Oklahoma Panhandle State University senior football player Tony Redmond, who graduated from Kingwood High School – along with a young Aggies’ fan – have unwittingly become social media sensations on the university’s athletics’ social media sites.
While maybe not “viral” by most standards, the image of Redmond hand-slapping the young boy as he took the field for a recent game had nearly 72,000 reaches across the athletic department’s three main platforms in less than two days.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 19, the image had more than 52,600 reaches on Facebook, 19,000 on Twitter and more than 200 likes via Instagram. While the Panhandle State Athletic Department has good follower numbers for a school of around 1,200 students – the Aggies have 4,890 Facebook followers and 2,931 on Twitter – the meme has far exceeded the athletic department’s base.
The entire confluence of circumstances that produced the image would not have been possible without the close, family-like atmosphere that permeates the campus located in Oklahoma’s panhandle region.
The young man in the photo is Tenyon, the youngest son of David and Danae Moore of Goodwell, both OPSU alumni. The Moores were at the game for the University’s “Senior Day” recognitions, acting as surrogate parents for Erika Chartrand – the school’s spirit rider (who rides her horse across the field after each touchdown) – who hails from Quebec, Canada and was not able to have her family attend. The Moores have been Chartrand’s “American Family” during her time at Panhandle State.
Tenyon begged his mom to go over to greet the football players as they walked in to the stadium. Danae then captured the moment with her own camera, but never intended it for anything but sharing with family and friends. One of those friends happened to be a member of the OPSU sports information staff and asked for permission to share it because he saw a “great message for all athletes.”
“It wasn’t a photo taken for a purpose other than sharing within our family circle,” Moore explained. “But when I was asked permission to use it to perhaps inspire others, I was glad to see it could be shared in a positive way and to show what Panhandle State is all about.”