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I started reading the new Kirk Herbstreit book, and let’s just say his childhood was way different than I perceived it to have been

On the eve of the real start to the college football season — Ohio State at Minnesota — I thought it was a good time to sit down and start reading Kirk Herbstreit’s new book OUT OF THE POCKET Football, Fatherhood, and College GameDay Saturdays. Growing up as a fellow suburban Daytonian, I knew all about Centerville High School where Herbstreit attended. Even at a very young age, I knew the local high school football scene. Sitting down to read the book, I’ll admit I figured Herbstreit lived a comfortable life in the upper-middle-class to wealthy town where he attended high school. It was Centerville. You had to have money in the early 1980s to survive there.

It turns out, I was completely wrong about Herbstreit’s childhood. It was anything but elite. There was divorce, pretty much abandonment from his father for several years of his life, there were multiple schools, there were step-parents and there wasn’t much money. Herbstreit even mentions how at one point there was rationing of Hamburger Helper.

Approximately 15 pages in, Herbie starts writing about how his father quit coaching college football at Miami University and moved the family to Trotwood, Ohio. It about sent me into convulsions. That’s where my mother grew up, where my grandparents lived, where my great-grandmother lived. That’s where we went to family Christmas parties. Where we walked the creeks. Where I bought my first baseball cards. Herbie spent a few years of his life seven miles from where I grew up. And he has very fond memories of his life in Trotwood, which as it turns out, is now a wasteland of abandoned strip malls, crime, and a failed suburban city.

But it was great in the mid-1970s. It’s where Herbstreit started playing youth sports and ran with neighborhood kids living the perfect life.

“When I finished second grade that spring, we moved to Centerville. As we pulled out of the driveway for the final time, that’s when it hit me: this is really happening. I had this perfect kid life… and then I didn’t,” Herbstreit writes about leaving Trotwood.

His parents finalized their divorce and that led to a life spiral where there was very little family structure. Herbstreit’s father, Jim, who was an Ohio State football co-captain and a friend of Woody and Bo, wasn’t exactly the perfect father. Kirk writes about how his sister, Teri, became his rock. He writes about how his brother John played the role of older brother who was his protector. Mom was busy trying to sell cars or working as a secretary.

When we see Kirk Herbstreit on TV, the typical response is that he has the perfect hair, the perfect look, the perfect family, the perfect life. It turns out, like many of us, there are many skeletons in the closet. We’re talking very deep personal stuff he shares about his childhood.

The theme I keep coming back to is perseverance. There was some serious big boy stuff thrown at the guy at an early age and yet he found a way out. He figured out a path to go from an 8th-grade offensive lineman to an Ohio State recruit in a matter of three years.

It’s a powerful story that I think you guys would really enjoy.

• Guys, I’m out tonight on TNML. The armyworm situation is getting worse. I sprayed last night to hopefully stop the flow of the caterpillars from the backyard to the front, but I’m supposed to avoid mowing for at least 24 hours to let the spray do its thing. It’s going to cost me a league night in the process. I know, I know…you think I’m avoiding mowing so I can go down to the neighbor’s house for a Buckeyes patio party. The plan was to mow then patio party. Now I’ll be busy spraying the rest of the yard for these damn things before they butcher my grass.

• Ross in Salem, OH writes:

I cannot believe how fast Army Worms have become a thing! I didn’t know what they were either until this past Sunday. Attached is a picture of one of our soccer fields that was completely redone last fall. This field was immaculate and lush 1 week prior to this photo being taken. It’s now unplayable and needs to be replanted after they kill the little bastards. The local lawncare business owners that were generous enough to donate their time to redo this field last fall said they only eat new and young grass. It appears true as the hillside and old grass surrounding the field has remained untouched, they are now destroying the new outfield on the baseball diamond next to this field. This will not stand! Hopefully a cold winter kills them off.
Keep up the good work Joe. I look forward to the Screencaps every day and was in on the TNML very early with the T-shirt to prove it.

• Why is Screencaps so late this morning? Instagram was down earlier. Couldn’t get the pages to load, couldn’t embed, couldn’t do anything.

• OutKick copy editor Cortney Wilmering is officially in on the Gauntlet:

It was Gauntlet Draft Night for my family and me last night! I emceed the virtual event. Though I ultimately didn’t end up landing the Packers, I do have the Raiders, Ravens, Patriots, and Dolphins. So I don’t think I did too badly. I have a sure win a week from Monday since the Raiders and Ravens face off against one another. G’head and put one on the board for the good guys.

• Don’t forget, the OutKick crew will be in Knoxville all day today for the Bowling Green-Tennessee game. I have to assume Clay will be showing off the tailgate bus he’ll be riding around in all fall going to all the big SEC games.

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. I love and crave books like Herbstreit’s. However, it’s a no go for me. He’s on a pretty long list of people who have ruined sports in many ways for me. Last year he came on Game Day and CRIED. Why? A rapist and serial criminal was shot by police. He said white people have to do better, ad nauseum. So it’s a hard pass from me.

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