Much has changed for Chad McGhee since he was hereby nominated for consideration as the biggest high-school football fan in the history of the game.
Newspapers in Texas have written about him. Radio stations in Boston have him scheduled to appear on Friday, but they're just getting sloppy seconds from some sports-talkers in Dallas. And some guy named Brad called, identifying himself as a part of Jimmy Kimmel's guest-booking crew. (Side note to Brad: the cell number you gave Chad ain't working, so call him back).
It's a lot to handle when his belusted Knox! City! Greyhounds! are gearing up for their six-man Texas high-school football opener Saturday night against Crowell at Trent's Rumble in the Jungle (aka Gorilla Stadium). But he was gracious enough to grant a 20-minute phone audience this afternoon.
"I'm overwhelmed with all this attention but enjoying this ride. I haven't had so much fun in a really, really long time," said the 36-year-old who's unemployed at present but has picked up some side work keeping stats and compiling footage from Greyhounds games this season.
He realized something was up when, after spending a day visiting his mother at the nursing home, the hits on his YouTube video went from about a thousand to tens of thousands in a matter of hours.
The attention is "helping the Greyhounds tremendously. They work harder. They're more focused. It gets 'em fired up. I went to practice yesterday and could see that they were absolutely ready to dominate. You couldn't be more ready for a football season than they are right now! I could see the fire burning from within! We're passionate about football here. We take it very, very, very seriously."
McGhee didn't go to Knox City. He didn't make the football team where he went, either. His take on that:
"Came really close. It's tough. Even put on the shoulder pads. I don't know what the problem was. Whether they thought I wasn't tough enough, didn't have the willingness, that I was too shy. Whatever they were thinking, it was the dumbest mistake they could ever make.
"They missed a golden opportunity here. I didn't just get that passion [from the videos] overnight. It was always hidden inside me. People are coming up to me saying, 'Damn, I never knew you had it in you, boy.' It was always there. Never had the platform to show it until now."
Explaining his artistic inspiration for the YouTube videos — each takes him about two hours to complete — he said it came from seeing the guys from the Knox City team around town; at church, youth groups, the grocery store, jogging, walking around, the gym.
"The more I heard 'em talking, the more I listened, I decided I'd do anything I could to boost 'em, to pump 'em up, to make them believe down inside that they can dominate, annihiliate and assassinate this season of football.
"There's absolutely nothing stopping them from greatness! If they believe in themselves, they will be the best. There's nothing stopping them from glory, from getting out on that gridiron, out on that field and outwinning, outplaying and outlasting the other teams! They will reach for the stars and bring the championship home to where it belongs: IN KNOX CITY! We are absolutely destined for greatness here. I can see it in their eyes, the passion, the absolute fire and desire they have!"
Chad figures he'll do a highlight-reel show of some sort, and promised to call me with weekly updates to pass along.
As for his non-football related hopes for the future, Chad said there are rumors around The City that he'll end up on Kimmel, Letterman or Leno. "It's flattering," he said, "but I'm not gonna think much about it unless I hear from them."
Knox City Greyhounds fan's video, spirit goes viral [Abilene Reporter-News]
Knox City Boys Football Schedule [Reporter-News]
my radio show appierinace on the ticket. [YouTube]