People make mistakes. Children are people. They make mistakes. Some mistakes cause harm to others. What happens to the children who make those kinds of mistakes? Juvenile correctional facilities all over the country are filled with young people who have made regrettable mistakes. Do those kids get to do the things that other kids do? Yes and no. While many will never attend senior prom, many still have the opportunity to participate in sports. Such is the case at Gainesville State School. Gainesville is a maximum-security youth correctional facility located 75 miles north of Dallas. Last fall, Grapevine Faith High School hosted Gainesville for a regular-season football game. Gainesville plays all of its games on the road due to security concerns and logistical issues. So, the team never has the support of home fans. Grapevine Faith coach Kris Hogan decided to make a positive change in favor of Gainesville. Hogan encouraged fans to form a spirit line that stretched 40 yards for Gainesville players to run through during introductions. He went a step further and had 200 Grapevine Faith fans sit on the visitor’s side to cheer for Gainesville. After the game, Gainesville coach Mark Williams found Hogan and said, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.” Hogan knew what he was doing. He restored a sense of belonging to the Gainesville players. Hogan let them know that despite their situation, people still care. On that night, they were not visitors, outcasts, nor the enemy. They were just kids…playing football.
The Grapevine Faith High School Football Team is being recognized by the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance and the St. Louis Sports Commission.