I.C. MURRELL — Befriend those who grind, overcome and stay hungry

Published 12:07 am Friday, October 18, 2019

Shortly after the final horn sounded on his first game as Memorial High School boys basketball coach in 2015, Kenneth Coleman told his supporters, “We’ve just gotta keep grinding.”

“Grinding” is a word steeped in the vocabulary of those work within a passion to achieve great results, so that simple comment struck a chord.

Coleman had just become head coach three months earlier, taking his first such position in the high school ranks after a championship run at North Shore in Galena Park. The big news of that hire was that Coleman had become the first former player of James Gamble to rise to head coach, quite an angle considering Gamble helped the Lincoln Bumblebees win four state championships (1981, 1984, 1986, 1988).

(As a personal requisite, I remember those and other championship years for Port Arthur programs.)

Coleman held no doubt in his mind the level the Memorial Titans could reach, and he never wavered. Once in a while, he would share with me over lunch not just the latest happenings within basketball circles but his philosophies on and off the court.

Already a successful worker at a refinery, Coleman gave up a higher salary and used his love for basketball to help him reach young men through education. Collectively, the team that wears “Port Arthur” on each jersey brought the city to championship status by 2018.

The meetings over lunch proved beneficial for two reasons. One, I connected with someone with a like mind about hard work within a passion to achieve a certain goal. Two, I became an impromptu speaker at the Titans’ championship banquet and testified about the importance of faith.

This is more than reminiscence of good times as basketball season nears. If nothing else, it’s a testimony of uniting with those who lead and live by example to impact others. Take part in a civic organization or just join a social circle, and you’ll see it does the mind a whole lot of good.

Port Arthur and its neighboring communities have plenty of example-setters.

It’s the mentality that’s grown evident in this area of commerce.

For its part, football brings about a number of daily lessons as well. In Port Arthur, young men learn the importance of valuing time and embrace a “Titan Tempo” theme. In Nederland, “adjust and overcome” is the calling card for motivation.

No matter what position you reach in life, remember this lesson from Port Neches-Groves: “Always be humble and hungry.” At the end of each day, all of us play on some team in search of victory.

As we each go through the daily grind — some days requiring more grit than usual — connection with others helps reveal a bigger purpose in each of us. Someone needed to read this.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at ic.murrell@gmail.com

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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