Fred and the Fort Knox chain gang
Fred Durham knows a thing or two about working on a football chain crew, and it’s a good thing, too.
Durham has been part of the chain crew at Danville’s home football games for years, but he figured to get a break Friday night because the Admirals were on the road at Fort Knox. It didn’t work out that way, however, because four soldiers who were there for basic training also needed some basic training in how to handle the chains.
A group of 200 or so soldiers from the post was brough to Friday’s game for a break in their usual routine and to cheer on the home team, and four of them were drafted, if you will, to man the box and chains on the sidelines. Trouble was, none of them knew what they were doing. These men will surely become good soldiers who will do our country proud in all sorts of ways, but none of their training had prepared them for this.
The side judge nearest the chain crew was beginning to realize he had his hands full when Durham offered to help. Durham and wife Beverly drive the truck and trailer that haul the players’ equipment and their postgame food to out-of-town games, and they’re usually on the sideline at those games. So Durham recognized a problem and stepped in to help, sticking close to the four recruits to tell them where to stand and when to move for the rest of the night.
And like any good soldier would, these men did as they were told and stepped lively when it was time to move. (It was the fastest-moving chain crew I’ve ever tried to stay out of the way of.) We learned over the course of the evening that they were from all points of the compass and had only been at Fort Knox for a short time. We also learned that the football game made for a late night for them and for the rest of their unit in the grandstand; they said they’re usually in bed by 8 p.m. and up at 3:30 a.m., often for a 5-mile run.
It’s thanks to Durham that an otherwise forgettable game ran as smoothly as it did and that these four young men didn’t draw the wrath of a frustrated side judge — which still couldn’t be nearly as bad as what they get every day from their drill sergeants.