One of the first things I read every morning on line is the obituaries in the Lawrence Journal World. I think it's something you tend to do as you get older. It's a way of keeping a scorecard on life as you see the names of people who have brushed across your life in ways both direct and indirect.
This week the name Ryan Green popped up in the LJW obituaries and I was instantly transported back to a Lawrence High football game, probably 1977 or 78. Legendary Lawrence High football coach Bill Freeman was in the midst of rebuilding the Lions back into a Kansas football power. My memory may be hazy and off base but I remember one play at the end of a game where Ryan broke loose for a long touchdown run that would have won the game and put the Lions into the playoff. Ryan raised the ball in the air in a show of joy at having scored and an overly aggressive official flagged the gesture as unsportsmanlike costing LHS the touchdown and the game. I always felt bad for Ryan because he really didn't do anything wrong.
He was a heck of basketball player to boot. Ryan and later his younger brother Darren were among a group of players that come to mind like Mike Coleman, Kenny Martin, and Roger Wellman that helped left LHS back into football prominence. These guys didn't win any titles but they played important roles in helping put Lawrence High football back on the map after Frank Gibson had destroyed it. The Green brothers together were something special.