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Remembering when I had potential

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Mike's Minute

By Mike Aldridge

I have not always admired athletes who worked hard every day though they, in the end, did not accomplish much.  
I thought of this today when I read that Colt McCoy had lost the starting quarterback job to Brandon Weeden after what really wasn’t a very long tryout period.  
McCoy stated that he was the first man at practice and the last one to leave and would continue to work hard as the back up.  
That is sort of Tim Tebow-like, which in my youth would have made me disdainful to say the least.
I will be in Tell City on Saturday night to celebrate my 45th year class reunion at the Hoosier Heights Country Club.  
This is a thrilling time for my wife who knows two people in my class, neither of whom is coming, so she will be stuck with me for the night with no relief in sight.  
So what does this have to do with sports you say?
In 1964 when my class hit the hallowed halls of good old TCHS, we came with the reputation and the predictions of “one of the best basketball classes to come to Tell City High School.”  
There were, in those days, four elementary schools that fed into Tell City; Newman and St. Paul, the city schools, Troy, a small town in the same township, and Hoosier Heights where I went to school.  
Troy and Hoosier Heights students could go to either Tell City or Cannelton (Patti’s alma mater) without paying tuition so I lost some of my Hoosier Heights classmates to the Cannelton Bulldogs.  
Cannelton’s coach actually visited my house to ask my dad if he would let me go to Cannelton, but my dad said no way and off to Tell City I went.  
This turned out to be a good move not for basketball but for my life in general because Patti didn’t know me when I was in high school. No more will be said on that subject.
Entering as freshmen our class played up to the billing winning the SIAC, Southern Indiana Athletic Conference, freshman basketball championship beating the likes of Jeffersonville, New Albany, and the hated Jasper Wildcats.  
The SIAC was made up, at that time, of almost all schools in southern Indiana of any size from New Albany to Mt. Vernon including Vincennes and Bedford but not the Evansville or Terre Haute schools.
The next year, we were mediocre at best as some of us played varsity and some junior varsity and some quit playing all together.  
By our junior year, I had been in an accident which put me in the hospital for the summer and was no longer able to play football, which ended my career altogether in all sports and others of the “gifted class” went by the wayside in one fashion or another.  
By our senior year only one of the five to seven guys who were part of “one of the best classes ever” was playing varsity basketball.  
Why tell this story? Few of us if any played anywhere near our potential or worked as hard as we could have or should have worked.  
By the time we realized that we needed to work harder, we had lost the desire to do so.  
I believe that each of us regret the decisions that we made in that regard.
We won’t talk about that on Saturday night, but instead will probably reminisce about the silly things we did instead of playing ball. Of course, I won’t talk about that when Patti is around.
I do now admire people who are seemingly less talented but who work their butts off and sometimes still do not reach the goal.  
They are an inspiration to all of us and a lesson to some as well.  
I also want to mention to any of our Harrison County High School athletes who might read this. Don’t rest on your laurels and don’t get complacent.  
There may be someone working harder than you ready to take your spot.