Sports in high school can shape your future in more ways than one. They can secure your future, or they can end up as simply a fond memory of the past, either way, high school sports leave an imprint and influence you can't erase. As we begin to age, and school becomes a thing of the past, graduates start reminiscing about all their golden years and memories they made while playing in their favorite game. Our parents tell us the common phrase “enjoy it while it lasts” all the time, but what happens after that time is up? What happens after that last good pass or goal and the curtains finally draw closed? What happens next?
Memories keep us as people grounded, they remind us of who we are and can make us either smile or cry on a dime. For SCHS alumni it’s all smiles when recalling high school athletics, especially for 2011 graduate, defensive man Ja’quane Mosley who can recite his favorite memory with ease, “beating Harmony for the first time with the same score they beat us” which was a tight 17-14, securing St. Cloud’s place in the playoffs.
Ja’quane Mosley played football for three of his four years of high school, becoming a star-athlete in a short period of time. Today, Mosley believes he would be completely different had he not been involved in athletics, believing playing on the field every day kept him out of trouble and taught him valuable lessons he could use later in life. These include being part of a team, discipline, and a hard work ethic. Mosley had received numerous offers to play college ball but unfortunately, his time on the field was cut short by a torn hamstring resulting in the end of his football career. Although his time on the field was up, Mosley used his knowledge of the game to coach Pop Warner youth football and spread his love of the sport. With this, he still enjoys watching football whenever he can and even playing from time-to-time recreationally.
Similarly, star-player Robert Howard, although he is known by his middle name Devin, also never forgot his love of the game. Devin Howard, a defenseman who graduated in 1995, was also a star player on the field, making the football wall of fame. Currently, Howard's photo is still hanging in our gymnasium lobby in the top right corner, jersey number 63. Howard did end up playing semi-pro football in Orlando Florida for five years, however, that marked the end of his football days. Even though football ended for him, he gets to carry on his love for football through two of his 3 sons and one of his daughters, who plays for the SCHS flag- football team. One of his sons, Robert Howard Jr., who also goes by Devin Howard, graduated just this past year (Class of ‘22) with a football scholarship to a Florida college himself.
Last up on the trip down memory lane is Carl Milien, a class of 2000 graduate who rocked the mats. Yup, the mats. Milien was a St. Cloud wrestler for three years and although he did play football for all four years, his passion was set in wrestling from sophomore to senior year. As a 6-foot, 251-pound heavy weight Milien was nothing short of a champion. As a junior, the wrestler made Osceola Sentinel’s Athlete of the Week and was OBC Champ not just once but twice, breaking multiple records: Most pins in his weight class, fastest mile in his weight class, and fastest pin of 14 seconds. For Milien however, it wasn’t about being the best, it never was, it was about the lessons he learned, stating “My biggest lesson was sportsmanship...as well as being able to face challenges confidently, and with a clear head”. Miliens only regret was that he didn’t take to the mat his freshman year.
One common factor between all these high school athlete alumni is the knowledge and life skills they were taught whether it be on the field, court or a mat. The influences of teammates and coaches have stuck with these players throughout their adult lives, and it is doubtful they will ever be forgotten.
Not all athletes will grasp super tightly onto these memories, for some high school sports were just something their parents made them do to keep them active, a means to an end. But for the athletes who gave their sports 100 percent? It was everything.