Kindness wins the game

Mar. 25—A Verdigris fifth-grader has already collected more than enough game rings to place two on each of his fingers and thumbs.

Huck Evans is a multisport athlete, despite his youth — and he loves all things football.

"I mostly like players [rather] than teams," he said. "I like the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills. But I like 'CeeCee' Lamb; he plays for the Cowboys. I met him."

He's also met Baker Mayfield, who plays for the Buccaneers.

"I got to catch a pass from him and got to go do his camp when I was 5 or 6," Huck said.

Evans' mother, Seanna, said she asked him what was the best part of the day when he met Mayfield.

"He said, 'Just playing football all day,'" she said.

He told his dad, Robbie Evans, "I love playing football with you, but you sure don't throw a football like Baker does."

Robbie is president of the Verdigris Youth Football League. The young Evans is an offensive and defensive lineman and an honored Defensive Player of Year at Verdigris.

Football is Huck's game, but being able to play ball with his classmates during recess at Verdigris Upper Elementary School is important, too.

His leadership on the school playground among other acts of kindness, recently caught the attention of the USA Football award team, which has named him the newest recipient of the Youth Boys' Sportmanship Award.

"Last year in the fourth grade, they got the balls taken away at recess and they couldn't play any sports," Seanna said. "The principal called me to the school ... I didn't know what to expect; he had never been in trouble."

Seanna said that when she arrived, the principal took her in the office.

"She pulled out this crumpled piece of paper [and said], 'Your son has devised a plan to get the balls back at the school. It's a plan for rotation for basketball so none of the kids will be left out,'" Seanna said.

In February this year, Huck received a Student of the Month Award. The Word of the Month was "kindness."

"Huck embodies the true essence of sportsmanship," the USA Football award announcement stated. "His exceptional leadership shines through his countless acts of kindness, from welcoming newcomers to organizing toy drives and spearheading initiatives like the $3 challenge, which raised $3,000 for those in need."

Huck had invited others to join him in turning a $3 challenge — a gift from his teacher, who asked students to do a random act of kindness for someone else — into $3,000. It bought gifts for every child on the First Baptist Church's angel tree a couple of years ago.

"His inclusive spirit extends beyond the football field, as demonstrated by his efforts to ensure every fifth-grader in the community has an opportunity to play sports during recess," USA Football's news release stated.

He's been playing football since he was 5 years old, starting with the VYF. In spring and summer, he plays for a competitive D1 Nations team; his positions are fullback and linebacker.

He was recruited in March 2021 to play for the 10 and under Ray Town Cardinals in Kansas City, Missouri. In December 2022, they won a national championship ring, and he won MVP out of 13 states at a showcase.

"When I won this [sportsmanship] award, my mom texted me while I was on the walking trail with my friend. I looked on my phone and saw I had won, and I said 'Oh, my,'" Huck said.

His friend asked him what makes him so happy.

"It's just being kind and being a good friend to people, no matter what you are doing," Huck said.