The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


December 16, 2013

A Don McCormack column: A message of warmth from Coldwater

Taken along for the ride...

It truly is a small world, after all. Six weeks, or so, ago I stumbled across a movie while flipping through the channels.

Seeing some football action in the flick, it caught my interest.

Upon realizing the team depicted in the flick, “Touchback,” was based on an actual Ohio high school, Coldwater, located in Mercer County, the channel didn’t get changed. A rarity, these days.

At the movies

First, a bit of background.

The movie is 2012 film written and directed by Don Handfield and stars Brian Presley and Kurt Russell.

By the time the 120-minute movie ended, I had tears streaming down my face.

It kicks off with Scott Murphy (Presley), your typical high school football hero, much like that played by Russell, who does a terrific job as Coach Hand, during another gridiron classic, “The Best of Times,” in 1986.

Anyway, injury he received during a state championship game played in Ohio ended Murphy’s career on the football field, which was slated to continue as a full-scholarship player at Ohio State (yet another hook).

 Two decades after that fateful game was played, Murphy still resides with his family in the quiet town of Coldwater, referred as “Backwater” more often than not in the film as a reference to its rural nature.

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie for you, but if you have yet to see it, I certainly recommend it.

As is usually the case, sports are a wonderful metaphor for life and “Touchback” certainly answers the bell.


In Week 10 of the 2013 high school football season, I ran my column about what makes high school transcendent across lines such as race, gender, income, even ability.

That column has received as much, if not more feedback than any of recent vintage for yours truly. While most definitely appreciative of all the wonderful sentiments expressed by those who felt inclined to offer them, I figured it was like any other in that reactions would cool and an “on-to-the-next” scenario would play out.

Turns out, though, I was incorrect. Nothing that unusual, I realize, but boy, am I pleased that I was.

A few weeks ago, my inbox lit up with a message from a name I did not recognize.

It read:

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