By Tim Chambers
Many young athletes dream about making it to the pros one day. Include Ryan Morefield in the mix.
The lightning quick guard is a key member of the Johnson County Middle School’s eighth grade varsity basketball team. He is slated to be the starting point guard for head coach Devin Shaw when the season rolls around. He’s ready to embrace that role as a leader and one that comes with a lot of responsibility. But that won’t be his biggest task.
Ryan is now the “man of the house” due to the loss of his dad, Chris, on July2. His death was sudden and unexpected, a hard pill to swallow for Ryan and his mother, Patricia.
Both stated that they’ll lean on one another during this healing process. They also know that the support cast around them has been phenomenal.
“God has surrounded us with some incredible friends,” said Patricia. “Our church family, my workplace and basketball family have all been so supportive.”
Morefield was nearly in tears when talking about a scholarship fund that has been set up for Ryan online. They also have a “Go Fund Me” account which will be used to help with expenses.
“We live in such an amazing community,” said Patricia. “I don’t know where to start thanking people because so many of them have stepped up and helped. It’s enabled us to get through some difficult days. Ryan wants to attend college one day and the money being collected will assist us in that matter.”
Chris coached Ryan in some capacity for six seasons until he made the school’s seventh grade team. He recalled a few of those years.
“We won the championship when he coached us in the third grade and our team at Laurel was pretty good too my sixth grade year. He is the best coach that I’ve ever played for. Some others that played for him will tell you the same thing too.”
Coach Chris had a way of making kids feel good about themselves. He treated the middle school girl’s team to some hard candy before each game. And he always was willing to offer some advice to each player to try and help them improve their game.
“He was always talking to me or somebody else about basketball,” added Ryan. “He would give me some sound advice and offer up some constructive criticism. At times he would try and get my attention during the game while I was playing defense. He wasn’t trying to interfere. Dad just loved basketball.”
It’s that type of drive that continues to motivate the younger Morefield. He is determined to become a complete player.
“I love to be competitive and aggressive,” added Morefield. “There is nothing that feels better than winning. I’ve been working on my outside shot more because last year I wasn’t on point with it. My game consisted of driving the ball and getting it inside the paint. I’m trying to become a more complete player. I’ll do whatever it takes to be a good middle and high school player. That’s a couple of my goals that I am chasing.”
Ryan recalled a funny moment while playing in the youth league.
“I was bringing the ball up the floor when my tooth suddenly fell out and landed on my shoe. I stopped, picked it up and kept playing. I didn’t see any reason to sit down. I just tried to keep from smiling.”
Ryan said it was a blessing to have a dad that was so active. Chris participated in the rodeo when he served as an announcer and rodeo clown. He also served as the minister at Liberty Christian Church at one stage.
“Chris wore a lot of hats during our marriage,” said Patricia. “We begin dating when I was 16 and I married him when I was 19. He had a way of making people feel good. He was well spoken and always wanted to do good for someone. But we never sat together at ballgames. That was something we just couldn’t do.”
Basketball season will crank back up in October and Ryan knows that this season will be different.
“It’s going to be rough not having my dad there. He always said to just be myself. I’ll envision him being at my games and sitting in the stands. But he won’t be sitting beside my mom.”