David Sloan headshot

David Sloan

Lane High School

I remember playing a tackle football game at Belmont Park against all the Black kids from Ridge Street, and we had cleats, and they had tennis shoes.  Most of us had cleats, not all of us.  In fact, a couple of kids on the Belmont team -- and we were probably ten years old.  And it was a great football game.  I remember that game distinctly.  And they were amazed that we had cleats, and a couple of kids even had the old Johnny U high-top cleats, you know, and they referred to ’em as combat boots, essentially.  So we were very aware that we were white and they weren’t, but my mother, to give you an example, knew that many of the Black kids on our Lane High School football team did not have the luxury of taking a soaking wet uniform from an early morning practice in August, of taking that to the laundromat.  It wasn’t going to happen.  So she made me pack ’em up in a mesh bag, and I would bring, like, eight uniforms home, plus mine, for her to wash between practices.  And so I’d like to think that despite my dad being a police officer, and being from Franklin County, I’d like to think that that’s where athletics bridged the gap, for me, plus having parents that had their generational thoughts, their generational grudges, whatever they’re called, but didn’t let it interfere with me growing up with that in my heart.