By the Book

By Alex Byington

"Misfortunes one can endure - they come from outside, they are accidents. But to suffer for one's own faults - ah! - there is the sting of life." - Oscar Wilde, "Lady Windermere's Fan"

It's said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Well, so is talent.

But it often seems, when the two are at odds with each other, it's the mind that wins out.

When a thought permeates long enough that it becomes common belief - even if most would argue it is incorrect - than it seems nothing can be done to counteract it.

In the athletic arena, at least in and around Killeen, that's been a major problem in recent years.

The problem lies in the fact that the four city schools - Ellison, Harker Heights, Killeen and Shoemaker - don't believe they can beat the three-headed dragon of A&M Consolidated, Bryan and Copperas Cove.

I'm not saying there aren't those individuals that think it's possible, only that those involved in the Killeen Independent School District athletic program - from the very top to the players, fans and everyone in between - can't seem to wrap their minds around actually winning those games.

In fact, many often make excuses blaming the long road trips to College Station or the city's talent pool being "decimated" when the schools split in 2000 with the opening of Heights and Shoemaker.

And yet, through all that, the city has continued to churn out sensational athletes that have gone on to do great things in the college and professional ranks.

But outside of a few select sports - mostly basketball - Killeen has struggled to do anything of merit against A&M Consolidated, Bryan and bitter rival Copperas Cove.

Since the beginning of the 2004 season, when Heights and Shoemaker joined the same 5A ranks, the city of Killeen is a combined 7-57 against the trio, including an incredible - and quite sad - 0-22 against the neighboring Bulldawgs. Consolidated is 19-2 versus everyone but Killeen High - with its lone losses to Heights in 2004 and Shoemaker in 2008 - while the crosstown Vikings are not far behind at 16-5.

But, for at least one program to turn the corner and return to the playoffs, it's going to take the unthinkable - cutting off two of that dragon's heads.

And with one of the school's most talented teams since its inception, Heights, who faces Bryan tonight, could be that team to turn corner and finally rescue the wailing damsel in distress - the city of Killeen.

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