By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2020 Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel Media Day held a different meaning for the seniors of new Head Coach Shannon O’Brien.
As O’Brien and staff gave orders on photos and the lineup for the day, the 12th grader saw the events of the day as a sign of hope during a global pandemic. For one senior in particular the Media Day and the potential start of the football season was not being taken for granted.
“It feels shocking but at the same time exciting because we didn’t know we would be here for Media Day,” Rebel senior linebacker/halfback Tucker James said. “Definitely exciting overall.”
Just a few months prior, James’ junior season concluded with the cancellation of his baseball season.
“Upsetting because we had 16 juniors and seniors,” he noted. “We thought it was going to be a big season for us. It was definitely disappointing. I only got to play four games with those guys I grew up with.”
The 18-year-old like most of his peers started to pay more attention to the local and national news. James and classmates started asking questions about the school year, the status of athletics and what is the protocol dealing with COVID-19.
“I figured by the time baseball rolls back around everything would clear up,” he acknowledged. “But with football, I thought for sure we were going to play but I wasn’t sure how many games. If it would be abbreviated or the full season.”
Growing up on the campus of TRA, James has knew school was going to take place with some kind of in-person interactions.
“I grew up with my classmates,” he noted. “I’ve been here for 14 years. At the end of last year we were online and I would see a couple of faces out and about here and there. I would come out and hang out with a few people. With us being such a small school, I knew we would get back into the school building.”
The close-knit environment of TRA has helped shaped and strengthen James’ faith. The test of COVID-19 to his faith has helped James hit a new level of maturity.
“Don’t take things for granted and live life to it’s fullest because it’s short,” he said. “Try to prepare as normal as you can. It’s definitely not the same. There is that possibility it can be taken all away from us. If it does happen, it happens. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
The on-the-field leader for football and player gaining college offers in baseball said the most important thing in life is praising God during times of prosperity and challenges. But as for his senior football season, James just wants make it as successful as possible.
“My hopes for this year, if the playoffs are shorten, I definitely want to make it to the postseason,” he concluded. “That would be a big achievement for such as small school as we are. Definitely want to raise up the program and Coach OB. This is his first year and definitely want to make it his program.”