So it all comes back to Skittles.
Let us explain …
Between 2011 and 2014, Trey Hadnot was a seven-time All-America sprinter at Louisiana Tech, won 16 conference championships and was All-Western Athletic Conference 24 times.
It’s a ridiculous number of trophies and medals that his mom religiously dusts to this day in her Ruston home.
Now she has another trophy to shine since her boy and six other Tech standouts were inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame September 15.
Just five days later, the University honored its six Pro Football and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, a once-in-a-lifetime sort of event with all six live and in person for a short Q&A ceremony before the unveiling of their individual statues in the new Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza in the northeast corner of Joe Aillet Stadium.
You can read about both events here and here. It was quite a lot to digest in the span of 120 hours. Wall-to-wall athletic gold. Star-spangled doubleheader for a school of any size, especially a mid-major.
And consider one Naismith inductee, former Bulldog player Leon Barmore (his jersey is retired) and Lady Techster coach, was in attendance for the statue unveiling but didn’t participate in the ceremony because he already has a statue (yawn…) over by the Thomas Assembly Center.
Hard not to be impressed.
All these stars included hometown hero Hadnot, who holds all 10 of the Tech program’s Top 10 indoor 200m records, including the No.1 time of 20.48, which is moving about as briskly as a human can. (The world record is 19.92, so …20.48 defines “moving.”)
Naturally, one would want to know the secret of Hadnot’s swift success. Pregame meal of bananas and baked chicken? An hour of stretching? Prayer?
“Skittles,” he said, with an honest little-boy smile that kids wear when they’re getting away with something.
Skittles? Is that a track-and-field word for a special kind of loosening-up scissor-kick? Another word for special spikes?
Negative. It’s the candy.
“Always ate Skittles before a race,” he said. “And water. Drank lots and lots of water.”
And there you have it. Skittles. Although something tells me that diet only works if you’re Trey Hadnot.
Funny, but he started out running cross country. His coach took him and some other long-distance wannabes several miles from the school, dropped them off, told them to run back, and drove away. It wasn’t but a few minutes before the others had run off and left Hadnot, who had no real idea where he was.
Bewildered and with no Skittles to save him, Hadnot decided sprints might be his future. At least he’d never get lost.
Another quick story. A linebacker out of tiny Clinton, Glenell Sanders became a three-time All-American at Tech. With tears on his face, he introduced his family — Gwen, his wife of 30 years; Genaye, a senior at the University of Houston where she’s a bio-medical engineering major on a full soccer scholarship; and soon-to-be Captain Geraud Sanders, a 2020 Air Force graduate and fighter instructor pilot who was at the controls of one of four T-38 jets that performed the flyover Saturday at Memorial Stadium before the Tech-Nebraska football game.
“All this started,” Sanders said quietly, “because of faith in God, and because some men believed in me, and gave me a chance.”
Theirs were just two of many stories from ordinary people who managed to exceed beyond their imaginations through developing their talent and believing what a coach or parent or friend believed about them and fed into them, a couple of sweet reminders that we can make it — if we all stick together, and coach each other up.
Contact Teddy at email@example.com