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Appreciate greatness

One of the biggest debates in the world of professional sports that has re-emerged recently is whether or not LeBron James has surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all-time.

Although James isn’t actually better than Jordan, fans who have argued against James have taken his greatness in the present day for granted. He’s a sports icon who has lived up to and surpassed every expectation that was placed on him as a 13-year-old prodigy.

Now in the Greater Valley Area, not only are schools with graduating classes of 100 students or less racking in millions of scholarships the norm, but athletic dominance is nothing new as well. A couple of weeks ago at Lanett’s end-of-the-year athletic banquet, I asked a couple of graduating seniors how it felt to win three consecutive state championships in basketball. The soon-to-be college freshmen said that while it was fun the first couple of times, the original excitement wasn’t quite there the third time. Many of the accomplished athletes echoed statements of gratitude for winning so much as a Panther but there was a sense the athletes didn’t understand the magnitude of their achievements.

Kristian Story is an All-American athlete on the gridiron. Braylon Harrington is one of the fastest high schoolers in the state. Anquaevious Pollard is one of the best basketball players in Alabama.  Ty Truitt is one of the best scorers that the school will ever see.

Beyond Lanett, seven basketball players from the Greater Valley Area alone received all-state basketball recognition, Chambers Academy appears in state semifinals routinely now, and some of the best athletes in the area were only middle schoolers last year.

With dominance far too often comes a lack of perspective. Parents, residents and students of the Greater Valley Area must cherish the greatness of today in the present because it won’t always be here to appreciate.