Cranks My Tractor

Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 09:20 AM.

One of our football rivalries, when I played in high school, more than 30 years ago in Alabama, was the Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD).  I distinctly remembered a fall night in 1979 when a giant of player for ASD, I simply remembered as “Walter” made mincemeat of my teammates and me.

In doing a little research, I found out that the current Athletic Director at ASD’s name was “Walter Ripley.”  I sent him an email asking if he was “Big Bad Walter.” 

He was not.

After finding out that Walter (Ripley) played for the Kansas School for the Deaf, we laughed about it and he fired back another message saying, “You’re talking about Walter Draper – they say he was 6’4”, 300 pounds.”

I thought to myself, “He was at least 6’6”.”

I do remember this about Big Walter; every time he would knock you down, he would help you up.  He helped you up with the biggest smile that seemed to say, “I’m sorry I had to do that.”

Walter Ripley, the ASD Athletic Director, turned out to be a great guy with a lot of connections to Gallaudet University.  His nephews, Ryan and Todd Bonheyo, both play for Gallaudet.  Yes, the “Ryan Bonheyo” who scooped up the blocked punt and ran it back for a 79 yard game winning touchdown against Becker College.

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