In today’s world there is negativity, of some sort, thrown in our face on a daily basis. There can seem to be more bad than good.
But sports have a way of bringing out the best in people and allowing us to forget about all the bad, if only for a few hours at a time.
Such was the case on Saturday.
Monroe City football coach David Kirby spends countless hours game planning for the Panthers next opponent. Since Monroe City played on Saturday this past week, instead of Friday, Kirby had an extra day of preparing.
Kirby no doubt used the extra day to make sure his players would be more than prepared for anything the Westran Hornets tossed their way. But he also planned for something else.
After Monroe City swatted away the Hornets, 44-7, Kirby got down on a knee and asked his girlfriend, Amanda Owens, to be his wife.
Despite having seen his dance moves to “twerking songs” and videos from his “carpool karaoke” takes, Owens made Kirby the happiest guy at the football field by saying “yes.”
According to Owens, she was not completely shocked.
“We have discussed marriage for a while now, but I had no idea he would do it at a game,” she admitted.
Taking a page from her now fiance, Owens even managed to crack a joke about it.
“I would have had my look on point, had I known he was going to propose,” the future Mrs. Kirby said.
As easy as it is to notice Kirby's charisma both on and off the field, it’s just as easy to realize how much his players mean to him.
The fact he decided to make his players a part of his special day is evidence enough.
“In coaching, you build some pretty special bonds with your players,” Kirby explained. “These guys have been such an important part of my life, that I truly wanted them to be a part of one of my most special moments.”
Most players may not remember how they celebrated a big win, but the Panthers sure will remember how they celebrated Saturday’s state quarterfinal victory.
“For him to do it in front of us is really special,” Panthers junior Jon Saxbury said. “It’s something I think a lot of us will remember for a long time.”
Owens may have been the only person associated with the Panthers team who didn’t know about the proposal. Kirby gave his players a heads up Friday about his postgame plan.
“He told us we better go out there and get the win to make the day even more special,” Saxbury said.
So what would have happened had the Panthers lost?
“It didn’t happen so we don’t have to think about that,” Kirby said with a laugh.
But why pop the big question on the road?
“I wanted to propose in front as many friends and family as I could,” he said. “And I knew we were going to have several of our friends and family drive in from some distant places for the game. So it just worked out better that way.”
Although the game was at Westran, you couldn’t tell from all of the Black and Gold clad scattered on both sides of the field. The eye test revealed the Panthers not only dominated on the field, but also in the stands.
During a practice last week, Panthers running back Zach Osborn was called out for an interview with a local television station. In typical Kirby fashion, the Panthers coach announced Osborn not by his name, but by saying “McKenzie West’s boyfriend,” referencing the high school's star softball pitcher.
Osborn was not interviewed about Kirby's engagement, but Saxbury got in a jab for his teammate.
“I think all of us and coach knows who really wears the pants in their (Kirby and Owens') relationship,” the lineman said with a laugh.
If you are reading this, coach Kirby, please don’t make Sax run any extra in practice. He was promised immunity from punishment for this piece.
But in all seriousness, congrats to Kirby and his future Mrs.
And to quote Palmyra coach Kevin Miles, now go out and get that state championship ring.