Wade Gaynor has played athletics at it’s highest levels…and by that, I mean professionally. Yeah, I realize this is a site discussing prep football in Kentucky, but go with me here, this message transcends the type of sport in which the athlete engages. This is one of those, all-important, life lessons. Wade played collegiately for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The former third baseman was drafted by the Tigers organization in the third round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft making him the highest drafter player in WKU history. He had a substantial signing bonus and everything. Though decorum prevents me disclosing the amount of the signing bonus, I know how much and it is information which is ascertainable, though not from me.
Wade, in an article published on SBS (Side by Side Baseball), in 2016 (a piece he co-authored with David Ledbetter), reflected there wasn’t any correlation between a player’s success and his ability to move past his playing days. Wade reflected he knew career minor leaguers who couldn’t move past the Diamond any better than former All-Star, Major Leaguers. We, at Kentucky Prep Gridiron, after the tragic death of EJ Austin, in an article entitled EJ Austin now a “Townsman of a Stiller Town” published October 8, 2017, alluded to as much in quoting from A.E. Housman’s poem, To an Athlete Dying Young. Housman published the following in his oft quoted poem…Smart lad, to slip betimes away/From fields where glory does not stay/And early though the laurel grows/It withers quicker than the rose./Eyes the shady night has shut/Cannot see the record cut./And silence sounds no worse than cheers/After earth has stopped the ears:/Now you will not swell the rout/Of lads that wore their honours out,/Runners whom renown outran/And the name died before the man.,…Emphasis Added. Here, Houseman celebrates, in effect, the athlete who dies young and isn’t faced with having to attempt to move past his former athletic glory. The athlete whose renown never outruns him or whose name doesn’t die before him. Of course, Wade Gaynor would tell you defining yourself and, in essence, measuring your personal worth by a more etherial and substantial set of criteria alleviates the need for the athlete to dye young in order to escape the perceived loss of his identity and value.
Gaynor opines often the players who couldn’t move on failed to matriculate because either the player, or in some cases, the player’s parent(s), failed to understand from where the player’s identity should properly derive. Wade warned one can’t allow himself to be defined by going 4-4 or 0-4 at the plate, or for our purposes, whether the player gained or lost yardage, caught or didn’t catch a pass, made the tackle or didn’t, etc. Athletes, and the athletes’ parents, must remember we all derive our true identity from being beloved creatures of a Living God. As Gaynor reasoned in his article, and still very much believes today, one is not defined by his profession, the balance in his checkbook, his athletic prowess or lack, but rather his true identity comes from the upper room and its enthroned Inhabitant who loves and cares for us all regardless of how accomplished or unaccomplished we may be athletically.
We are thrilled at Kentucky Prep Gridiron to be partnering up with Independence Bank through out the next year to bring you a weekly article from what KPG maintains to be the fastest growing bank in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. These articles will all be published and disseminated for free as your friends at Independence Bank have graciously picked up the tab for you to enjoy and ingest this series of articles. Independence Bank is revolutionizing the banking industry in Kentucky because it is showing Kentucky, and particularly its young athletes, that they are more to Independence Bank than merely a line on a ledger. As Wade Gaynor would put it, you’re important to us because you’re important to Him.
This if Fletcher Long reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron and reminding you to enjoy Independence Bank’s Revolutionary Service and for you to also remember to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!