Facing having to introduce yourself to your readers is a formality, an inevitable script that comes with this job. Whether I make it personal or not, it has my name on it, it’s personal.
I asked for space for a William McCaskill tale. I asked for two pictures. However, only way to use “I,” or to make it personal is to commit to a column. Know this though, everything that has my name on it, is personal, column or not.
I’m giving my first column away. I’m giving it to William McCaskill. Meet William McCaskill II now. He is the son of a retired drill sergeant and current spreader of the gospel in a local church. He lives in Altus, has four young boys with his wife Jessica. He gets up early and runs. He works a part-time evening shift at the new pizza place in Altus. He is preparing to leave here for Phoenix, Ariz. by Oct. 1, 2014 in order to continue his quest to run the fastest quarter mile when it matters the most. It will matter the most next year at the World Championships and in the Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.
William McCaskill II is one of the fastest humans alive.
Meet William (pic.1) 10 years ago. He’s dressed in Bulldog blue, running the 400m sprint faster than anyone in this state, earning 4 state championships. He wore Bulldog blue cap and gown and carried his honor roll diploma across the Bulldog stage.
Meet William (pic.2) 8 years ago. He is a sophomore at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee earning 3 individual and 2 team national championships while working steadily toward a criminal justice degree. One year later he will set the NAIA record in the 400m sprint clocking in at 45.9 seconds. The record still stands. If your shrugging off the NAIA part of that sentence, a quick Youtube search will pull up Usain Bolt, currently the world’s fastest man title holder, as he clocks a 45.86 seconds in the 2010 World Championships.
Meet William (pic. 3) 5 years ago. After falling for Jessica while in Oklahoma City, he is in the Army at Ft. Lewis in Washington. They are married. He wakes up and runs his PT with the rest of the enlisted. I’m sure he finished near the front. He never gets the orders he wanted for Colorado Springs where the Army track team runs. He is 34 hours short of his degree. He and Jessica are raising boys.
Again, meet William now. He wakes up and runs. He makes pizza. He is raising 4 boys. He has been offered a semi-pro status invitation to the World Athletic Center in Phoenix, the only one of its kind in the U.S. The invitation means William would reside at the center where the best coaches, trainers, nutrition experts, etc. will get William ready to run the fastest 400 meters when it matters the most.
William’s current check can’t cover the $6,000 it takes to enroll at the W.A.C. Therefore, I’m asking us all to come together as a community to send William on his quest to win the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
When I asked him if he wanted donations sent to him or maybe the newspaper, Mr. McCaskill humbly requested, “If anyone is kind enough to help me, they can send them straight to John at the W.A.C.” If this community can’t come together and send this local father of four, son of a gospel preaching and retired drill sergeant, to go beat Bolt for gold, then we can’t call ourselves a community.
William is a runner, not a pizza maker. He is humble, focused, motivated and proven. “I will run even up through the Senior Circuit after age 75. It’s what I do. So, if you do write the article, could you ask that if they can’t help me with the tuition, maybe they might have a second job or need work done. There is no Plan B for me.”
Look up worldathleticcenter.com and see what all the semi-pro level is about.
Athletes are all too often identified by the logos they represent. William told me he would proudly wear a local entity’s logo during his professional career if sponsored. If it’s the community coming together for our local boy-made-good to sponsor him, he plans on wearing the Bulldog logo as he chases history. Let’s come together and give William a chance to chase his dream, to see if he is the man/athlete he believes he is.
Let’s see if one of Altus’ own can run the fastest quarter mile of any human alive on the world’s biggest stage when it matters most.