55 Pontiac four-door sedan.

Yet here he was, making up dramatic yardage, as if he was an equal to his slow-footed rival.

Somewhere about the 30-yard line, he caught up with Cool. He wanted to be extra careful, because his best friend Gary had told him how frustrated he was from the season before when he caught up with a player like this, only to have him break out of his grasp and go on for a touchdown.

With that in mind, the kid that moved waited a couple of more steps until he knew he could slam his shoulder pads into Cool's lower back or hip, simultaneously sliding his head to the left and wrapping both arms and hands about Cool's bigger body, taking care to keep running full speed, as if Cool wasn't there.

It had the effect of sending both players flying into the air. As gravity will invariably impose, both bodies soon came crashing back to earth with painful thuds.

The kid that moved felt one of Cool's shoes kicking him in the ribs at the same time, and that kick would leave a scar for him to brag about when old players got together to make wound comparisons, like in that "Jaws" movie.

At any rate, last Friday night's run by Windsor was identical to Cool's, with the exception that he's faster than Cool and probably cooler than Cool, if the truth be known.

Point is, it just goes to show you that what happens on plays like that stays with a person his whole life. Even governors and presidents can't shake those moments.

How did this story end? Well, the players went back to their huddles and two snaps later, Cool covered the final 20 yards to complete the drive.

Just the same, when the kid that moved saw Cool a few years ago at a high school reunion, he told him about the scar he'd left on his ribs on the left side.

Cool remembered the play. 

“I felt somebody coming up on me, and I tried to make a cut to shake him, but he didn't take the fake,” Cool said. 

“That was me, Cool,” the kid that moved told him with a belated sense of pride.

“Well, gosh, I'm sorry,” Cool said with a kind sincerity that wouldn't have been forthcoming 40 years earlier. 

“Oh, c'mon, that's just football,” the kid that moved said, still trying to impress Cool with his own toughness.

 The kid that moved still doesn't have a Galaxie with a continental kit, but he may have something more valuable.

He still has the memory of keeping Cool out of the end zone for two more plays.

Final score that night. Cool 36, The Kid That Moved 0.

No, I'm not going to tell you who that kid was, sonny. 

Just remember, the plays you make or don't make, right now, are going to be in your psyche for the rest of your life.

I can tell you this much. The kid that moved has always been glad he made the effort that allowed Cool to give him that scar. 

The kid from Ardmore will always regret not at least making an attempt to tackle Windsor.

One more thing: Cool, the smoker, hasn't touched a cigarette in 20 years because they almost killed him.

He's driving an old pickup now without a continental kit, but he's got plenty of fishing gear in the back, and he's a happy man.

Best of all for the kid that moved, Cool still remembers that play more than 40 years later.