There is definitely a changing off the guard going on in these parts as we speak.
Not only have Mexico and North Callaway Activities Director's Jeff Anderson and Mike Emmons announced their impending retirements, respectively, but so has Van-Far's Kevin Baldwin. Along with those individuals numerous local athletes competing at the collegiate level have served their collective tours of duty and have either already come home or are going to any day now, some of which have already been mentioned like twins and 2013 Mexico grads Jake and Jon Anderson.
Westminster College, at least at one point, couldn't stop recruiting athletes from this area. The proof lies in the fact that, beyond the individuals already mentioned, Van-Far's Lucas Robinson, Community R-6's Anthony Fairchild and North Callaway's Manzell Payne are also among its alumni.
Even those at the top of their field have had to re-think things, though. This includes former ESPN personality and Mexico native Prim Siripipatt who had to go back to school because of network layoffs and is working on her masters degree at Duke in psychology.
Currently the athletic department at Hannibal-LaGrange has a wealth of local products, and while shotgun sports don't quite fit in that mold, it's close enough. To that end, Gatlin Curtis, we hardly knew you.
My hope for all of these athletes is that they had the type of college career Centralia grad Logan Ross is having right now with the Hannibal-LaGrange Track and Field team. I suspect he started competing in track because his high school football coach, Jim Newsted, also coached that sport and all across the country prep gridiron coaches have been trying to use one as off-season conditioning for the other. Every so often an athlete thrives at this secondary pursuit and gets a scholarship. Ross is that guy.
"Logan is very responsible. Track season is a pretty long endeavor. He starts practicing in October and doesn't quit until May. That would be tough for any kid, but (Ross) handles it well," says HLGU head coach Andy Lemons. "He's quite responsible and has a good work ethic."
For anyone right around the age of 21 who doesn't live at home and chooses to spend his time living such a focused existence there must be an least an element of happiness there. That's why I hope those other athletes have a similar experience to Ross. Because if he's not enjoying himself I don't see how his accomplishments are taking place. Nobody is making him do anything. If he isn't choosing it because he likes being a winner and he wants to be the best, then you tell me why he does it.
Enjoying what you do and who you are is the secret to success most people claim is their ticket to fame. As to whether or not that's actually true is anybody's guess. But, if that's not why Paris, MO., native, Bowling Green High School graduate and former Truman State University student Glenn Jacobs, also known as World Wrestling Entertainment personality Kane, is still bashing heads in his early 50's, then you tell me why he does it. After all, he was elected mayor of Knox County, TN.