and Whitehouse, Texas
Hometown athlete does the town good and vice versa!by Steven Dickey Arnold
Click below to see me on the KDFW Fox 4 Newscast following the game On Sunday night!
I was at the Super Bowl 54 Watch Party at Montez Creekside Kitchen in Whitehouse and was approached by a guy who stuck out like a sore toe in his suit and tie and mirror finished, half-brogue wingtips. He was lurking amongst the Creekside patrons with an objective in mind. Scanning the room and it’s crowd patterns, he determined what action he would take and proceeded to clear a space in the crowd who were standing at the rear of the main room. I could not make out what he was saying to the folks, but they were very cordial to him when they moved to another location. After opening up a 4 or 5 person space he waved across the room to another person who was much more casually attired. The suit continued to wave and finally got his compadre’s attention.
Mr. Casual was toting a large video camcorder of a professional size and style. On the side was the logo of KDFW Fox 4 in Dallas. They were obviously a reporter and camera man, sent on assignment to catch a glimpse of the fever, excitement and pride of the people of Whitehouse and the surrounding area. For the past couple of weeks, since after being down 24 to zip, nada, zero, zilch or another synonym which I cherish the most. One that I heard broadcast across the loud speaker system during halftime at Rose Stadium in the Fall of 1966. It was a Thursday night game between two black high schools. Yes this was during segregation and things were changing. We thought we might get a chance to recruit some black athletes to attend REL the next year. The home team that night was Emmitt Scott and I cannot remember the Visiting teams name. I was there scouting players for Coach Don Barton as we had already broken the color barrier with a couple or three guys on the football, basketball and other sports teams in 1966 including, as I recall, Jerry Arnold, Wilford Marshall and Jimmy Johnson.
It was a serious matter when we were on the road. Our opponents and their fans were often very rude, nasty and even out and out violent to these young men. They also gave the rest of the team disrespect by calling us names that will go unrepeated here. There were threats made far beyond the normal ruggedness of blocking and tackling common to the sport and were of a criminal nature at times. (read as: premeditated use of a weapon to cause bodily harm to another individual!!) That being said, we did our best to treat these fellows as teammates, although at times it was hard to ignore our cultural and lifestyle differences in addition to our skin color.
In order to give context to my memory of that Fall Thursday evening, (In that era of separate but equal, Emmitt Scott was relegated to playing on Thursday nights, while REL and JT played on alternating Friday nights and TJC played on Saturday.) my two buddies and I heard the game calling announcer speaking in a very stylized dialect known and used by the black community in that time and space say, “ …and at halftime here at the bootiful Tyler Rose Gardens and auspicious Rose Stadium on the grounds of the infamous East Texas State Far. I am delighted to report that after 30 minutes of hard fought, noggin knockin’ Bulldog football, the score they gonna start inna second half be Emmitt Scott Bulldogs 21 and the Visitors un-uh!
It was the perfect word for the moment and the occasion. un-nh!, we weren’t gonna be successful in our recruitment, un-uh!, we did not understand the black community and their plight in 1966. And un-uh!, we (white folks) were doing little to change ourselves, but expected black folks to do the lion’s share of the heavy lifting yet to come in the way of, integration, civil rights and equality under the law. But that night was special to me as it taught me to see people as they are, and not as they might be portrayed by others such as the media or groups who have an agenda.
At this time I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming:
(Repeated from above)
On the side was the logo of KDFW Fox 4 in Dallas. They were obviously a reporter and camera man, sent on assignment to catch a glimpse of the fever, excitement and pride of the people of Whitehouse and the surrounding area. For the past couple of weeks, since after being down 24 to zip, nada, zero, zilch or un-uh!.
In order to get to the Super Bowl game for the first time in 50 years, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tennessee Titans in a stunning 31 – 0 second half comeback performance seldom seen at the professional level. After falling behind 24 – 0 early in the second quarter, the energetic and determined Chiefs also defeated the Houston Texans in another come back win by scoring an amazing 51 points to the Texans 10 in the last 2 1/2 quarters.
This set the stage for a storybook finish. And from a pre “Build it and they will come!” era going all the way back to the “Here’s a stage, let’s put on a show!” era, they did just that! And in Spades!
Whitehouse, Texas’ hometown SuperStar, Patrick Mahomes, lit up the scoreboard and led his Kansas City Chiefs to as an exciting Super Bowl win as you’ll ever see. After being tied at half time 10 to 10, San Francisco went ahead in the third quarter 20 to 10. But #15, Mahomes and his merry men took over and scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to the 49ers un-uh! and the game was suddenly over. Patrick Mahomes left the fans begging for more, and both Kansas City and Whitehouse, Texas couldn’t be prouder.
The game was about to start and the reporter came over to my handsome striking looking friend with his white hair and long ponytail, Wendell and asked if he lived in Whitehouse. Wendell does not and said “I don’t, but he does,” gesturing toward me. The reporter, a newbie to the area confirmed that with me and asked if I would talk with him about the game on camera. I agreed and they set up the shot right there in the bar. It was extremely loud in the restaurant with folks getting excited about the eminent start of the game. I doubted that whatever I had to say would ever make it past the editor because of the sound issues. We visited for about 10 minutes about the game, Patrick Mahomes and what he had done to stimulate our small Texas community. I chose to speak for all of East Texas by saying how proud we are of Patrick and what a great person he appears to be. That he is someone that others follow naturally and how I believe he will do even greater things with his life than win a Super Bowl or three. I wouldn’t want to run against him in any race. Whether it’s for dog catcher or President of the USA, he’d be a formidable opponent! It’s obvious that he is a leader on and off the field and he has shown the strength of character, intestinal fortitude and personal perseverance that is required of great leaders.
That night, at a Super Bowl watch party, while being interviewed by a television crew, I had an intense feeling that we were watching something extremely important to our community, state, country and quite possibly the world. I predicted on television that Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs would prevail in the game that evening. Privately I was predicting that a new hero was to be crowned that night. One we can all look up to. One who can get the opposing forces in our country to work together in an honest effort to make America all it can be. An American MVP for you, me and anyone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And at the same time respect all of our citizens, no matter what their skin or features may indicate about their ancestors, or what their age, physical and mental abilities may be. To train them, teach them, love them and protect them from harm as best we know how. This is the future I see for Patrick Mahomes. He’s just the right size, color, age and personality to follow
our current political mess and pick up the pieces of turmoil, hate, bureaucracy, lies, greed and character assassination that prevail in today’s political organizations. If you’re reading this or listening to me Patrick, we love you here in Whitehouse, Texas and someday I hope to live to see you running for President of the United States of America! I know you’ll pull us out in the fourth quarter, no matter what the odds. It’s what you were made to do! You inspire good people to do great things. May God bless you and your family today and in the years to come.