Trey Cunningham: The First Person To Believe In Me

To the person who first believed I could really do something special in track and field.

    "Coach Reaves, thank you."

    By Trey Cunningham - Winfield City (AL) High School, Class of 2017

    Florida State University '21

    At the time, I didn't know if I enjoyed track and field.

    I knew running was something I enjoyed, but didn't know if competitive running was my thing. Basketball was still the first sport I enjoyed and wanted to pursue. Did you know I thought college basketball -- and the NBA for that matter -- was in my future?

    This was in middle school when it was a struggle to get over the hurdles. My body had some catching up to do, maturity wise. But I stayed with it. Despite the times, I wondered why anyone would enjoy a sport defined by pushing the limits of oneself? Doubt came along the struggle -- the exploration of what I wanted to do -- and growing up.

    Was I ever going to be good at a sport? That thought crossed my mind a lot of times.

    Somehow, through the 22-second hurdle races, you still believed in me, pushed me to be better than I was before, instilling in me that hard work would pay off.

    I was beginning to fall in love with hurling myself at solid objects, those hurdles. My body matured in high school and then true love came. I realized my body could run faster and faster and faster.

    The first time I realized you truly believed in me was freshman year, when I placed third in the 60 meter hurdles at the state meet. It was the first time I ran something serious and saw the look on your face when I was happy with the performance.

    That race was the catalyst for the rest of my high school career.

    It led to state championships, state records, national records and a world record. But I took for granted how supportive you were. How subtle affirmations and prodding pushed me to keep striving with my head held high. Even when you let me chase the idea of being an elite high jumper, that didn't go very far.

    I was wired to run at things and clear them. That mentality doesn't make for a great high jumper.

    You saw me become one of the best high school hurdlers in American history over my last two years of high school. You helped get the small town boy, who desperately wanted the big city, get recruited by a majority of the universities in the country.

    You supported four of my major changes in college and watched me become a multi All-American.

    Now, in this next phase of becoming a professional, I still feel the love and support I had as a freshman trying to prove myself.

    For that, I am thankful and lucky to have you in my life.

    Coach Reaves, thank you.

    Much Love, 

    Trey Cunningham


    Want some advice? Ask Trey Cunningham a question using #AskTrey, or DM Trey on Instagram @trey826 or on Twitter @TreyCunningham. One of these questions will be picked to be answered in the next column.

    Related Reads: 

    The Weekend My Life Changed Forever

    What Small Towns Can Do For Your Career

    What To Look Out For When Getting Recruiting

    The Day An Olympic Dream Can Be Won And Lost