A basketball goal stands towering over the front yard of Regina Poythress’ home. Rusted iron and nylon netting are not uncommon outdoor fixtures in America—or even Clarksville, Tennessee for that matter—but hearing Regina describe it, you know this particular piece of equipments holds a deeper, symbolic meaning. For this mother, it represents her son’s resilience. It represents hard work. It represents the mantra she ingrains into her children: “Success is not a destination; it is a journey.”
Alex Poythress knows about these three things, and his spent the better part of his young adult life exemplifying them.
He didn’t make his 6th grade basketball team, and according to his mother, the front-yard basketball goal and its tiny, accompanying court, is where Alex set up shop.
“When Alex’s back is up against the wall he comes out swinging,” Regina explained.
Alex always played up in AAU leagues allowing the older players to push him to his limits. He was determined to learn from the older players.
Smiling when she looks back, Regina remembers the long hours, the sweat, the improvement, and—yes, here’s that word again—her son’s resilience.
The glow of recollecting a youthful innocence fades, however, when Regina remembers another event from Alex’s childhood. It’s an event that’s often not discussed and is little known. It’s an event that cemented Alex’s status as a survivor.
“It was a neighborhood birthday party,” recounts Regina. “There was cake, fun, and games.” Regina pauses. “I returned home for a few minutes, then everything changed.”
According to Regina, a knock on the door summoned her back to the party the 6 year old twins Alex and Alexis were attending. When she arrived at the party, she found her son lifeless, lying beside the pool. There was no heartbeat. No breath. As another parent performed CPR, seemingly no hope.
And then the resiliency kicked in. Alex came to.
“Alex was given a second chance at life that day. It was a miracle, a true blessing,” Regina recounts.
From that moment, Regina says, Alex recognized his fortune. He used it as fuel to help others and strive to be the best he could possibly be.
“Alex has been given a gift he can share with others, and he’s done that all his life,” said Regina, explaining he would help his high school teammates with whatever they needed. “If they struggled, Alex helped them. He would push them in the weight room and on the court to help them reach their dreams.”
Alex also worked at Wendy’s and maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, and somehow always found time to surprise his mom with flowers.
“No reason was necessary,” said Regina.
Every UK fan knows the story of Alex’s ACL injury. And, understandably, almost every UK fan wondered if Alex would bounce back from such a devastating blow.
But not Regina. She knows her son better than anyone.
“I knew Alex would receive the best in medical care and rehabilitation. Alexis would be there to push him through the grueling physical therapy. Things happen for a reason and this was just another part of Alex’s journey,” Regina explained.
Knowing Alex, his drive, and his story, it’s no surprise he made it through the medical treatments, the physical therapy, and the mental anguish of missing a season. Through it all, he’s had the support of his mother, his sisters, and—of course—the Big Blue Nation.
Regina expresses deep appreciation for Coach Cal and his staff. “Coach Cal and the coaching staff have presented a wonderful opportunity for Alex. They have been beside him every step of the way.”
“I cannot thank the BBN enough for the support and love of the BBN throughout Alex’s career. The Roar for #22 shirts worn by the team and fans following Alex’s injury was a moment our family will never forget,” Regina recalls.
When Alex takes the court at UK’s first home game, expect deafening applause. Expect crowd emotion. Expect a player to rise above potential and strife. That’s because Alex is a survivor. He’s resilient, and he’s succeeding in his journey.
Just ask his mother.