There was a time when you would only see the words “football players” and “bullying” together in a sentence if the football players were the ones doing the bullying. There has been a much greater cultural awareness of the long-term harm that bullying can cause in recent years, however. Now, in the small New Mexico town of Hobbs, it’s the football players that are taking a stand against bullying.
The group calls itself the Eagle Buddies. The name is based on the team name that all Hobbs High School athletic organizations share, the Eagles. Co-founders Chris Kuykendall and Brevin Young play for the Hobbs football team, and the organization came into existence when Kuykendall happened to hear about a five year old student being bullied at school.
Kuykendall began to eat lunch with the young student to give him peace of mind and an older friend to talk to. Brevin got on board shortly afterward, and soon the two were linking many members of the high school athletic programs with kids who were having a hard time at school due to bullying and harassment.
Though their good deed was done out of simple kindness and sympathy, the Eagle Buddies have gone on to be rewarded for it and to inspire the nation with their story. They received customized letterman jackets from the school, Quiznos gifted them $5,000 to help them treat even more bullied kids to lunch, and they were flown out to New York to appear on the Meredith Viera show to talk about the program.
The Eagle Buddies have since set up a Facebook page to help other schools across the nation set up similar programs.