In that the Greenwave coaches and players are mere mortals with mortal flaws (sometimes good for a 15-yard flag or two) rivals have regularly taken wry pokes at the carefully cultivated image. Clintwood is “The Golden Child” – the team that can do no wrong. It makes for good bulletin board material.
Don't expect Gavan Meade to diverge from the Greenwave stereotype. He's an heir to both the program ideals and extremely athletic genetics. He's more earnest Captain America than wisecracking Iron Man. That's just how he naturally is: a rugged Boy Scout who will run right over top of you on his way to the end zone.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior running back led Clintwood to the 2011 Group A, Division 1 state title with 1,870 yards. He has nearly 1,700 yards headed into the opening round of the playoffs after gaining 190 yards and scoring three touchdowns in Friday's regular-season finale at Gate City.
George Thwaites recently caught up with Gavan for a short Q&A session. Here's what he had to say:
Who is your favorite athlete, past or present, and why?
It would be my brother, Trey. He's a receiver at Virginia-Wise. He's fast, he's strong, he can do anything the coaches ask him. Any time I ever need anything or somebody to talk to, he's always there.
What is your favorite movie, and why?
“Any Given Sunday.” It's about a football team that nobody thought much would come of them. And their coach was very inspirational.
What is your best athletic memory?
I guess it was when I hurdled that guy from Grundy (this year) and went on to score a touchdown. It was something I always wanted to do and I never thought I'd get the chance. It got called back, though. I didn't even knew they'd passed a rule against it until after I asked the ref why it got called back . He said it was a safety hazard. I guess I can see why. When my Uncle Brandon played, he hurdled somebody and ended up breaking his collarbone.
Your worst athletic memory?
I guess it was against Hazard last year. On my first or second carry of the year. I got hit low and broke my leg. The doctor described the fracture like when you hit a board with a hammer and it leaves a little indentation. I went ahead and played on it. It hurt for the second and third games but after that I got a brace and it didn't bother me after that.
In a movie about your life, who would play you?
Chuck Liddell, the MMA fighter.
If you were hosting a dinner party, who would be your three ideal guests?
I would have to pick my brother, Trey. And my mom and dad.
If you could have one superpower, which would you choose?
Super strength. I enjoy being strong. I would pick speed, but if I was that strong I could just run and push everybody down along the way. I wouldn't have to outrun everybody.
Do you have any superstitions or pregame rituals?
Not really. I've never been a superstitious guy. I think whatever God has planned for us, that's what will happen. I just listen to music and think about the game.
Do you have a nickname?
Most of my friends call me “Mini Pump.” I don't even remember why. Ever since I can remember, that's what they've always called me.
What is your favorite non-sports activity?
I like hanging out with all my friends and my girlfriend. And just having fun with my family. I like to hunt and fish. I especially like deer hunting.
Has football cut into your deer hunting?
One of the things about football is that it takes a lot of time and effort. But I wouldn't change it for anything. Most of the time on Saturdays, I can get out of bed to go hunting if I'm not too sore. I didn't go this morning, even though it was the opening day of muzzleloader. But I went this evening for a little while.
Did you see anything?
I saw three does.