Like all high school teams, the Soutwestern Warriors are hoping for lots of wins this season. Yet…many of the players already feel like they’ve lost….a lot.
“The kids he was really close to, they have bad days still. And that’s hard, they’re going to have days like that,” said Southwestern Football Coach Dale Anderson.
John Tyler Pickerell died in May during a kayaking accident on Lake Cumberland. His coach says he was a big part of the heart and soul of last year’s team. For this season, players are dedicating the season in memory of him.
“When we got back (for pre-season practice), the juniors and seniors…they wanted to talk about something they could do for "Pick," play the season for him, “ said Anderson.
Players will each have a #18 sticker on their helmets, and a special patch is being made for their jerseys.
“It’s going to have RIP #18, and it will have “PICK” underneath,” said Anderson, speaking of Pickerell's nickname.
John Tyler Pickerell would have graduated last year but his friends and coaches say that he will would have been a big part of this year’s team.
Such as standing on the sidelines on Friday nights and even coming to practices.
“He would have been here watching, his brothers have been, his older brother, several times,” said Anderson.
And since the accident there’s been a campaign in hopes of convincing other boaters to wear life jackets.
“We’ve had several billboards up all summer. We’ve had signs up at the marinas,” said Anderson.
Since Pickerell’s accident no one else has drowned in Lake Cumberland, but those behind the pick campaign say even if one life is saved, it’s been worth it.