Chris Hall played ball when he was in the second grade. Back then, at the end of each game, he'd cry.
His teammates were fine, drinking from juice boxes and eating crackers. But Hall couldn't let the game he loved go.
Barbie Hall watched from afar while Chris habitually sobbed by himself against the fence. It became so worrisome to her that she sought help from a high-school coach.
“Look, my son cries after every single game,” Barbie said. “What can I do?”
“Leave him alone,” the coach said. “He'll focus it on the field. When it's all said and done, those other kids won't even be playing in high school.”
Ten years have passed since Barbie Hall was put at ease, and her son not only plays high school football, he led Tulsa Union to the 2011 state title and verbally committed to play college football at the University of Tulsa. His performance earned him the No. 29 spot on The Oklahoman's Super 30.
Barbie said her son's determination and discipline are the reasons he's become an outstanding young man and football player.
“Everything that he has gotten he did on his own,” she said. “Nobody made him stay in the gym late.”
When Chris first stepped in front of Union coach Kirk Fridrich and his staff as sophomore, he said he played defensive end and wide receiver. Fridrich watched Chris practice at each position for two days before he decided to permanently stick Chris on the offensive side of the ball.
“We kind of laugh about that now,” Fridrich said. “I think it's worked out pretty well for him.”
Standing 6-feet and weighing 235 pounds, Chris plays the H-back position and is asked to perform a number of tasks for Union's offense.
He doesn't scoff at having to play more than one position. In fact, he relishes his role on the team.
“I do whatever I can,” Chris said. “Block, catch — do whatever I need to do, the tough things.”
Fridrich asks Chris to shoulder so much responsibility because Union's offense becomes more dynamic when he's is on the field. The offense can seamlessly switch formations and not have to worry about subbing personnel.
“We feel like he creates some mismatch problems for guys who are trying to play him with an outside backer or even a safety, because he can stretch the field as a receiver,” Fridrich said. “But also he's big enough to come in and block linebackers.”
Chris is willing to take on blockers and act as a decoy in passing formations, because, just like that second-grade kid Barbie remembers, he just wants to play.
“I've been blessed with the son I have,” Barbie said. “He found something he loved when he was little, and it just grew.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
Every day for the next month, The Oklahoman's high school sports staff will bring you a feature story on one of the state's top football prospects, counting down from No. 30 to No. 1 on our Super 30 recruit rankings. It began on Saturday with No. 30 Trevan Smith of Edmond Santa Fe and will end on July 22 with the state's No. 1 college prospect. Sunday's featured player is No. 29 Chris Hall of Tulsa Union. Check back every day to see who's next on the list.
No. 29: Chris Hall
School: Tulsa Union