A few weeks back, I got an e-mail from someone I graduated with 17 years ago. I’ve kept in touch with Carletta Cunningham around once a year through e-mail and have seen her rarely through the years.
What I remember about her most is fifth grade recess. Try and stay with me here.
Back in the day, fifth grade recess was all about kickball. Boys against the girls. And Carletta was part of girls’ team that won as many games against the guys as they lost. And the guys weren’t shabby.
Carletta was contacting me from Atlanta to talk about hiking and not kickball.
Back in April, she lost her boyfriend to an acute case of Leukemia. Eric McLendon was diagnosed with the disease and tragically died in three short days.
He died from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which is also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia – the most common leukemia diagnosed in adults.
As a way to honor McLendon, Cunningham is taking part in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s largest and most successful fundraising campaign – the Hike For Discovery.
The mission of Hike For Discovery is to use long distance running, walking, cycling, and hiking as a symbol of hope to raise money for leukemia research and services, to honor patients and their families, and to weave connections between all of those who participate.
Cunningham admits she has never hiked before, and her first time will be memorable in many ways. The Hike for Discovery takes place at Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
“I've never hiked before, so this opportunity to challenge myself while also honoring my beloved, Eric, is a meaningful special way to help the cause -- striving toward a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma,” Cunningham said.
Participants in the Hike for Discovery program learn techniques for hiking, climbing, first aid and nutrition in preparation for their seven-hour hike down the Grand Canyon and back up to the top again.
In preparation for the hike, Cunningham has been assigned a coach and mentor and has already trained at Red Top Mountain, Stone Mountain, and Kennesaw Mountain.
“We've also been given a training schedule to follow throughout the week. I've never hiked before, so I need all the training I can get,” she said.
Cunningham is hoping to raise around $4,000 for the cause. Around 75-percent of the money she raises goes to the society, which funds research on cures for the blood diseases. The remaining 25-percent covers travel and training costs for the hiking program.
As of last week, Carletta was three-fourths of the way to her goal.
“We're full steam ahead in my fundraising efforts. It seems that there is a ton of support for such efforts, and I never thought I'd raise $3,000 in a month and a week,” she said.
Carletta is the daughter of Alene and Carl Cunningham of Cadiz, and her brother Reggie and sister Sonja Ladd still live here.
Donations can be made via a website Cunningham has established at www.active.com/donate/hfdga/hfdCCunnin.
Donations can also be sent via the mail, with personal checks made payable to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Carletta Cunningham c/o LLS, 2910 Water Lily Court, Austell, GA 30106.
Anyone with any questions can send Cunningham an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why include this in a column usually reserved for sports? Because it’s about helping a Trigg County native and friend.
Here’s hoping Carletta reaches her goal – in both fundraising for the event and spiritually during the hike.
With the start of the 2006 high school football season now just 37 days away, the early favorites are starting the emerge from different media sources.
The Cats’ Pause annual football yearbook publication ranks Trigg County third in the region behind Owensboro Catholic and Monroe County.
That may be a little ambitious considering the holes the Wildcats have to fill from last year’s 9-3 season.
Fort Campbell is ranked fourth and Glasgow fifth.
Noticeably absent is Caldwell County, which returns several starters from last year’s 705 team that beat Monroe County in the first round of the playoffs.
Given the losses Trigg County and Fort Campbell endured to graduation, Caldwell County may be the district favorite in 2006.
However, new coach David Barnes, who coached 13 seasons at Daviess County before returning to his alma mater, is installing a new spread offense that could take a while for the Caldwell players to master.
TCP ranked the region’s top ten players, and the top three are linemen from District Two.
Monroe County’s Billy Jo Murphy is ranked as the region’s top player. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Murphy is expected to announce his college decision in the next few weeks. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky, Louisville, and Western Kentucky are at the top of his list.
Owensboro Catholic’s Paul Millay and Butler County’s Nick Wilkerson round out the top three.
Trigg County had two players ranked in the top ten. Senior linebacker John David Fourqurean was ranked fifth, and junior running back Scotty Mayes was ranked ninth.
Bluegrasspreps.com releases their statewide preview later this month, which includes a preview of every team in the state and top ten rankings for each class.
Former Trigg County alumnus Marty Jaggers is sure to hear the Denzel Washington comparisons this fall as his Mercer County football team takes the field.
Jaggers, an All-WKC quarterback at Trigg County from 1972-75 and son of former Wildcat head coach Joe Jaggers, is in his second season as head coach at Mercer County.
Earlier this year, the Mercer County Board of Education voted to consolidate Mercer County and Harrodsburg to create a single Mercer County High School.
Jaggers will coach the “new” Mercer County football team, which welcomes the talent and tradition of Harrodsburg to comprise the largest Class 2A school in the state.
When the new alignment is drawn up later this year, whether it remains at four classes or expands to six, Mercer County will move up the class ladder.
Anytime two schools merge, especially two rival schools, comparisons to the movie “Remember the Titans” emerge.
The 2000 movie was based on the real-life merger of two schools in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. Denzel Washington plays head coach Herman Boone, who displaced a popular coach of one of the merged schools, and eventually molds his team into a state champion.
Jaggers is able to separate fact from Hollywood.
“Everybody is thinking it will be easy to put a team together and win a state championship, but it won't be. This isn't a movie or TV. It's real life. In the long run, merger will be a great thing for everybody here. But it doesn't guarantee a state championship," Jaggers told the Danville Advocate Messenger.
If you believe in karma, then this may be Jaggers’ year.
The new Mercer County nickname as voted on by students at both schools is the Titans.
Another school in our area has also announced a merge that is likely to bolster the athletic programs at the school.
The Webster County Board of Education voted June 26 to merge with the Providence Independent School System no later than July 1, 2007.
Low test scores at Providence, which saw their man school building condemned earlier this year, helped lead to the merger. Board members agreed that if the school board hadn’t approved a merger, the state Department of Education would have stepped in and shut the Providence Independent district down.
Like Mercer County, Webster County competes in Class 2A in football, but the similarities end there.
Providence has not fielded a football team since the 1960s. Trigg County played Providence 23 times from 1938-63, winning 12 times, losing ten and tying once. Their last game was in 1963.
While the Mercer County merger will show dividends in football, the Webster County merger could lead to success down the road in both football and basketball. But the boost in enrollment is not likely to bump the new Webster County above Class 2A in football.
Scott Brown is no longer the sports editor of The Cadiz Record. He can no longer be contacted at (270) 522-6605 or by e-mail at email@example.com. But you will still see him at selected TCHS sporting events.