Shane and Christina Decker and their children typify the all-American family, with a full plate of activities evolving around sports.
Friday nights are in full swing at the Grayson County High School football stadium. Shane Decker is the assistant football coach on the field, and in the press box his son Kaylor is the color guy, using his knowledge from his high school years when he played on the team.
Shane's wife, Christina, and their two other children, Averi and Karver, are in the stands.
At evening volleyball games, the roles are flipped. In the Grayson County High School gym, Christina is a volunteer logging the books, while Averi is on the court, Shane is making popcorn in the concession stands, and Kaylor and Karver cheer on from their seats.
The Deckers are an all-American small-town family that, like so many others, is rooted in sports.
Families ebb and flow, with daily ups and downs, and the Deckers are no exception. When asked how to describe their family, “I can give you two words,” says Kaylor. “Organized chaos.”
Often what holds people together are the bonds shared with others, especially with family. In the Decker family, Christina helps keep the family organized, and her plate is full. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a Caneyville Elementary teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities.
Kaylor is a first-year student studying sports psychology at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Averi is a sophomore at Grayson County High School who plays on the volleyball team. And Karver is in sixth grade at Grayson County Middle School and is a member of the baseball team.
“Mom and dad always supported me with football and school, and they pushed me. But at the same time, I felt that it was my responsibility,” Kaylor says. “They gave me those opportunities.”
A time the Decker family really came together for each other was in July of 2017, when Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Stage 3 lobular carcinoma that had metastasized to 19 lymph nodes. She went through stages of chemo and radiation therapy and underwent a mastectomy.
“They are the reason that when I got diagnosed with breast cancer that I could fight it,” Christina says. “They learned to do laundry, they learned to take care of themselves. They learned to persevere through bad experiences. So that really is a big deal for me that they were there.”
The Decker family also got support from the Grayson County athletic community. The football and volleyball teams did fundraisers, the football team wore pink for a game, and the volleyball team conducted a "Volley for a Cure" night.
“We weren't going to go ask for it," Christina says. "That's just not our nature to be like, ‘Hey, we need help with this’ or whatever. It was just, ‘we'll figure it out on our own’ and, you know, ‘we'll get it done’ and then we learned sometimes not everything you can do on your own. You have to have support from from people and help from people to get through that stuff.”
Being supported by the community during Christina's health issue has motivated the Decker family to reciprocate.
“It's a small town and that makes you appreciate it more when things like that happen," she says. "And I'm not the only person that that has happened for. If something comes up, a tragedy or an illness for a person, you'll see that all of a sudden the community will come together, and they'll come together in a big way to help anybody out that they can.”
“It just makes you feel loved and supported,” Christina continues. “It makes you value your small town just a little bit more. Sometimes you don't always feel like living in a small town is the greatest thing, but it can be.”