‘Gridiron Gang’ Compassion

Car thieves, thugs, drug dealers.

Those are labels passed down on youthful offenders with whom Duane Diffie worked. Labels passed down by the court system and easily adopted by most of the world to excuse itself from caring.

But Diffie has another name for them  “kids.”

Diffie, who played basketball and baseball at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, was one of the driving forces behind the athletic program at Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu, Calif. The camp for juvenile offenders is the basis for the new movie “Gridiron Gang.”

You won’t find Diffie portrayed in the movie and that’s OK with the camp’s former athletic director. It is enough to know he made a difference in reality.

“These kids are just so needy,” Diffie said. “They are hungry for any positive male role model.”

After two years at Orange Coast Junior College, Diffie and high school friend Keith Arledge made their way to OBU, where Diffie played baseball and was a member of OBU’s 1973 NAIA quarterfinalist basketball team.

“I didn’t care much for the Oklahoma weather, but the people were phenomenal,” said the Southern Californian. “It was great fun. I remember hanging out at the Town Talk Caf