• Fort Osage 'family' helps homeless player deal with tough situation

  • Chris Creacy is living a childhood dream in what many would consider a nightmarish reality.

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  • Chris Creacy is living a childhood dream in what many would consider a nightmarish reality.
    Like many 17-year-old high school football players, he joins his teammates at the local hamburger joint, grabs a quick bite to eat and relives the moments associated with Friday night under the lights at Fort Osage High School.
    Yet, when his teammates make their way home, Creacy has to find a ride to the Salvation Army shelter on Truman Road, where he and his three older brothers have lived since September.
    And if that moment of stark reality isn't enough to make you thank your lucky stars for all that is good in your life, they have to find a new place to live at the end of December, because families are only allowed to occupy the shelter for four months.
    But at this glorious time in his life, that problem is not going to serve as a distraction. Creacy can't afford distractions because he is doing his best to help Fort Osage win the first state championship in school history.
    “Football is my life, and my teammates are my family,” said Creacy, who has a smile that lights up a room and an outlook on life that defies the odds he and his brothers face daily.
    “Since I was a little kid, I dreamed of playing high school football. And when I was really young, I'd close my eyes and see myself playing college ball or in the NFL, so I'm going to enjoy every moment of this season.
    “I'm not going to let anything distract me. My friends ask me where my brothers and I are going to live after time runs out at the Salvation Army, and we don't know. But we do know that we'll find a place somewhere.
    “Right now, all I'm thinking about is how to beat Kirkwood Friday night.”
    Creacy, a senior wide receiver, and his Indian teammates travel to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis to face Kirkwood in the Class 5 Show-Me Bowl state championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
    “Back when Fort Osage wasn't very good, they beat Hickman Mills to end that (19-game) losing streak,” Creacy said. “At the time, I would have gone to Hickman Mills High School. Now, I'm going be a member of a team that is playing for the state championship. Moving to Fort Osage was one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
    When he was a freshman, he and his brothers lived in a Salvation Army shelter because their father left when Chris was just 5 years old. Today, he and Creacy’s mom are no longer a part of the family.
    “We lived with Mom when I was a sophomore and some of my junior year, and it was so nice to be a part of a family,” Creacy said as matter-of-factly as if he were reeling off the items on a grocery list. “Then, my senior year we didn't have any place to live. So we went back to the Salvation Army, and they are really good to us. My brothers are 21, 20 and 18. We all work around the Salvation Army, do chores, things like that.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It's our home. We all live in a dorm room, and we have some privacy and our own beds. Would I rather be in a home with my mom and brothers? Sure I would, but I know that's probably never going to happen, so I'm going to make the best of this situation.
    “And besides, it's like I told you earlier, I'm living a dream because I might be on a state championship team.”
    Indians coach Ryan Schartz and his staff are aware of Creacy's situation. So are his teammates and many of his classmates.
    “Chris is as positive a kid as I've ever been around,” said Schartz, who has driven Creacy home after practice. “You could never tell he's dealing with a very difficult family situation. He is always smiling, a fun kid to be around. The guys on the team really like him.”
    And Creacy loves his teammates.
    “I wouldn't be as positive without my teammates,” Creacy admits. “Some friends help me pay my cell phone bill. And friends and relatives help me get to school and get to places after our games.
    “My brothers and I don't own a car, but we get by because of friends.”
    One of those friends is Fort Osage senior quarterback Steven McBee.
    “I sit next to Chris in English, and we talk about football and all kinds of stuff,” McBee said. “I didn't know about his home life until just recently, and he's really open when he talks about it. We talk about how he gets by, and he talks about God and the Bible and how much he loves playing football.
    “I am so lucky to have a great home life. I don't know how I would react if I went through all the things he has gone through. He's really an inspiration to me and everyone else who knows him.”
    Creacy has never shied away from adversity – at home, or in the classroom. The likeable wide receiver isn't an academic all-star, but he finds a way to get by.
    “School is tough, but I work hard to make decent grades so I can play football and get to college,” Creacy said. “I dream about winning a state championship and I dream about going to Northwest Missouri State University.
    “I can't afford college, but I hope to get an American Dream Grant to help pay my way. If that doesn't happen, I don't know. In about a month, I don't know where my brothers and I are going to live.
    “But God has provided for us, and I can't worry about that now. I have a state championship football game to prepare for. And right now, that's all I care about. I want to find out if dreams come true.”

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