Saturday, August 24, 2013
As a razor hummed at the Hair Perfectionists salon Saturday afternoon, nearly 20 young men buzzed with excitement and laughter about a surprise well-underway.
"It's definitely going to be a shocker," Bryson Turner said.
The players of the Wichita Warriors, a Christian-based football program for home-schooled young people, took turns getting in a swivel chair.
Hairdresser Kim Le helped give each player their desired makeover: a shaved head.
"You look super old! It's like another you!," one player joked to another.
The players had decided to shave their heads as a surprise show of support for their coach, Bill Turner, who was diagnosed with stage three-throat cancer last month even though he doesn't smoke or chew tobacco.
Turner, 49, finished his first round of chemotherapy Monday. While doctors say the prognosis for a full-recovery is good, Turner says he knows he has a long road ahead. That road includes at least two more rounds of chemotherapy and then radiation treatment.
He works as a safety specialist for NuStar Energy but he's coached football and basketball for 29 years.
The Warriors are a brand-new team that started last year with Turner at the helm.
Turner's son, Bryson, who is also a player on the team, came up with the plan for the surprise. Team captain, Jacob Reese, then put the plan in motion.
"All of (the players) were like, 'OK, let's do it!'" Reese said.
Kim Le donate her shop and her time to help make it all come together for the players and their coach.
"It's just cool knowing that they feel this close to my dad also that they would be willing to do this," Bryson Turner said.
After all the players had sat in Kim Le's chair and had their heads shaved, Bryson called his dad and said he needed to be picked up. The teammates then all filed into a back room to hide.
Minutes later Coach Turner walked through the shop's front door with his wife and one of his sons. The players came back into the salon together to reveal the surprise.
"Oh, Wow," Coach Turner said as he grew emotional, wiping his eyes.
Reece came forward to hug his coach.
"We just wanted to come and shave our heads for you coach to show you that we love you and appreciate you and everything you do for us," Reece said.
Already overwhelmed by the love shown by his players, there was one last surprise: Coach Turner could have his head shaved, too.
Turner took his spot in the swivel chair as Kim Le shaved away his hair and his players clapped.
"These kids are just great kids, great young men," Coach Turner said. "I'm just pretty amazed by them."
He says he's amazed by their athletic talents but more importantly by their character, their togetherness, and their family bond.
"We break every huddle as family," Coach Turner said. "Regardless of how the season goes this year, it's already been a winning season for me."
The Warriors play their first game of the season next Friday in Topeka against Cair Paraval Latin School.