The Jay Graves Report

Ben Davis’ Mike Kirschner set the tone for a championship in August with a simple demand! “Permission”

Ben Davis' Mike Kirschner is a prayin' man of God and is well respected for it. Photo: TheJayGravesReport

Back on August 6 I had the privilege of attendin’ the Ben Davis team picnic before they held their annual preseason scrimmage. It was just a week or so after startin’ safety Rondell Allen had been shot multiple times and boyz didn’t know whether he would make it not.

He was still in the woods at the time and head coach Mike Kirschner gathered his team together on the lawn just behind the stadium after they’d finished eatin’.  All of the parents, families and friends were there and he kept it as real as he could with them.

He said something that I’ll never forget. He told everyone that was there, “Whether you believe in God or not, bow your head so we can pray.” When he said that I said to myself, ‘This cat is the real deal and I completely understand why he’s a winner.”

At that moment he prayed for them and over them in a public settin’ at school where boyz have been tryin’ to take God out of the mix for years. Coach Kirshner understood that without God he couldn’t do anything and without God he couldn’t coach this team.

Sure, he’s got the most talented team in the state by far. However, talent will only get you so far. There are a lot of talented teams that are in utter chaos and they’re sittin’ at the crib this week. The Ben Davis Giants are 13-0, ranked No.1 in the state and No.5 in the country but they weren’t immune to the foolishness that every other coach in the state had to deal with. He’s winnin’ because he’s got sense enough to trust in God even with all of the talent in the world. Most cats exclude him because they’ve got the talent.

Let’s keep it real or all the way 100, whichever comes 1st! In August Coach Kirschner was just tryin’ to keep the wheels from fallin’ off after losin’ one of his best and most respected players. He was tryin’ to make sure that the rest of his team stayed focused. Losin’ a leader for the season is always tough, and again boyz still didn’t know if he would pull through. Praise God that he eventually did.

However, it wasn’t about football at that moment for Ben Davis. It was about life and livin’ the right way. It was about becomin’ great men and overcomin’ obstacles. Football could wait because football would take care of itself. Why? Because Coach Kirschner wasn’t put here to just coach football. He was put here to make an impact on these young men’s lives. Football just happened to catch a ride along the way. It just happened to be the vehicle in which he uses to get through to these young men.

So am I surprised that Ben Davis is about to play for the Class 6A State Championship on Saturday? Nope! Because I saw how much talent they had back in August but most importantly I saw how much Coach Kirscher and his staff loved their kids. I saw a man demand that everybody bow their heads to pray for Rondell Allen, and the rest of the team, in a public place and not care whether he was given permission to do it or not.

When you love your players as much as coach Kirschner and his staff does those same players will run through a wall for you. Well playas…the Ben Davis Giants have been runnin’ through walls all season long and I’d hate to be standin’ in the way on Saturday when they roll in from the westside with Mike Kirschner leadin’ the way. Stop me when I start lyin’!

Playas Thesaurus: 

1) Dun: noun – the person in question, dude, guy, etc. It’s whoever I’m talkin’ about and its non-gender specific.

The G is excluded from the endings of all words because the G is near and dear to my heart because I’m from “The G” which is Gary, Indiana. So I only use the G when I’m talkin’ about “The G!”

The caption under the photo isn’t real but its real talk!