TEMPE, Ariz. — When Missy Murray seems at her son Kyler, she would not simply see the 23-year-old quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals or the boy who wished to play Uno after huge wins or the kid who color-coded his toys.
She sees her father, Grasp Sgt. Carl W. Henderson Jr.
Kyler by no means met his grandfather, who died in 1989 after spending greater than 35 years in each the Navy and Military, however Missy has saved Henderson’s legacy alive by means of tales and reminders — loads of reminders — that she sees her father in Kyler.
“Kyler is a lot like my father that generally I simply do a 360 as a result of he’ll say issues like my father, he talks like my father,” Missy stated.
“It simply blows me away, that I inform Kyler on a regular basis, I am like, ‘You aren’t my father,’ as a result of he talks similar to him, his persona, it is simply unbelievable.”
On Sunday in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams, Kyler honored his grandfather with a pair of customized Nike cleats that supported the Name of Obligation Endowment — a charity created by the favored online game that “helps veterans safe high-quality jobs after their navy service” — throughout Arizona’s My Trigger, My Cleats sport. The cleats, designed by Dominic Ciambrone aka “The Shoe Surgeon,” honored Henderson’s time within the navy by portray them varied shades of purple, together with purple camouflage, in recognition of the Purple Coronary heart that Henderson was awarded.
The sneakers additionally represented a connection between a grandson, his mom and his grandfather.
On the again of the left shoe is “finest buddy,” and on the again of the proper is “grandfather,” each in Korean, a nod to Missy’s Korean heritage — her mom was Korean, making Kyler one-quarter Korean — and the bond between mom and son.
“I simply attempt to absorb every little thing she tells me about him,” Kyler stated. “Clearly, we do not speak about him each day and stuff like that however simply, each time she sees one thing in me that he would say or do, she at all times lets me know.”
And there is a lot that Kyler does to remind Missy of her father.
The 2 share a demeanor, a lifestyle, a ardour for board video games, a dedication to self-discipline, a thirst for information and the presence of thoughts to assume earlier than appearing.
“She says we’re one in the identical,” Kyler stated. “She stated me and him are anal about issues. Like issues a sure means. Very strict on sure issues. I am not as strict as he’s, clearly, him being a guardian, having two daughters, I can solely think about.”
Missy described Kyler as an “undercover nerd” — a trait he will get from his grandfather.
Across the time she was 6 and seven, Missy would play Scrabble twice every week together with her father, who turned it right into a instructing software. He would play phrases that his children had by no means heard of — particularly three-letter phrases — and he’d counsel they problem him so he may learn them the definitions.
“My dad was all about studying new phrases, studying, simply with the ability to converse intelligently and eloquently and articulate,” Missy stated. “I feel that each one handed all the way down to generations since you take a look at Kyler on an interview, you assume he is been doing all of it his life. It blows me means that he is so calm. However that is as a result of he thinks earlier than he speaks.”
Like his grandfather, Kyler likes board video games. At all times has, especially chess. When he would come dwelling after huge wins when he was youthful, Kyler would take a few half-hour to recover from the joy and ask his mother to play Uno.
“I love to do these issues,” Kyler stated. “You do not actually see quite a lot of children that sit down and simply take pleasure in board video games and stuff like that anymore.”
Kyler has at all times had stability, Missy stated. He by no means will get too excessive, nor does he get too low. And he additionally inherited his grandfather’s military-like self-discipline, each in how he approaches soccer and the way he may be off the sector. He has at all times been attentive with regards to following path, however he additionally palms out instruction like a drill sergeant, Missy stated.
And Kyler pays shut consideration to particulars, Missy stated. As a baby, he organized his toys by colour, and as he grew up, he color-coded “every little thing,” she stated.
“I inform individuals on a regular basis, my dad was such a perfectionist,” Missy stated. “I am unsure that me and my brother handed the bar, but when he was alive immediately, Kyler is the prototypical child that my dad would have wished to boost as a result of he does every little thing proper. He by no means goes left. He goes proper.”
And similar to his grandfather, who would go the household’s encyclopedia set of to both show his level or present his children the place he was coming from, Kyler additionally does his analysis.
Qhen his mother and father had been beginning to give Kyler’s canine, Swoosh, turkey after Thanksgiving, Kyler googled whether or not it was secure for canines.
“He is all about giving the foundations and ensuring the canine is following his instructions, and I simply crack up,” Missy stated. “There’s that self-discipline in him that he even needs a canine to do issues proper.
“These are the issues that crack me up about him and make me consider my father on a regular basis — the disciplinarian and giving us the orders and following orders by the T.
“It is made him who he’s.”
It is made him one of the vital thrilling gamers within the NFL, which comes with some perks. Murray and his father known as the customized cleats Kyler wore on Sunday the “baddest” they’ve ever seen.
Henderson wasn’t a soccer fan till he moved his household to Texas within the Seventies. Then, he grew to become a “loopy Dallas Cowboys fan,” Missy stated. He’d be a Cardinals fan immediately if he had been nonetheless round, watching his grandson turn out to be one of many NFL’s most dynamic gamers.
When Kyler first noticed the cleats final Tuesday within the kitchen of his Scottsdale rental, he was, for a second, speechless.
“Aw, rattling,” he stated, earlier than a smile crept throughout his face.
As Kyler held them, turned them, checked out each design, absorbing each element, Missy introduced up yet one more reminder: It was his grandfather’s birthday.
He would’ve been 100.
“Her being my finest buddy, I wished to do that for her,” Kyler stated of his mom. “It is unlucky that I by no means obtained to satisfy him, however her saying that we’re a lot alike, I feel it is becoming to have the ability to symbolize him, honor him.”