A feel good story about an opt out team Western Hills

Lancermania

Lancers lead the way!
Western Hills quarterback 'had the game of his life' after grandmother's death
Scott Springer Cincinnati Enquirer


Western Hills High School will not be mentioned in any postseason awards for their gridiron success in 2020.
The Mustangs are one of several schools in Ohio that opted out of the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs, in a year where every school that wanted in would qualify.
This past weekend they recorded their first victory, which doesn't sound like much but was actually a monumental win for the ages in the eyes of Mustangs coach Armand Tatum.
The starting quarterback for the Mustangs is 15-year-old Omar Beckley. The pressure of starting a varsity football game behind center before you have your driver's license is tough enough, let alone what Beckley faced Saturday. About 30 minutes prior to leaving for their game vs. Dohn at Withrow, Beckley was dealt an untimely blow.
His grandmother had died. He had multiple messages on his phone. Tatum had noticed tears on Beckley's face when he saw him.
A Western Hills assistant coach immediately volunteered to drive him to his family. The game immediately became secondary.
Not to Beckley.
After gathering himself, he exercised his position as a team leader, calling a meeting to tell his football brothers he was going to stay and play. Next, he told his coaches.
"They said whatever I choose they respected," Beckley said. "Even the players, they respected whatever I chose."
Beckley's only fear was starting the game and then being unable to continue. He had spoken to freshman back-up Rahson Hutchinson before the contest telling him to be ready if he couldn't focus and failed in his first series.
Perhaps grandmother was watching as Beckley did not fail. Instead, he prevailed.
"I told the back-up, 'I'm going to play one drive and see how it goes,'" Beckley said. "I said, 'If I feel like I can't do it, I'm going to let you play.' After the first drive, we had something good going. The offensive line came up to me asking if I was going to stay and play. They said, 'Do it for her. You're already here, you might as well do it for her.'"

Tatum preaches to his players to not be the "what about me?" guy. Prior to recent construction at Western Hills, their locker room door read: We Over Me.

"I'm more happy about them coming together in support of one of their brothers in his time of need," Tatum said. "If nothing else, he was able to forget about that pain for a couple hours. For them (Beckley's teammates), it's just to know what it takes to support someone when they're in need."

Western Hills has more football to play. The Cincinnati Public Schools had a delayed start as the school board kept them from competition until late September. For the schools that opted out, CPS constructed a city championship. The Mustangs will next face Clark Montessori, a CPS school out of the Miami Valley Conference, on Taft High School's field Friday at 6:30.

Should they not win, it won't be a mission lost. Tatum's job goes beyond coaching as the structure of football and friendships are crucial to his squad. Tatum and staff offer a sympathetic ear, a shoulder and nutrition with CPS providing food during training to teens who might not have the means or access to three square meals a day.

"They may not like the food for breakfast, but there's something for them to eat," Tatum said. "They may not like the lunch, but there's something for them to eat. Before practice, we have food. After practice, there's peanut butter and jelly, chocolate milk and Nutragrain bars. A lot of kids don't eat unless they're with us."

The hope is all the good that comes from the team setting is paid forward. The Mustangs won the game 27-0 with Beckley running the option flawlessly.
 
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algernonsidney

Active member
This wouldn't have happened in pre-cell phone days. If my son was out there playing, I would just leave him alone. I wouldn't tell him that Grandma died until after the game was over. Telling him won't change what happened.
 

brianwr112

Well-known member
This wouldn't have happened in pre-cell phone days. If my son was out there playing, I would just leave him alone. I wouldn't tell him that Grandma died until after the game was over. Telling him won't change what happened.
Ridiculous statement. If you're coaching HS sports and your priorities are winning games over family emergencies then you're in the wrong profession. That information shouldn't be withheld for team/individual success.

The kid showed a lot of heart though. And I for one will be following him the next few years and wish him nothing but success.
 

algernonsidney

Active member
Ridiculous statement. If you're coaching HS sports and your priorities are winning games over family emergencies then you're in the wrong profession. That information shouldn't be withheld for team/individual success.
Please take a remedial reading class. Here is a recommendation:

 
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algernonsidney

Active member
For the literate people in this thread, I am curious. You are a PARENT. You have a son or daughter playing. You learn that someone in the family has died. Do you tell them as soon as you find out? Or do you wait till the game is over?

I would definitely let my kid finish the game. I don't see any point in telling them in the middle of the game. So, what would you do if you are a MOTHER of a FATHER?
 
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Sykotyk

Well-known member
For the literate people in this thread, I am curious. You are a PARENT. You have a son or daughter playing. You learn that someone in the family has died. Do you tell them as soon as you find out? Or do you wait till the game is over?

I would definitely let my kid finish the game. I don't see any point in telling them in the middle of the game. So, what would you do if you are a MOTHER of a FATHER?
I don't think sane people need to think about it.

So when your son learns after the game that their grandparent died that you purposefully withheld that info so it wouldn't affect their game... Do you think they'll think you did the right thing?
 

eastisbest

Well-known member
For the literate people in this thread, I am curious. You are a PARENT. You have a son or daughter playing. You learn that someone in the family has died. Do you tell them as soon as you find out? Or do you wait till the game is over?

I would definitely let my kid finish the game. I don't see any point in telling them in the middle of the game. So, what would you do if you are a MOTHER of a FATHER?
having a bad day? Perhaps you're thinking you are just being pragmatic but that's hardly the point of the story.

What would you really do if put in this situation? I think you'd hug him or her, trust your kid to make the decision and your kid would reward that by trusting and loving you even more and performing his/her best under those harsh conditions for you and for whoever passed . It would be a story you'd share forever.
 
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ElderHSfan02

Well-known member
This wouldn't have happened in pre-cell phone days. If my son was out there playing, I would just leave him alone. I wouldn't tell him that Grandma died until after the game was over. Telling him won't change what happened.
Maybe start another thread to discuss this. That is not the point of this thread.

Thanks for sharing the story.
 

cdubata

Member
For the literate people in this thread, I am curious. You are a PARENT. You have a son or daughter playing. You learn that someone in the family has died. Do you tell them as soon as you find out? Or do you wait till the game is over?

I would definitely let my kid finish the game. I don't see any point in telling them in the middle of the game. So, what would you do if you are a MOTHER of a FATHER?
🙄
 

Lancermania

Lancers lead the way!
A facebook post from his coach:

"This young man had the game of his life! Running our offense and directing traffic I'm so proud of him and the rest of the team that rallied around him and told him they had his back and boy did they. My staff and I are blessed to have the young men that we have. . #WEoverMe #FamilyStrong"

Omar Beckley scoring a touchdown in the game. Photo courtesy of Tony Tribble.
1602634457033.png
 

DonCalipari

Active member
I am so proud of this young man. I had the opportunity to coach this kid in little league football and he was the most respectful hard working kid I had. He never complained & always was a sponge for learning. He is 1 of the young men you wouldn't mind your daughter dating. Very humble young kid.
 

algernonsidney

Active member
I don't think sane people need to think about it.

So when your son learns after the game that their grandparent died that you purposefully withheld that info so it wouldn't affect their game... Do you think they'll think you did the right thing?
I don't think a son would care that much. If Grandma died at 7pm, what makes a difference if he finds out at 7:15, 7:30, 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00? He might appreciate that I let him have his moment. Do you think Grandma would want it that way? There is nothing that the kid can do.
 

eastisbest

Well-known member
I don't think a son would care that much. If Grandma died at 7pm, what makes a difference if he finds out at 7:15, 7:30, 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00? He might appreciate that I let him have his moment. Do you think Grandma would want it that way? There is nothing that the kid can do.
You're right. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Kid in the story is a really good apple. Took the news like an adult. Prepared his back-up in case he wasn't up to the task. And then went on as a leader. No bruises on that apple.
 

nupanther

Well-known member
I don't think a son would care that much. If Grandma died at 7pm, what makes a difference if he finds out at 7:15, 7:30, 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00? He might appreciate that I let him have his moment. Do you think Grandma would want it that way? There is nothing that the kid can do.
A couple of things
1. In the story the grandmother didn't die at 7. Omar got the message 30 minutes prior to leaving for the game. I dont know the distance but let's say the team wants to get to the stadium 90 minutes before the game for stretching, pregame routine,etc. So lets assume the call is around 430-5pm.
2. The story says he received multiple messages and Omar was seen crying. That leads me to believe he was close to his grandmother. Not everyone is close to their grandparents. Some are out of town & seen on major holidays. Some are seen multiple times a week. I'm not familiar with Western Hills, or anything about Cincinnati demographics, but it appears this is a struggling inner city area. Which leads you to believe more of an input on a grandmother to a grandson. This maybe one of those instances where a grandmother's death is as shocking as an actual parent.
3. We dont know the background on her death. Was she this sickly woman in and out of hospitals for years now in hospice? Or was she a vibrant middle aged woman with a full time job?
 

BlessEmAll

Moderator
Please back to topic. If this great story brings out anymore immature posts it's getting locked down. Focus on the story.
 
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