October 14, 2010
Last month, Snohomish (Wash.) High's Ike Ditzenberger scored the biggest touchdown of his life. Now, he's lining up dates with homecoming princesses, preparing for interviews with "Dateline NBC" and pondering a Hollywood future for his story. Really.
According to the Seattle Times, Ditzenberger has been inundated with media requests and interest since video of the Ike Special touchdown first appeared on YouTube, Prep Rally and a host of other blogs and websites last month. You can actually see a new "director's cut" of the play, which includes angles from game film provided by both coaching staffs, above. Last week, with Snohomish hosting its annual homecoming game and dance, Ditzenberger was a celebrity, riding on the back of a town fire truck for the team's homecoming parade.
Later, after cheering his teammates to a 21-17 win over heated school rival Marysville-Pilchuck -- a victory which included a special touchdown celebration between Ditzenberger and Snohomish junior quarterback Mitchell Stewart -- the senior went to the homecoming dance with Emily Zylstra, the homecoming princess and Snohomish County Dairy Princess. The date wasn't arranged by anyone's parents or other political considerations, either. Ike asked her out, and Zylstra said yes. Ditzenberger's mother, Kay, said the part of the evening Ike was most excited about was the high five Zylstra promised him at the end of the date.
"Everyone in the school loves Ike," Snohomish coach Mark Perry told the Times. "Everyone knows him."
Yet a few things have been less than perfect for Snohomish county's best-known personality since his big touchdown celebration. Ditzenberger was recently diagnosed with diabetes, a disease he struggles to monitor. Right on cue, his teammates stepped forward again, this time offering to help him monitor his blood sugar levels during practices and games so he could continue to be a part of the team.
If Ditzenberger wasn't enough of a celebrity already, that's likely to change. The Times reported that "Dateline NBC" is planning to visit Snohomish to cover Ike's story, with Hollywood in hot pursuit after a film production company called Aegis agreed to purchase the rights to his story.
All this because of one of the most memorable touchdowns we're likely to see this year. Not a bad senior season for a kid who just wanted to be part of a team.