Thursday, September 20, 2007

MK Quarterback

Quarterback brings a world view to Boswell
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

As a boy, Saginaw Boswell quarterback Daniel Harrist wasn't planted in front of a TV playing video games.
He raised a cockatoo in an Indonesian jungle.
Harrist, a 17-year-old senior, spent most of his childhood overseas in Indonesia, Laos and Thailand. His parents were Christian missionaries, and his father was a pilot for Mission Aviation Fellowship.
"The people over there have a different lifestyle," said Harrist, who completed 13 of 19 passes for 308 yards in Friday's 42-23 win over Alvarado. "It makes you count your blessings. Over there, a lot of families don't have their next meal guaranteed. People over here get mad about their cable going out."
Harrist had just turned 5 when his family moved to Indonesia. The Harrists lived there until Daniel was 8. After sixth grade in America, they moved to Laos, but Daniel attended a boarding school in Thailand.
Their religion didn't put them in danger, but made safety a factor. Daniel said Christians couldn't be vocal in some areas, but were accepted in others. Julie Harrist, Daniel's mother, never worried about it.

She remembered how her son could run around barefoot in Indonesia. She laughed when recalling a visit to see Daniel in Thailand, where he would hang off the back of trucks used as mass transit. He didn't know the language, but had no problems exploring.
"He was very independent, and I was proud of him," Julie said. "He was in a boarding school with 16 others, all of them with different nationalities. He has a well-rounded view of the world."
Football wasn't available. Daniel threw a ball with his father, and received videotapes of Denver Broncos games from an uncle who lived in the Mile High city. While at boarding school, he played pickup games with other students.
"The only time I got to watch football was when the Patriots and Eagles played in the Super Bowl" Daniel said. "I remember I had to wake up at 6 a.m., because of the time difference."

Daniel and his family returned to America before his sophmore year, just before two-a-days began at Boswell.
Teammates thought he was a freshman. He was introduced to the team. Soon after, teammates nicknamed him "Thailand."
"When we have meetings, what he's got to say is very meaningful," Boswell coach John Abendschan said. "But he's not a loud guy."
Harrist had to play catch-up in learning the game, and started on the Pioneers' sophomore team. Abendschan remembers seeing him play for the first time, and how on the first series, he scrambled and ran to the corner of the end zone. With his body diving out of bounds, Harrist knew to still keep his arm in over the pylon.
"I have so much fun," Daniel said. "Everyone gets upset about going out to practice, but I was psyched I got to play football."
Trae Thompson, 817-685-3866

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