The Good Stuff: Dream Catcher

How Terry Bradshaw and Tommy Spinks, grew up sharing more than a friendship — they shared a dream.

"Dream Catcher" captures Tommy Spinks' lifelong friendship with Terry Bradshaw

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shady Lane in Shreveport’s Southern Hills neighborhood.

It's where a young man named Terry Bradshaw grew up and loved throwing the football around, some days all by himself.

That is until a fellow 13-year-old, who had just moved from Alexandria to Shreveport, rode by Bradshaw’s house one day on his bike. Then on another day, and yet another.

That kid's name was Tommy Spinks.

"He was scoping out the neighborhood on his bike and he saw this kid in his backyard throwing a football," explains Kimberly Spinks Burleson, Tommy's daughter.

"He stalked him for days," she continues, until that one day Bradshaw spotted Spinks looking at him from the street.

"Finally Terry ran out in the front yard and sticks out his hand and said, 'Hi, I"m Terry Bradshaw. Want to throw some?'"

That day in the summer of 1962 was the first day of a lifelong friendship between Bradshaw and Tommy Spinks that carried them from football fields at Woodlawn High, to Louisiana Tech, to the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers.

"These are the stories and how he wrote them," points out Burleson.

"Football is what's king in Shreveport," said Tommy Spinks in the book, 'Dream Catcher'.
"Football is what's king in Shreveport," said Tommy Spinks in the book, 'Dream Catcher'.

Two years after their father died of cancer in 2007, Burleson along with her sister Teri Spinks Netterville discovered pages and pages of notes their father had been keeping, stories and memories from his 58 years on this earth, including the day he met Bradshaw.

"We dove into the stories. We were rolling and then we'd start crying," Burleson recalls as they read story after story.

"I never thought about what made him so great until after he died and we found these stories," explains Netterville.

Most of their father's stories center around his deep friendship with Terry Bradshaw.

"The dynamics between them was real and raw," continues Netterville.

His daughters took their father's notes and had his stories published into a book called, 'Dream Catcher'.

“Six days before he died,” recalls Burleson, “I asked my dad, did you always dream of playing in the NFL? And he said no. That was Terry’s dream. I just caught it. Dreams are contagious.”

Until the day he met Bradshaw, Tommy always considered himself a pretty good baseball player.

"He could have played baseball. He was a stud in baseball, too," remembers Bobby Waddell, another one of Tommy's longtime friends from Woodlawn High School.

But on that summer day in '62, Bradshaw told Tommy, "Well I don't know if we even have baseball here," likely phase one of Bradshaw converting Tommy into a football player.

"Football is what's king in Shreveport," he added, according to the book, 'Dream Catcher'.

The book also includes a letter written by Bradshaw on the occasion of Tommy being inducted into the Louisiana Tech University Hall of Fame.

In it, Bradshaw makes his usual silly jabs at his best friend. But he also called Tommy, “The best receiver I have had including pro football.”

The book also includes a letter Tommy wrote to Bradshaw less than a week before he died.

"I love you Bradshaw," Netterville reads from the book.

"My memories of you are so full of stinking fun and laughter. Take care of yourself Bud. Until we meet again. Tommy."

‘Dream Catcher’ is available on Amazon and at DreamCatcherbook.com.

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.