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Life more important than footballPosted Friday, November 7, 2008, at 11:08 PM
In the middle of a sectional football championship game, it was as if time had stopped. Real life and not sports has a way of doing that to us.
Long-time Linton-Stockton ball man Jim White was apparently on the Miner bench suffering from a reported heart attack in the middle of the second half between the host Miners and North Daviess as they played for the Class A Sectional 40 title.
I had noticed White, who was working along with partner Mike Misner to keep the officials and players with a dry ball, sitting on the sidelines, but didn't think much about it at the time. Reportedly he was turning white before help arrived.
When people realized what happened, the word started circulating among the players, media and fans about White. The game was halted with North Daviess facing a fourth-and-one in Miner territory and an ambulance was called onto the field to take White to the hospital.
"Jim had had stints but in recently, so he had had some problems with his heart," Misner said of the Switz City High School graduate who now lives in Linton. "He also had been under a lot of stress. He is building a new house and they are trying to move.
"I hope that he is all right."
In an act of sportsmanship, both teams huddled at midfield in a circle and prayed for White's recovery. Someone told me they bet that North Daviess coach Scotty Helms had something to do with that. No matter whose idea, it was the right thing to do.
Nobody seemed to mind the game was halted for almost 30 minutes. Although the big man probably doesn't listen to a heathen like me, but I said a prayer myself.
Misner finally got a hold of Smith by telephone. During the Miner circle of celebration near midfield, Misner interrupted Weber and held up his cell phone. He told the Miner faithful to shout out their best wishes to White over speaker phone. An almost deafening cheer was all that could be heard. I am sure it was music to White's ears. The fact that he was OK was news to mine.
Besides what happened to White, 1979 Linton-Stockton graduate Stewart Kirchoff apparently fell and hit his head on concrete on his way to the game, according to Linton-Stockton athletic director Charlie Karazsia.
Kirchoff was not as fortunate as White as his accident cost him his life, according to Karazsia.
As I watched the Miners show character once again and rally from deficits of 7-0 and 14-6 to win 18-16, I could help but think about Smith and Kirchoff and the fate they encountered Friday night at Roy Williams Field.
I was watching TV today and I will never forget a line from a movie that I had taped. After a grandfather died in at the end of the movie, he said in a note, "Death is a heartache that no one can heal. Love leaves a memory that no one can steal."
The Miners stole victory from the North Daviess Cougars Friday, but I am sure the family that Kirchoff left behind felt like something was stolen from them far more important than a game -- life. May God be with them.
How precious it is. Go home and hug your wife or husband. Hug you kids and tell them you love. You never know when it might be the last time you see them.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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