PREP SPORTS: ‘The school is the heartbeat of our town’: Cold Springs’ Zane Brown recaps his time as an Eagle

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Cold Springs’ Zane Brown. (Courtesy of Zane Brown)

BREMEN, Ala. — Cold Springs senior Zane Brown walked across the stage to collect his diploma in May and in this interview, he shared some of his favorite memories from his Eagle years. Zane feels blessed to have been around not only a lot of talented athletes, but some great friends as well.

“My favorite sports memories were when we won the area championship in basketball my sophomore year and winning back-to-back state titles in outdoor track my junior and senior year,” Brown said. “It was an unreal experience. I’ve been blessed to have a lot of great people around me throughout my high school career. Not only have I been around elite athletes and competitors, but just all-around great people. None of that success is possible without my friends and teammates pushing and supporting me the whole way through. I learned so many invaluable lessons along the way. I’ve been blessed with great coaching and teaching all through my four-year tenure at CSH. A big thing, specifically, I’ll keep with me is from coach Howell and our track staff. They were always sure to ground us in our faith in the midst of great success. We were constantly reminded that none of it would be possible without God. Despite all the success and great things we did as individuals or as a team, we were sure to always glorify Him in all we did. We tried our best to serve others, be good role models, and represent Cold Springs the right way.”

Zane felt lucky to have competed under some great coaches during his career and he soaked up as much as he could from them.

“I was very fortunate to not only have great coaches in my respective sports, but also just in life. My coaches were all just really outstanding role models, the kind of people I really will strive to be like in my adult life. I had a lot of great times with both coaches Willoughby and coach Willingham respectively on the basketball court. Coach Willoughby taught me a lot about life and just growing as an individual. Coach Willingham showed me the importance of my position as a varsity athlete, and how I can use that platform to affect younger kids in a positive way. I have a lot of great memories with coach Howell and coach Dickerson from track as well. They both helped me to grow in my faith and taught me how to stay humble and motivated when working to achieve great things.”

Brown talked about some of his favorite games and track meets that he was a part of and what he will remember and miss the most about competing at Cold Springs.

“My favorite games were probably my first varsity minutes against Winston County my sophomore year, and Senior Night against Cleveland. My favorite track meets were definitely both of the State Title meets from my junior and senior seasons,” he said. “The things I will miss the most is definitely the people. Our community is really special. When you sign up to compete for Cold Springs, you unknowingly sign up to have hundreds of people support you and push you to be your best every day. Cold Springs is one massive family. Everyone is constantly rooting for each other in everything we do out here. It’s a really amazing thing to have witnessed and been a part of for four years. I’ll also really miss being around my friends, teammates, and coaches. It’s next to impossible to have a bad day at Cold Springs. The people here just have a way to inspire and bring out the best in you.”

He had so many great high school memories as an Eagle, and Cold Springs will always hold a special place in his heart.

“My favorite memories from high school are definitely any time we got together as a group to do anything. Senior year was so much fun. We did a lot as a class to help celebrate our time together. Homecoming will always stick out too. It was a time when the whole school would really come together and show off our school spirit. I also loved being in my second period AG class this year, and that was probably my favorite class ever,” he said. “The culture at Cold Springs is what makes it so special. It’s a small community that is really tight knit; the school is the heartbeat of our town. If the people here weren’t so involved, the community itself might cease to exist. We need each other to keep things running smoothly, and everyone understands that. Cold Springs is one huge family. Everyone knows everyone around here. One huge thing that makes this place is just the compassion and pride the people who reside here share. Whether you grow up here or move in from somewhere else, people here care about you. That feeling is just so obvious anywhere you go.”

He will deeply miss being at Cold Springs next year. He was in a few clubs in high school and enjoyed those experiences as well.

“I’ll be sure to remember all of the great times I’ve spent with even better people. I’ll really miss getting to put on a jersey and represent the community I love so much. The thing I’ll probably miss the most is getting to see everyone almost every day, but I’m hopeful the bonds I have will last me far beyond my high school years,” he said. “I was in the Honor Society, Student Council, and the 1936 Club (Service Club). I learned a lot about helping people and showing compassion towards others. A lot of my teammates and friends were also members of these clubs, so getting to help people with some of my best friends really made for a good time.”

Zane gave some advice to the students that will be starting high school in August and talked about being a role model for younger people.

“I would tell them to just be outgoing and try new things. High school is a lot of fun, if you allow it to be. Find something you’re passionate about and work with it. Don’t put yourself in a box. Talk to anyone and everyone; it’s a lot more fun that way. You only get four years. Don’t have any regrets when you get to the end,” he said. “It’s such an underrated concept for high schoolers. We get caught up in our lives and current events that we forget how often we used to look up to kids in our position when we were younger. You can really make a difference by setting out to build relationships with younger kids, try to help them and lead them however you can. Even just a smile and a wave can mean a lot. I have really tried to do everything possible to be a good role model for those kids. I hope they take what they learned from me and use it when they’re my age for some future younger generation.”

Brown had a couple of role models that he looked up to in school and in sports and talked about a life-changing experience that helped him out in a positive way.

“In school, I always looked up to Cody Bales and Seth Williams. They both were really great as both students and friends. They always worked really hard in the classroom. Both were always nice to everyone, good with the kids, and always willing to help out when needed. They both taught me a lot about how you should treat people. As for sports, I looked up to Cameron Nunn and Tanner Kilgo. They were really great athletes that worked hard to perfect their craft. They taught me a lot about working hard and being a good teammate.”

He added,

“One time during my freshman year, I was walking to the parking lot after a football game. I was 15 at the time, so I was waiting on my family to pick me up. They were running late, and the lot was beginning to clear out. All of the sudden, a black truck rolled up to me and dropped the window. In the truck was our All-State football star Roberto Ayala with his girlfriend. They were both super popular and definitely had post-game plans, yet instead of speeding off with everyone else, they chose to stop and offer a ride to a random kid they hardly knew. They were sure to let me know it wasn’t any trouble or an inconvenience at all. I politely declined, but that interaction stuck with me. That’s when I really started to understand what kind of place Cold Springs was. That conversation took place almost four years ago. I don’t know if they even remember doing it, but I sure do.”

Zane shared some advice for other students on their own journeys through school and talked about how he wants to be remembered.

“I would tell them to work hard and have fun. Enjoy every second of high school; it flies by so fast. Enjoy the little things along the way. God has a plan for each and every one of us. Take pride in His vision for you. Treat everyone the right way; it’ll allow you to create friendships that should last a lifetime,” he said. “I got an academic scholarship to Wallace State Community College. It felt great to know that all the years of working and learning paid off to some extent. It made me more appreciative of my teachers and how much they poured into me during my journey to get to this point in my life. I want to be remembered as a good friend and someone who was always available to help out and be a part of whatever was going on. I hope my underclassmen remember all the fun things we’ve done together, both inside and away from the classroom. Maybe when it’s their turn to have their own underclassmen, they’ll remember how we used to be and pass that tradition on.”

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