On Saturday, Texas Wesleyan, in Fort Worth, will play its first home football game in 76 years. The school hasn’t had football since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The entire team joined the war effort and football has been gone ever since.
WFAA’s Sean Giggy went looking for a connection to that team’s history and found it, nearly three hours away in Huntsville.
When Sean began his drive to Huntsville, he knew he was going to meet a man who would tell him all about the good ole days. But Sean never expected to be shown the good ole days, too.
Instead of driving directly to his house, 86-year-old Jack Kyle insisted Sean meet him at a spot just off the highway so he didn’t get lost.
Now that’s old-fashioned hospitality.
Jack lives in Huntsville because he moved there for college and never left.
A star for the Sam Houston State football team, by the time he graduated, Jack held seven school records. And he owes it, in part, to the 1941 Texas Wesleyan football team.
“That was a great opportunity and something I, at the time, considered very important,” Kyle said.
Jack’s older brother, Graham Kyle, played for that team, the final team before the program disbanded when all the players left for World War II.
Jack and Graham were 14 years apart and, because of that, Jack admits they weren’t very close. But that started to change when he went to a game.
“I hadn’t seen him play football, period. Until the Texas Wesleyan game,” Jack said.
It was just one game, but his brother made him feel like a king. Ten-year-old jack was invited to ride to the stadium with the team.
“Graham’s the one that got me on the bus,” Jack said.
His big brother even got him a spot on the bench during the game.
“That was an unheard-of thing,” Jack said.
For 10-year-old Jack, it was like going to Disney World.
It’s the only time Jack ever saw his brother play and you can tell, it still means the world.
“Sitting on the bench with a brother playing football, the only chance I ever had, was a memorable moment,” said Jack.
And one he carried with him into the record books.
“You better believe it,” Jack said.