SCHS loses family, friend and leader

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

His parents expected to see him graduate from high school, his coach expected to see him reach the highest level on the basketball court and his friends expected to see him at his locker Monday morning.

Cortez Cotton was living up to every one of those expectations before his life tragically ended early Sunday morning.

He was a senior at Shelby County High School and planned to graduate

and attend college. He was going to play on a college basketball team and continue his storied and successful sports career.

But without warning he was taken away from those who loved, respected and admired him most.

The Shelby County High community is in mourning today at the loss of Cortez Cotton. Few people will go through this week without feeling some impact of losing one of the community’s biggest men.

I only had two opportunities in my short time working at the Reporter to talk to Cortez, once when I interviewed him as the Reporter Player to Watch in 2005-06 and again after his team’s loss to Jess Lanier last Saturday night. Both times he had the same attitude &8212; optimistic.

When I talked to him a few weeks ago, he was excited about the chance to lead the Wildcats to a state championship. When I talked to him Saturday, he was already forgetting the loss and preparing for the next win.

That was the little of Cortez I knew. He was always aiming high, and a lot of the times, he achieved even higher.

Hundreds of stories will be told in the coming days about the person Cortez Cotton was. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing a few of those already. I look forward to being a part of the celebration of his life, as his teammates head back out onto the court and his fellow students take their seats in the classroom.

I didn’t know Cortez Cotton beyond the few minutes I shared with him during the past month, but from those moments I learned what kind of person he was.

The sudden loss of a young life is hard to take, but we must not ignore the impact that life had on so many people in such a short period of time. I’m sure we can all agree that Cortez wouldn’t want it any other way