The following is a true story about a local football legend. The names of those in this story have been changed to protect the innocent, the assumed guilty, the schools involved and the many adults who have helped cause the problems which led to the downfall of this once great athlete. This story is very recent and continues to be written.
A young man, Ralston Pott, had a world of athletic talent. Many saw a bright future ahead of him even as a youngster. A very likeable child, Ralston showed early flashes of greatness on the gridiron in his youth football days.
Ralston came from less than the ideal family setting. He would receive a lot of help though over the years from caring friends, coaches, fellow classmates, teachers, and school administrators. All wanted to see this young man succeed. And when Ralston succeeded so would his team and the schools he played for. But, as Ralston’s athletic career flourished, his school work and his ideals of a healthy work ethic eroded.
Speed, agility, and size all helped Ralston become a 1st team All-American high school player. He set many school, league, state and even national records on the way to leading his high school, Playland High to a state football championship. He was also a terrific sprinter on Playlands’ track team and a real lady’s man.
Many colleges and universities were interested in having this young man from the Steel Valley attend their school. His failures in the high school classroom and some minor drug issues did not seem to matter. Most of his shortcomings were covered up by the very ones helping him to succeed. Playland would put athletics and winning a state championship ahead of all the values it tried to instill in its students. The Playland coach, Stud Winky Bunnie, was undoubtedly no help in disciplining his star player because all that mattered to this big child at heart was racking up statistics, winning on and off the field with students and co-workers.
Everybody wanted Ralston, including the big school from across the state, Transylvania State. Their legendary coach, John Gramps came to visit Playland High and offer a scholarship. But, Ralston decided to skip school on this day; more important things were in store for him at a local mall.
The Playland administrators scrambled. Off to the mall they sent teachers to find their valued star. Excuses were made for his very late arrival. Still, TSU gave him a scholarship and off he went.
He played well, but sparingly at his new school. But, his former teachers and administrators at Playland could no longer do his schoolwork or bail him out as his troubles mounted. So Ralston was in Coach Gramps’s dog house.
The final straw came when Ralston was accused of raping a female. He was tossed from the team, even though he was eventually found innocent. Mostly, because his accuser had a shady background and a solid case could not be made.
Ralston was signed as an undrafted free agent with an NFL pro football team, but he would be cut. He did play a year of pro ball in Europe and was highly successful.
Unfortunately, for Ralston, he was arrested this past week after selling drugs to undercover police officers on multiple occasions. Many who knew him are surprised it took this long for him to be caught.
So this great talent was coddled from childhood to young adulthood as many star athletes are. Winning becomes more important than disciplining and trying to help young men become responsible individuals and to succeed in life.