Fan in the Stands: Westran High School Honors Lost Fan
HUNTSVILLE - The Westran football family took its home field Friday night one member short. Kenny Wise is no longer there.
"He was always there on the sidelines, doing stats and everything," said Eric Wise, Kenny's son. "He'd come to our practices and watch us. And I think that made it special too, just him being there all the time."
Kenny Wise took stats for the football team for the last 10 years. He never woke up after undergoing heart valve surgery on May 24th. After six days of no improvement, his family decided to withdraw care, and on May 30th, everyone lost a friend. Wise was 53.
Westran senior quarterback Drake Buffington was close with Kenny Wise.
"He'd make a sandwich for you or he would keep stats," said Buffington. "He'd get you pumped up, he'd slap you upside the helmet if you made a bad play, and you'd come over and hear about it from Kenny first. He was just like one of the coaches."
So Friday's game became more than just touchdowns and points on a scoreboard. It was about honoring someone who only knew how to love.
"The day before his surgery, he cooked hamburgers and hotdogs for the track field day for the elementary school," said Kenny's daughter Courtney. She continued, "So he was in pain, he had a hard time breathing and things, but he was out there in the hot sun cooking hamburgers and hotdogs for 300 kids."
The team remembered Kenny Wise on Friday night with a moment of silence prior to its game against Eldon. The Hornets went on to win in overtime, 28-20. The one member of Wise's family to not be in attendance was his son Andrew. He is currently enlisted in the Air Force and is stationed in Florida. The football team is doing its part to honor Wise by wearing "KW" decals on the back of their helmets throughout the season.
The man who was a fixture on the Westran sidelines will never be forgotten. And he might not be standing on the sideline, but many can still feel his presence.
"I know he's watching tonight, every Friday, with us, all 15 weeks hopefully," said Buffington.
The only thing that's changed - his view of the field.
"He lived for Friday nights, for Westran football," said Nicole Roark, Wise's second daughter. "He loved being here every Friday night, no matter how he felt. And he was always here, no matter what. He would do anything for them and they would do anything for him."
Now, every Friday he'll be looking down as the sun sets and the lights shine bright on the Westran football field.