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Graduates should let God help set their course

The sweat, grass, blood and foul stench of dirty football uniforms returned to the area this past week as high schools took to the gridiron for spring training once again.
For the 2019 graduating class, the image is bittersweet as they depart their respective schools. With graduations commencing at area schools this week, the feel of the grass will be a missed sensation for many.
For a few, the experience will continue as they make their way to the college playing fields. They all, however, will leave behind a legacy to be followed into the upcoming season.
Spring training is a reminder that the wheels of sports keep turning. Players will come and go with time, but the game will remain.
Throughout history, many great athletes have graced the halls and playing fields of local schools. Athletes such as Don McNeal and Michael Williams have gone on to find fame in the professional sports world.
After a long career in professional sports, those men have retired and spread the message and example of hope for the athletes who will be tossing their caps in the air in the coming days.
Current area professional athletes such as W.S. Neal alumnus Tyler Joyner are making their mark in the pros. One day those athletes will be the next model of inspiration that dreams can be achieved.
The days of walking the halls of high school will be missed. As a senior, the mind is set on one thing, getting out of school, forever. Promises of never looking back will be made and promises of never missing high school will be a notable topic.
However, as the years pass by, the sights, smells, sounds and Friday night games will bring a smile to the face as these former prep athletes remember their time in high school.
Many will leave the area for colleges with vows to never return to “Old Atmore,” but pretty soon the road will lead home, as it always does.
Upon graduation, I personally found myself making the same promises.
High school wasn’t my best time. Instead of playing sports for Escambia County High, I made my mark on a hockey team elsewhere.
My classmates never knew the sport that I was involved with. In fact, I was a loner with plans on joining the United States Marine Corps and leaving to make my mark on the world as a historian.
I joined the Marines, got into an automobile accident and ultimately was led back home to, you guessed it, Atmore. I recovered, went to college, worked in the history field, took part in the film industry and played ice hockey at many different levels.
The entire time, I vowed to not return to Atmore. I loved Atmore and cared for the people and area history dearly but wanted to care for it elsewhere besides here.
A few years ago, the road led home once again. This time I met my wonderful wife.
I now work with an awesome team of people at this publication, continue history work for well-known organizations and companies and enjoy living in my home community.
The lesson is that today, you will make vows to graduate and start a life elsewhere, however, God will lead you to where you are meant to be. Make your dreams a reality and rely on God’s will to carry you through.
Regardless of whatever game it is that you love to play, God will always be in charge of the scorebook.
Congratulations graduates and let God set your course.