Back in the early part of 2016, we – as a county – had a lot of fun. You probably remember calling in to vote for Trent Harmon on “American Idol” every week. You probably remember the excitement you had when he advanced week after week in competition.
You may have been among the sea of blue Team Trent T-shirts for crowd shots when film crews came to Amory a couple of times for footage. Your screams may have added to the overwhelming celebration erupting at Frisco Park at the watch party the night he won the Season 15 finale.
There were a lot of great memories made that year and no matter where in Monroe County you live, most everyone rallied behind him back then.
Those several weeks were a lot of fun.
In a rare instance, this small county with less than 35,000 people has two of our own – Colin Stough and Zachariah Smith – making their Hollywood runs on “American Idol” this season.
It was exciting to see how much local support both of them received around the Feb. 19 season premiere and it’s even more exciting to know how much more support we’ll be able to show them in the coming weeks.
We can’t say we were solely responsible for Trent’s win a few years ago but we can definitely say we helped.
He had to get through the preliminary rounds and impress Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban week-to-week on his own before our online and call-in votes helped push him on through the competition.
We don’t know what’s in store for this season but will hopefully have the same opportunities to vote for Zachariah and Colin to help them on their journeys.
If you haven’t noticed yet, Monroe County continues to produce so many talented people in so many different areas. Way before TV time, state championships, military accolades, World Series wins, campaigns for state office and acceptance letters to Ivy League schools, there was a local support system to help these people on their paths to greatness.
The choir directors, guidance counselors and influential inner circles can’t say they were solely responsible for their continued wins but can definitely say they helped.
It could’ve been a nurturing family member or a teacher or a coach who drilled the right lessons home but whoever it is, support helps drive success. Everyone has potential to do something great, so finding that gem and cultivating it helps continue the legacy of success this county has.
We’ve all got to make names for ourselves, but there are countless names to thank along the way while striving to earn our own accolades.
Blind Melon thanked my 10th-grade English teacher, the late Virginia King, in the liner notes of its debut album, and plenty of her other former students can thank her for grammar skills to this day. We may not have written ‘90s hits like that band did but still got to listen to the same style of teaching to make our marks.
When it comes to awards shows, there is no way for the winners to give proper credit to everyone in their acceptance speeches, but there are some who never fail to thank the little people.
No matter how small or how big you are in helping shape someone’s talents, keep nurturing it. It may be as simple as a Facebook Like for a new song or as big as teaching someone with a golden arm to be how to throw.
There are plenty of us here in Monroe County who don’t know each other but figure out how we’re interconnected once we start dropping names of people we know.
We celebrate the huge accomplishments of strangers who may be the son of somebody your cousin works with at the plant or somebody dating the waitress who always knows your drink at your favorite fish and steak house.
Sports rivalries, political beliefs and stuff that happened 20-something years ago sometimes has the tendency to divide us because all that is human nature, but coming together illustrates the sense of community we have ingrained in us.
It sometimes takes a tornado or terrible disease to make us see past those differences so when we can all rally behind someone in celebration, it’s a lot more fun and memorable.
I thought after 2016, the “American Idol” thing would probably never happen again for Monroe County and look where we’re at seven years later.
Even if you may not know Colin personally, you may know somebody’s air conditioner he worked on at his day job. Even if you may not know Zachariah personally, you may have eaten a burger with onions he cooked for you one day.
These two guys are on their way, and we saw that on TV. We may not have helped get them to that point but we can play our part in coming together as a county to support them for whatever the future has in store.
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