It’s been almost 60 years since former Longhorn kicker Fred Bednarski became the first player in NCAA history to kick a field goal soccer style. Since then, kicking soccer style has become the norm and Fred’s revolutionary kick has largely been lost to history, until now.
But that is only part of his amazing story.
Fred is the closest thing to a real life Forrest Gump that you’ll find, having occupied a front row seat to some of the 20th century’s most memorable touchstones.
The Kicker is the culmination of years of work, including persuading Fred to tell his story. This humble man, scarred by time in a Nazi concentration camp, raised on a Texas dairy farm, and engaged in an event that marked a turning point in America’s racial history, finally agreed as a way to celebrate his love for America.
The motto for the University of Texas is quite fitting for the man who changed the way footballs were kicked. However, given the lack of press attention for Texas football in the late 1950s, Fred’s kick was not much more than a small blurb in Sports Illustrated.
Due in large part to the lack of press, many would argue that Pete Gogolak beat Fred to the soccer-style punch, but he was actually following in the footsteps of this Polish immigrant who would forgo an opportunity to play in the NFL and leave football behind to serve his country in the Army.
Fred is profoundly grateful for the opportunity he had to attend and play football for the University of Texas and he wants the world to know that his kick is just another example of What Started Here Changing the World.
To this day, Fred doesn’t seek the spotlight and cares far more about shining the light on three key values that matter much more to him than a play on a long-ago football field:
Grateful to a nation whose Army liberated him from a Nazi prison camp then offered him sanctuary from Russian-occupied Poland and a chance to pursue his dreams, Fred passed up a chance to play with the Baltimore Colts to serve his country in the same uniform of the fighting force that liberated his family in 1945.
Fred’s family endured war and imprisonment, guided by an abiding faith in God, instilled and modeled by his father. In the darkest of times, Fred has found comfort and inspiration in his faith and worked to honor God at every step along the way.
Having seen the world through the barbed wire of a Nazi prison camp and the dangers of post-war Poland, Fred embraced the freedom that forms the foundation of the United States and worked to defend it.
Having lived a life grounded in these values, Fred is hopeful that sharing his story will inspire others to reflect on their own core values and spark a renaissance of the values that made this country the greatest in the world.
Summary: The Kicker is a feature length documentary currently in production
Director: Jon DaSilva
Distribution: To Be Determined