View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 3/5

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: March 7, 2018 - 2:57 PM

Sunday night I was able to do one of my favorite things. I was the presenter at the annual Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Scholar Banquet.

For the past 11 years 22 football players from Kansas and Missouri have each received $1,000 from the GKCFCA courtesy of The McCarthy Auto Group. These scholarships are given to players who excel on the field and in the classroom and every year it is a fantastic group of young men.

This is the ninth year I have done this and each year it just seems to get better. I usually share the same story with the winners but this year it was a little different.

In the past I shared my experiences as a sports writer at The Examiner in eastern Jackson County. The main story was parents asking me what the best method is to get college scholarship money for their child. It was along the lines of is football or basketball or track the most direct route to the money. I would always tell them there was one sure fire way, excel in the classroom. Do well in school and there is always money out there.

I like that story and it is always relevant. There is not magic formula on the field to getting that scholarship. There is in the classroom and a lot of people forget that.

This year I changed it up a little bit and relayed this story to the group.

I have a seven-year old son who is crazy about sports. He is always asking me to take him to high school games whether it’s basketball or baseball and in fact we went to a volleyball match this fall.

About a month ago I took him to a game at the local high school. It’s close to home and I know the announcer well, so we get to sit right next to the scorers table when we go. It’s one of the few perks I have will take it as long as I can get it.

We were sitting on the home side of the scorers table and as the starters were being introduced each player would run across the court and throw a towel to the student section on the opposite side. I was kind of paying attention when I saw a player from the home team reach over to my son and hand him his towel right before his named was announced. I caught the attention of that player and nodded thanks to him.

My son was beyond thrilled and waved that towel the entire game. We even took a picture of it and sent it to his grandparents and his mother who is alumna of the school. When we got home he showed it to his mother again and it sits on his dresser today.

He is a fan of that player for life just from that Friday night, but it goes even a little deeper. My son and I were leaving Wal-Mart the two days later and who did we see walking straight at us but that same player. I pointed him out to my son and he got very excited. When we got to him I thanked him again and so did my son. The young man asked my son if he had fun and gave him a high five.

That is a very little thing, but it meant a lot to a young boy. My point is that even though you may just be a high school player there are still people who are watching you and wanting to be like you. This player gets it as I think most do. In a time when it is easy to marginalize young people I think we are putting out some great ones.

Look no further to the list of scholarship winners and to the player who made my son’s day twice in one weekend.