(Special to the American Press)
Kinder's Austin Pickle comforts Many's Xavier Davis after the Yellow Jackets won the Class 2A state championship game.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 10:09 AMIt was a simple act of sportsmanship, a move from one competitor to another that said your effort was appreciated.
Nothing more was expected of this one snapshot in time.
What it has become is a Facebook phenomenon.
Moments after leading his team to the game-winning touchdown in the Class 2A state championship game 11 days ago, Kinder quarterback Austin Pickle spotted his counterpart from Many sitting alone on his sideline.
Pickle never hesitated.
He walked over to Xavier Dias and tried to console him.
“I just told him he played a great game,” Pickle said. “I wanted to let him know I appreciated his effort.”
It had been a tough fight, one Pickle’s Yellow Jackets didn’t claim until the final gun went off. It was a heartbreaker for Dias, joy for Pickle.
But in that moment Kinder’s leader wasn’t thinking about the title he had just won, but rather the others guy’s loss.
So he decided to let Dias know his feelings.
A quick photo was taken of the moment, and Pickle’s life hasn’t been the same since.
“It has gotten a lot of attention and that surprises me,” Pickle said. “I didn’t even know the picture was taken at the time. I sure didn’t do it for that. I didn’t even know there was a picture being taken.”
It wasn’t the first time the quarterback has done such a thing, but considering some of the antics of athletes of all ages these days, it got noticed.
“A lot of people have commented on my Facebook,” Pickle said. “It kind of blew up the first few days. It has slowed down a little bit, but I still get messages.”
All have been positive, and for Pickle surprising.
“I sure didn’t expect this reaction,” he said. “I didn’t expect any reaction. It was just something I felt I should do. I knew he was feeling bad. I just wanted to try and tell him it would be fine.”
“Doing it just hit me out of the blue. I sure didn’t do it for any attention. That’s the last thing I expected or wanted.”
Pickle admits that it’s nice to be noticed for doing something good.
“A lot of people are saying that this shows the good in sports and kids,” Pickle said. “I hope it lets people know there is a right way to play the game.”
The actions of one kid can change a lot of things, especially the way folks look at events.
Pickle’s small but kind action is not alone, other kids do this all the time during games. He does hope that it could lead to more sportsmanship in the future.
“If so that would be great,” he said. “I just think it was the right thing to do.”
As for all the attention he has gotten from the action, you get the feeling Pickle could take it or leave it.
“It is nice people notice, but it doesn’t matter that much,” he said.
If nothing else, he gave us all a great holiday sports story this year.