David Dean was an adorable child and quite an athlete, even at three-and-a-half years old. He had a charming demeanor about him and easily won your admiration. He knew no strangers. he was a truly delightful kid.
One summer June day in 1967 at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp at Black Mountain, N.C., he was running around on the heels of his dad who was coordinating the Dogpatch Olympics that week.
As Coach Ray Dean, the football coach at Sylvan High School in Atlanta, would go from field to field observing the different events shielded by those picturesque, tall and stately trees, David was bouncing along with him.
Meanwhile, Gary Warner, associate editor of The Christian Athlete magazine, was roaming around the Dogpatch course of events with his Minolta 35 mm camera snapping pictures for FCA’s publication needs. Like most days at Black Mountain, the sun was shining brightly. The mountain air always exhilarated energy in every human spirit. The awe-inspiring surroundings caused every soul to come alive. Just being there placed one on a heavenly high.
“I saw this little guy so playful running around wearing a football jersey and at first it occurred to me that he might be disrupting a Huddle session that was in progress,” Warner remembers. “While some Huddles were in athletic competition, others were in Huddle discussions awaiting their competition time. So I thought that I should quiet this young fellow down when the thought came to me about taking his picture.
“So I went over to him and asked him to pose for a few pictures. I posed him in a number of ways. Some were of him sitting down. I do remember putting that football under his arm and having him stand with his back to the camera looking over at a Huddle group in session. He was very cooperative. At the time, I certainly didn’t think that much about the shots. It was just a spontaneous thing that happened. However, I still remember the location of the picture being on the first field off the road that goes down the hill to the competition area,” Warner recalls.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Bette Dean says she remembers Warner telling her a short while later as the Dogpatch concluded, “Mrs. Dean, I got the most wonderful picture of your son today while the Huddles were in session.”
Indeed, Warner did and even though for several years it was used only sparingly, the photograph taken that day later became a trademark signifying the powerful meaning of “influence” that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has demonstrated for 40 (now 60) years.
– From Wayne Atcheson’s book, “Impact for Christ: How FCA Has Influenced the Sports World.”
Note: David Dean has grown up to have plenty of influence on others through sports. The head football coach at Valdosta State University, David has won two national championships with the Blazers. He continues to be active in FCA.