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Letter to a younger self: Ron Hunter

(Editor’s note: This is the latest in an occasional series. Ron Hunter is the head men’s basketball coach at Georgia State, in his sixth season at the school. The Panthers play Wright State at home Wednesday night.)

Dear Ron,

A gentleman with a little less hair and slightly banged up right leg just passed you this letter, and even though you probably do not believe it, that gentleman is the 51-year-old version of yourself.

Believe it or not, things will get a lot better in the next 38 years. I know yesterday you cried all night as a 13-year-old being just one game away from the Little League World Series, but I can promise you that there will be more celebration than disappointment as you get older. You will not turn out to be the next Joe Morgan of the Cincinnati Reds, but you will do a lot of winning, marry an incredible woman and have two children who turn into incredible adults.

Despite your disappointment now, you will still end up getting a great college scholarship, just in a different sport than you might expect. Your journey to Miami (Ohio) on a full ride will lead you to three NCAA tournament appearances, playing well enough to fall just short in the final seconds of each. But do not worry, years later you will understand why it all happened.

Having a supportive wife who will follow you to places like Milwaukee, Indianapolis and then on to Atlanta will allow you to follow your new dream, while seeing your children grow into incredibly smart individuals — which is all because of your wife.

However, you will get to live one of the most incredible weeks of your life with all of them by your side. Over the course of a week, you will lead Georgia State to a conference tournament championship, subsequently tear your Achilles and then coach from a stool in the NCAA tournament, where your son will hit one of the most incredible shots you have ever seen and get to be a part of one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history — somewhere in your mind those losses in the NCAA tournament as a student-athlete will no longer hurt as much anymore. Weeks later, you will walk your daughter down the aisle. … The time will turn out to be one of the best months of your life.

You now get to live in the best city in America — Atlanta — and play golf all the time, thinking you are better than you actually are. You live an extremely blessed life, despite the fact that you still have issues making your bed in the morning … some things never change.

Even though you still are very hyperactive, you are no longer the skinniest person around … and you still do have some hair.

Remember to live each day to the fullest and try to make life better for those around you. It never hurts to help someone else and seeing the smiles on the faces of the children you help will make even the toughest losses seem inconsequential.

See you in 38 years.


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