Tomorrow is a big day in my life. My first published book will arrive in the mail and within the next couple of weeks, “A Glory Denied: The Story of the 1967 Owensboro High School Football Team” will be available for purchase. One of the two hardback copies that will arrive tomorrow will be mine to keep. The other will soon make its way to a very special man who has meant so much to Owensboro High School football, the “Coach”, Gerald Poynter.
One day during the fall of 1967 when I was eight years old, my dad and I walked from our house on 22nd Street to Rash Stadium to practice for an upcoming Punt, Pass and Kick competition. The football I was practicing with had been thrown, kicked and punted so many times in our street that the laces had busted and the inner tube was protruding through the opening to the point it looked pregnant. I abused the footballs my parents bought for me and my dad told me not to throw or kick it in the street. I didn’t listen. I would not be allowed another football until Christmas. I’m certain that the football players leaving the field that day after practice had a good laugh seeing my pregnant football. That’s when Gerald Poynter did something I will never forget.
If my memory serves me correctly, Coach Poynter came over to where I was practicing and gave me a few words of encouragement and noticed my bizarre looking football. He then walked into the OHS locker room and returned with a ball that they used for practice. It was not new, but in good shape and he walked over and gave it to me. It was the greatest gift I had ever received.
Over the years I have wanted to thank him for his kindness but never really had the chance. In the next few days, I will present Coach Poynter with a signed, hardcover, copy of the book about those ’67 Red Devils he coached and I will tell him thanks for that football he gave me fifty years ago.
Those ’67 Red Devils were special and I am excited for people to read why. Their story is unlike any in Owensboro High School sports history and after fifty years I wanted them to get the recognition they deserve.
I also want to use the book as a way to say thanks for the kindness shown to me by their head coach.
It will be a thanks long overdue.