My son-in-law, Bryce Mize, gave me a thoughtful and great Christmas gift, a ticket to watch the Pacers play the Charlotte Hornets with him. It was competitive throughout with the Pacers able to finally pull ahead at the very end.

If you have not had a chance to watch the Pacers this season, then I would encourage you to take in a game. They play well together and hustle from the beginning until the final buzzer while winning frequently. It makes the experience for all of their fans very enjoyable!

While watching the Pacemates lead in cheering them on, I started thinking about the time and effort they have to put into their routines recalling the hours our daughters spent as cheerleaders for Hauser. When going through the Game Time booklet, I noticed three were featured, one from Columbus, Nici. On the way home, I shared with Bryce how an outstanding student in my first fifth grade class, Debbie McCarty, had tried out for the Colts cheerleading squad when they first came to Indianapolis and had performed quite well.

Recently, I went to the Hope Library and pulled out the 1984 Hope Star-Journal figuring there had to be an article about Debbie. While going through it page-by-page, there was her picture in the June 21st edition at the age of 19 with an excellent article by Catherine Biggs entitled "Invited To Try Again Next Year-McCarty Loses Out On Final Call." I pulled the following from the article:

"The Indy Colts wanted cheerleaders, and they made this fact known to the world at large by advertising on T.V. At Butler University, where the tryouts were held, Miss McCarty found that she was one of 860 young ladies with the same idea.

"The hopefuls learned a 30-second balletic jazz dance routine and performed it in groups of 10 before a panel of judges..."

"She stayed in the final competition until the final 40 cheerleaders. Miss McCarty placed 49th... She and the others who made the finals were told to come back the next year."

Did Debbie return? She elected not to while pursuing a degree in education which she received from IU. (Interestingly, Nici is also getting a degree in education.) In time, she married Julian Smith who I had as an excellent student teacher. I was also very fortunate to have their three sons in fifth grade, Davis, Brooks, and Dietrich. Mrs. Smith is now in administration at Greensburg.

So, what would have happened to Debbie if making the squad. When reminiscing with her a little, she doesn't think about it much, but she will never forget the experience and encourages young people from our community to chase dreams, whatever they might be. As stated within the Winter Olympics, dreams are captured by people from small towns and large towns every day.

There are a lot of people, including present and former students, who are probably not aware Mrs. Smith, Debbie McCarty, was very close to being a cheerleader for the Colts. It is my opinion that some should ask her to go through the routines again. I suspect she will say walking is her priority now and taking care of her first grandchild soon to enter into this world, that she would not want to take any chances of pulling a muscle or breaking a bone.

However, I suspect she can still recall and would be willing to share a few special moments about those wonderful days thirty-four years ago.

She might even talk about being crowned princess as a fifth grader when raising the most money for a Hope Elementary Fund Raiser during my first year, 1974!