Congratulations to former Page High School and Greensboro College head football coach Marion Kirby, who is among five people who will be inducted May 14 into the Catawba County Sports Hall of Fame. [Disclosure: I work for GC.]
That’s not especially surprising, given not only Kirby’s coaching career but also the fact that his game-winning field goal in 1960 gave Catawba County’s Lenoir-Rhyne University its only national championship in football.
But what was most interesting for me was what Kirby had to say about how his upbringing shaped his career:
All of my education except for my year of graduate school at East Carolina was here. I went to Viewmont Elementary, Westmont Elementary, Highland Elementary, Hickory Junior High, Hickory High and Lenoir-Rhyne College and I walked to every one of them.
“Over the years. I’ve realized how fortunate I was to grow up where I did. My backyard was connected to (the late) Clarence Stasavich’s family’s backyard, (the late) Frank Barger lived in an apartment condo at the end of the street.
“Luke Beam, the great band director at Hickory High, lived two houses up and C.O. Miller, whose name is on the YMCA, I could hit his front porch with a rock.
“So it occurred to me that as a youngster I had a lot of really great male role models in my life, and I’m really humbled to have grown up on the shoulders of giants in my neighborhood.”
And I wonder: How many of our boys today are growing up with those kinds of giants in their neighborhoods, those male role models who lead, mentor and inspire?
Probably not nearly enough of them.