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Athlete hopes his message isn’t lost

– He’s 6-foot-6 and plays soccer at a place where soccer means something, so maybe there are assumptions at work here. Maybe, with Patrick T’Kindt, there are notions that don’t feel like notions at all, but lead-pipe cinches.

For instance: Maybe you look at him and think kids bullying other kids flies below his radar.

Maybe you look at him – a junior goalkeeper at Carroll, who has played every position since the game got its hooks in him when he was 5 – and think the dark things that sometimes float beneath the surface of the everyday high school experience never invade his athlete’s bubble. They happen, sure. They’re real. But Homestead’s on the schedule next, or Canterbury, or Bishop Luers. Who has time to notice?

Well. You may deposit all of those assumptions, all of those notions, right here. And don’t forget to flush.

Don’t forget, because if Patrick T’Kindt loves his soccer (“You need your whole team in order to score. I like that,” he says), it is not his only love. He’s also into film. Last year he took a film class at Carroll, and now he says he intends to pursue a career in the film industry. And so when he and fellow Carroll student Brett Peters attended a national leadership meeting in Indianapolis last November, they were immediately captivated when a group representing the No Bull Challenge presented an opportunity for students to enter an anti-bullying video competition.

T’Kindt and Peters jumped at it.

“It’s funny,” T’Kindt says. “On the ride home on the bus, we started the planning of the video.”

What they ended up with was a short film called “Lost Hope,” and it does not have a happy ending. It’s about a high school student who’s relentlessly bullied, until in the end he takes his own life. The message, T’Kindt says, is that bullying is a serious matter.

“That’s the reason for the harsh ending,” he says. “Bad things can happen.”

And, for pointing that out, good things happened. In June, T’Kindt and Peters learned that “Lost Hope” had been named a Great American No Bull Video Contest finalist; they’ll be going to Los Angeles to attend the Teen Video Award Show, where the winning film will be announced Aug. 10.

Carroll soccer will make that trip to, in a sense. T’Kindt recruited “probably three” of his teammates to be in the video, and Adam Gannon, a junior midfielder, plays the bullying victim. Turns out they’re all far more aware of the problem than you might think; T’Kindt, for one, says he’s been subject to bullying himself, and he sees it in the hallways, too.

“Not, like, huge, but, yeah, I’ve seen some minor bullying,” he says. “And I’ve been bullied every now and then, but it hasn’t been a major issue. You just see it every now and then – but the problem is, I know it happens a lot more online.”

And so, “Lost Hope.” And so, a trip to L.A. for a 6-6 goalkeeper and budding filmmaker. And so, goodbye to all those assumptions about the athletic bubble and what does or does not penetrate it.

“We wanted to send a message that bullying has major consequences,” T’Kindt says.

And a few other messages as well.

Ben Smith has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1986. His columns appear four times a week. He can be reached by email at bensmith@jg.net; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648.

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