I (white) was a backup, in football, for my senior defensive linebacker (black). I was proud to relieve him on defense, so he would be fresh to play linebacker, as well, on offense. I blocked for him as a varsity center. I could not, fully, fill his shoes on defense, however. That did not upset me. I was very honored that I was his relief.


I was grateful that I could support him, our team and our school. We were all Mustangs. I liked our mascot. It was not predatory or mean. It just ran with majestic fury. I see that fury as an expression of freedom from the Spanish Conquistadors.


We can look at mustangs today with fallout over George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., to see our true selves.


Justice stamps. Peace strides. Love tarries.


* * * *


The star player was Rodney Graham of Iola, Kansas, voted best linebacker on offense and defense at the South-East Kansas (SEK) All-League coaches' conference in 1973.


Tom Nyquist, Topeka