I got another lesson last weekend that I should never underestimate the abilities of a high school athlete.
It certainly wasn’t because I doubted Lapel sophomore Macy Beeson is one of the finest high school girl golfers in the state of Indiana. She absolutely is.
After tying for 13th at the 2019 state finals as a freshman, I figured she would improve her standing to land in the top 10 or perhaps the top five this season, especially after winning both the sectional and regional championships. It wasn’t until after her 2-over par first round that had her in second place heading into Day 2 that I really thought, “Wow, she might win this thing.”
The first time I remember a similar occasion was back in the 2015-16 basketball season at the same school.
I’ll never forget visiting with coach Jimmie Howell and the Bulldogs boys basketball team in early November 2015 to preview the upcoming season. Sitting in Coach Howell’s office chair, senior guard Kamron Herrington stated without hesitancy his team was going to win the state championship that year.
I remember thinking there was no question they were going to have a good basketball team. They returned their top two scorers from an 18-7 team and hopes were certainly high in western Madison County.
But state champs?
Of course, as we all found out, he was right. Herrington, one of the finest team leaders I’ve ever encountered, helped lead the Bulldogs to a 26-4 season, which included the Madison County title and that memorable run to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and a second state title for Howell.
The combination of Beeson’s title and the memories of 2016 it triggered got me thinking about some of the other state champs we’ve seen in the area recently, and I think I’ve figured out something.
Whether it was the 2018 Daleville or 2019 Alexandria baseball teams, two-time wrestling state champion Silas Allred or 2019 state shot put champion Erikka Hill, Beeson or Herrington, they all have one thing in common.
They had a goal, the work ethic to reach it and the confidence in themselves to know it was attainable.
And looking inwardly, any disbelief I may have had these teams and individuals could do what they did was not because I doubted them.
It was because I found it hard to believe I had the opportunity to cover such greatness.
In covering those kids and spending a great deal of time around them all, I am in awe of them.
I have learned through these interactions to recognize the supreme confidence these special athletes have in their own abilities. It is because of them when those rare athletes like Allred or Hill profess to harbor dreams of competing in the Olympics, I don’t doubt it at all. In fact, with those two, I just assume it will happen.
We shouldn’t put anything past a young, motivated person who is trying to reach a goal.
Instead, we should just try to appreciate them and support those dreams, however big they may be.