While their playing days might be over, the lessons Hancock County’s community leaders learned on the sports fields continue to guide them today. In this week-long series, we look back on the positive effect athletics had on their lives.
GREENFIELD — It isn’t always easy being the younger brother, especially if older brother is the exact definition of an all-around athlete.
There can be a pressure, both self-imposed and from outside forces, to live up to the glory, for the younger brother to match his elder sibling in anything and everything.
Jamie Bell preferred to take a different approach.
“I kind of always wanted to do what big brother did,” Bell said of his older brother, Kevin, who he also referred to as a “superstar.”
“He had a good time playing sports and I learned from that,” added Bell, the Director of Operations for NineStar Connect. “I might not have known it then, but you pick up work ethic and working on a team. That’s a big part of life, working on a team.”
Kevin, a 1982 Greenfield-Central graduate, played football, basketball and baseball for the Cougars. Though Jamie – who graduated from G-C in 1987 – said Kevin held his fair share of school records in his day, Kevin retains two G-C hoops marks presently: single-game scoring (50) and single-game field goals converted (20), both of which he co-holds with John Hamilton, who equaled the two records during the 1999-00 season.
Instead of burdening himself with expectations to live up to Kevin’s accomplishments, Jamie set out on his own course – and he wound up finding his own athletic success.
During his junior season, Bell, coach Cliff Hawkins and the rest of G-C basketball team won the Central Suburban Conference title – no small feat considering the conference included the likes of Brownsburg, Center Grove, Franklin Central, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, Pike and Warren Central.
“Gelling and working together is pretty neat and shows that hard work pays off,” said Bell, thinking back to 1985-86 Cougars. “We were always good friends with everybody within the county, kind of like networking within a community on the work force side.”
Coming into high school, Bell had to make a choice between baseball and track for his spring sport. He chose the latter, and wound up high jumping for renowned Greenfield coach Clayton Myers along with some of his basketball buddies.
At the 1986 Hancock County Meet at Mt. Vernon, Bell set a meet record by clearing 6-7.75, a mark that still stands and was pivotal in the blue-and-gold winning the team championship that day.
“I could always jump really well. I always enjoyed it. I went ahead and pursued that and did really well,” Bell said. “There was still that teamwork, even in an individual sport.”
Bell cited Hawkins and Myers as well as Bob Bird and Glenn Heaton as coaches who left a profound influence on him as a youth.
“I think I learned a lot from all different coaching methods. It got me ready for what I call the ‘Real World’. Clayton Myers was a very much a mentor for me. He was my track coach that I believe was also a major part of who I am today. I learned what work ethic really meant, and how you can achieve great things with hard work,” Bell said. “They all could motivate you. They went about it in different aspects and had different ways of coaching, but I respected all of them.”
Bell, now in his 22nd year with NineStar, relishes his time as a Cougar and hopes current prep athletes do the same.
“I think it has been very important to have the opportunity to experience being a part of a winning team,” he said. “I would hope that all high school athletes could look back and feel like they had the time of their life – that should be the best years of their life. That is a time where they will build relationships with other competitors within their county, or even within the state. This will help long after they move on with their careers.”
Director of Operations at NineStar Connect
Education: Greenfield-Central High School; Ivy Tech (Undergraduate); Indiana Statewide Association, Lineman School
Family: Wife, Lori