Bart Moss / Sports Columnist
One of the greatest pleasures I get in covering sports for the Franklin County Times is getting to know the student-athletes I cover from year to year. This year I decided to reach out to many of them one last time and find out what their favorite memory was from high school athletics.
I also asked them what they would miss the most about high school athletics.
While favorite memories varied from person to person, I noticed a common theme emerge from what they would miss the most: the relationships made from participating in athletics.
As adults and parents, we often get caught up in the winning and losing and playing time issues. Oftentimes we forget these young men and women grow close to one another because they’ve had to lean on each other in good times and bad. Teammates become family – and family sticks with us throughout a lifetime.
Not all seniors are included. I asked coaches to recommend some players; all were contacted, but some didn’t respond.
Congratulations to the class of 2018! I hope you enjoy reading what these seniors have to say.
“My favorite memory is playing in the close, intense games. whether we won or lost. There’s not a feeling like it. Honestly, I will miss everything. It really is bittersweet!” –Abby Hester, Vina
“My most memorable moment this year was playing against Vernon in game one of the area tournament because it was a huge factor in our playoff run, and we played really well as a team. I will miss the moments shared between my coaches and teammates. The bond is like no other! Moments like those I will treasure forever, even when I’m gray and old!” –Hayden Murray, Red Bay
“I would have to say my favorite memory was being back-to-back area and county champs and breaking the streak and bringing Belgreen baseball back to the playoffs. The thing I will miss the most is the relationships and brotherhoods that I’ve made over the years. My teammates are what made it fun.” –Seth Taylor, Belgreen
“My favorite memory would probably be the series-winning double play Caden and I turned to advance to the semifinals this year. I’ll miss the family bond between the whole team and the coaching staff.” –Brock Malone, Russellville
“My favorite memory is beating Cold Springs and winning Northwest Regionals for the first time! I will miss the competition and being surrounded by all of my friends. I will also miss the love and support from my coach and all of my friends and family in the stands!” –Darby Elliott, Phil Campbell
“My favorite memory from playing basketball would probably have to be the area tournaments. We got runner-up both years, but just the way everyone competes in it is what makes it the most fun to me. What I’m going to miss the most about sports is definitely playing. I’m also going to miss just coming to practice every day and having that brotherhood with your teammates. We made tons of memories as a team, so that’s what I’m probably going to miss the most.” –Misael Saldaña, Tharptown
“I have so many favorite memories, like hitting my 1000th point, senior night and summer camps, but nothing beats playing at Wallace on my birthday. The atmosphere at Wallace is so exciting, and I’m so grateful I got to experience it – twice! I will miss playing in front of the home crowds and the nerves before every game, but I will miss my teammates most of all!” –Jasmine Martin, Belgreen
“My favorite memory from high school athletics is probably when we upset the No. 2 team in the state, Altamont, my tenth-grade year in basketball to get to go to Wallace for the first time. All of our fans rushed the court and made it even more memorable.” –Joe Hardy, Phil Campbell
“One of my favorite memories from high school sports would be during football when we beat Ardmore on homecoming night. Not only did we win a region game, but it was also our first home win. For it to be homecoming night it made it even more special. One of the many things I will miss about high school sports is the relationships that I built with so many coaches and players that will last a lifetime. Another thing I will forever miss about high school sports is getting to put on that black and gold uniform and going out there and trying to make the whole city happy.” –Calen Bragwell, Russellville
“My favorite high school sports memory was probably when we beat Phil Campbell in the county championship my junior year. We had gotten beat by them twice that year. We played one of our best games that night, and it felt like everything was clicking. I will miss playing in front of the big crowds at games, and I will miss the practices, but I will miss my teammates and coaches the most.” –Jacob Mayberry, Belgreen
“My favorite memory would have to be going to Tuscaloosa every summer for cheer camp and conditioning for the upcoming basketball season with all of my friends. What I’ll miss most is the adrenaline I got before a basketball game tipped off or a football game kicked off and all the memories I made on and off the court and field.” –Carlie Lindley, Red Bay
“My favorite memory from high school sports would have to be all the teams I have been a part of. Playing with a team that loves to win and works hard for it – like this year’s softball team. What I will miss most about high school sports is my teammates and the coaches and that one person who is always the team’s cut-up. I will miss the cheering of the fans and the proud moment you feel when you win an area game or a championship game.” –Ameliah Dawson, Tharptown
“My favorite memory from high school athletics would be growing closer to my teammates and squad on and off the court and field. I will miss the games and many opportunities I had. I will also miss the friendships that I had made while playing.” –Madison Hargett, Russellville
“My favorite memory is going to the regionals for the past two years. Ever since the seventh grade that has been a dream of mine. What I will miss most about high school sports is playing with my friends. We have grown so close over the years, and it’s going to be hard not being back with them next year.” –Leeah Jackson, Phil Campbell
“My favorite memory from high school athletics would be when the announcer called out the starting lineup and getting pumped up in warmups before the game. The thing I will miss most is the teammates that became family and seeing them every day.” –Savannah Shaw, Red Bay
“My favorite memory would be the feelings – how I felt every time I stepped out on the court. The adrenaline of a really good game or the sadness of letting down your team. I will miss all my teammates, coaches and fans. All the opportunities that were opened for me because of sports.” –Linda Bahena, Tharptown
“My favorite memory would be making the playoffs in baseball my junior year. What I’m going to miss most is just being out on the baseball field with my teammates.” –Austin Childers, Vina
“My favorite memory from high school sports is making it to regionals two years in a row. I will miss the close bond that our team had.” –Olivia Knight, Phil Campbell
“My favorite memory would have to be playing at Lamar County. We were down by 10 points starting the fourth quarter. We were beginning to make a comeback and were four points down, and I was standing on the three-point line right in front of coach. Mallori Miller passed me the ball, and all I hear is Coach Marks saying “bust it,” and as I released the ball, I knew it was going in, putting us only one point behind. We ended up winning the game to secure us a No. 2 spot in area. The thing I will miss most about sports is how close my teammates and I were. We were more like sisters than teammates, and no matter what, I always knew they had my back.” –Brooke Shewbart, Red Bay
“My favorite memory was the first official game I played after breaking my leg. It was the best feeling in the world knowing I was finally able to play again after all I went through. I will miss the atmosphere, the crowd cheering and even the coaches yelling. I will miss that adrenaline high I got from it.” –Cole Daniel, Tharptown
“My favorite memory from high school sports is definitely getting chewed out by Coach Thomas in the locker room. This may sound weird, but that’s how we all knew that he cared. I️ will definitely miss all the girls that I️ formed friendships with that will last a lifetime. It’s going to be really weird not spending everyday with them next year.” –Carley Nix, Phil Campbell
“My favorite memory is winning my final game of this football season. The thing I will miss most about high school sports is being able to go and practice with my friends who I’ve been playing with for a long time every day after school.” –Blake Hardin, Vina
“My favorite memory is probably getting to play with some of my best friends throughout my years at PC that I will cherish forever! Also, accomplishing some awesome achievements while me and the other seniors were at PC. I will miss the community mostly because no matter if our team was good, average or below average, the PC community would come and support us! That is something I will always be grateful for.” –Peyton Thomas, Phil Campbell
“My favorite baseball memory is hitting a homerun in the top of the seventh inning against Lawrence County my freshman year. My favorite football memory is playing Cullman at home my sophomore year and forcing a fumble on the one yard line in the fourth quarter. I will miss the moments in the locker room that everyone remembers, and I will miss all the guys I’ve grown up with and gotten to know even better through sports – also the relationships I have made with my teammates and coaches.” –Landon Ezzell, Russellville