It took me a day to digest the untimely death of former Wasson football player Diontea Forrest. Even with 24 hours to think, I sit at my computer with so much to say, but without a clue as to how to express my feelings.... I learned of his death while driving back from Broncos Mini Camp on Monday afternoon. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't know Diontea as well as his friends or family. But what I do know is I have never been more impressed with a high school kid than I was with Diontea Forrest.
I first saw Diontea run with the football in the fall of 2004. I was amazed. He had it all. Grace, power, speed. To this day, I still say he was the best running back I have seen in Southern Colorado since I was hired at KKTV in 2002. But what impressed me most about Diontea was his demeanor on the field. He was a true warrior during the play, but a true gentleman when the whistle blew. When he scored a touchdown (and there were bunches), you never saw him celebrate or "show up" the other team. He simply flipped the ball to the referee and jogged to the sideline. He knew he would be back in the end zone again.
In 2005, I decided I had to go talk to this dynamic running back. I set up an interview with him after practice. To talk about football and life. I knew instantly that my first impressions of him were "right on." He was a humble kid who felt uncomfortable talking about himself. He wasn't as impressed with Diontea Forrest as I was. That impressed me even more. But Diontea wasn't content with his success. He had more touchdowns to score.
Turns out, he won't make a return trip to the end zone. His life was cut way too short by a senseless act of violence. I know his memory will live on here in Colorado Springs. Wasson is planning on retiring his #22. I too will make sure his memory never dies in my mind. I have already watched five minutes of Diontea Forrest highlights in my office (we had a ton of them). I am just as impressed now as I was then. I plan to keep that video and show them to my sons when they get ready to play football because Diontea played the "right way." A model for all athletes to follow.
Diontea... I will miss your 50-yard runs. I will miss your touchdowns. I will miss you telling me "its no big deal."
You were a big deal. And I enjoyed every moment.
Jesse Kurtz, KKTV Sports Anchor/Reporter