Chris Espenshade : The Keeper : Essay : September 2019

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was engaged in Mississippi; did not work out. I was married in Jacksonville, Florida; did not work out, except for a great son. I was married in Wrightsville Beach; we are coming up on our 26th anniversary.

The Keeper

He had played goalie or keeper in high school.  The keeper takes charge of protecting his territory, repeating the mantra “not in my house.”  The keeper leads the defense to stop the shooter from succeeding.  When the high cross comes into the box, the keeper cannot and does not shy away, but instead moves toward the danger, punching away the attempt.  The keeper knows he or she may be bruised or bloodied, but they have made a commitment to others.

I like to think that Riley Howell instinctively screamed “keeper” as he threw himself at the UNC-Charlotte shooter, as he led in defense.  The selfless hero, thinking only of others, thwarted the selfish shooter, thinking only of himself. This was the most important save Riley was to make in his cruelly truncated life.

That Riley Howell, he’s a keeper.