WELLINGTON — There were no referees and there wasn’t a score, but for 10-year-old Jackson Curry, it was probably his most glorious moment to date on the football field.
Last May when flooding hit the Rock Island ball fields, it destroyed football equipment kept in a storage building in the area. “Once the flooding started happening, we knew we may not have football,” Jackson said. “I got scared.”
Since then, Wellington’s Youth Football program has salvaged what it could and accepted donations for new equipment. Jackson saved his birthday money and money earned over a summer of mowing lawns and presented the football program a $600 check to help replace equipment.
Jackson’s was singled out for his generosity over the PA system as he stood on the field with his coaches, Brandan Lambert and Lonnie Vargas, at the hamburger scrimmage, held Aug. 29 at Sellers Park.
“Tonight I had the parenting moment where you are so filled with pride seeing your boy on that field,” his mother, Kelsey Curry-Swingle wrote on her Facebook page.
Jackson said he felt “nervous” at the attention he was receiving, as well as being tired, having just played a game.
“He’s a kind-hearted kid,” Vargas said. “He’s always looking out for others. He was thinking about other kids who couldn’t afford to play and he wanted to help them.”
Jackson had been at Lambert’s house many times over the summer, playing with his kids. In all that time, he never once mentioned what he was planning.
“He’s one of the more dedicated players,” Lambert said. “He excels in anything he does. He had over 100 tackles last season. He’s just an all-around good kid.”
Number 22 on his team, the Dukes, Jackson plays running back and quarterback on offense and outside linebacker on defense. He has a binder full of football cards he has collected and he admires players like Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham, Jr. of the Cleveland Browns and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
At age 10, Jackson has already been playing football for five years and plans to continue “as long as I can,” he said.
“We work hard on trying to be healthy and in stuff like conditioning” at practice, he said. “A lot of the new people start crying, but if you do it for five years, you get used to it.”
But maybe there’s more to it than physical conditioning.
“Sports don’t just build muscle and enhance coordination... they reveal character,” Curry-Swingle wrote on her Facebook page.
She posted about walking to the car with Jackson at the end of the events.
“Mom, that felt good,” he said.