Dequan Raindle makes another special teams tackle. He harasses another quarterback. He goes to classes every day. He takes an SAT prep class.
And he writes “Dequan’s Diary” every week. He usually writes it on Thursdays, and it pops into my e-mail account sometime in the afternoon, before practice.
For anyone who has watched the Tigers play this season, they know “DQ” — as I like to call him — can do it all. A jack-of-all trades. He has to have over a dozen tackles on kickoffs alone. He leads the Tigers with 88 tackles headed into Friday’s area-round playoff game against Sulphur Springs.
And he’s a high school kid after my own heart. One of the few in his generation that enjoy the craft of writing.
That’s why I wanted to provide the back story of how “Dequan’s Diary” came to be.
One of the “young” gentlemen at Whataburger stopped me a few weeks ago — if I’m not mistaken Katy Perry’s “TGIF” was blaring in the background — and asked me, “Dequan’s Diary? How much of that is Dequan?”
My response: “All of it.”
Do I have to make a few minor edits? Sure. Just like I do for my own stories (and being my own editor, I don’t always catch them as you probably know. It’s a tough racket someone once told me).
But the content of the diary itself? It is 100 percent pure Dequan.
The genesis of Dequan’s Dairy goes back to this summer during offseason workouts when I’d go up to the fieldhouse to check in with Phil Castles on how things were going.
One morning Dequan came up to me and said, “Todd, I want to write for the newspaper. Do you need any help down there?”
I wanted to say yes, I could use three, four or 50 extra people.
I took Dequan’s interest as very serious, so I told him to write me a story on how offseason workouts were going and we’d talk.
I showed up the next week and he had something written. He did what he said he was going to do, which is a great start. And it was pretty good. I was in.
Then an idea struck me — have him write a diary. We’ve all seen them through the years in different publications. It’s a chance to go inside the locker room, inside football. That’s what sports writing and reporting is all about.
So I asked Dequan if he’d do it. Write the diary. He was all for it. And so Dequan’s diary came to be.
“I wanted to have the experience of a journalist,” Raindle said. “I've always enjoyed writing and I wanted to keep our fans and supporters entertained and encourage everyone in Navarro County to come out and support us.”
Dequan lets coach Castles read it most weeks. We pay attention to the “bulletin board” talk. But mostly, Dequan gets the same freedom that anyone else would who submits a guest column.
He’s made his deadline every week. It didn’t appear in Friday’s paper this past week, but that was because our e-mail was down Thursday afternoon and the Tigers were practicing, so I couldn’t reach Dequan. So instead it ran online.
“It’s been great,” Raindle said of the experience. “It has helped me week by week to improve on my writing skills.”
That’s the story of Dequan’s Diary. A high school kid took the initiative to ask if he could write for the newspaper.
In Corsicana, the student-athlete is alive and well.
Todd Wills may be reached by email at email@example.com.