When asked to describe himself in three words, McAlester senior Gage Mullins uses words like tough, dependable and resilient. That resilient trait is one that has been thoroughly tested over the years as Mullins suffered an ACL injury when he was in the eighth grade and then did the same to his other knee last fall during football where he’s been a four-year starter.
“Resilient is the trait I think is the most important because it doesn’t matter what is thrown at me, I know I can overcome it,” said Mullins. “My family was so important in being there and helping me push through stuff during my ACL recoveries and my dad can really pick me up on the darkest days and has made my comeback easier.”
Battling back from his injuries earned Mullins a spot on a district team with the Injured Player of the Year award this year.
Playing linebacker for the Buffaloes, Mullins helped lead McAlester to the Class 5A state championship game this past fall. He’s also a four-year starter in baseball and while he’s still rehabbing from his knee surgery, he hopes to get on the field later this month. As a senior leader on both teams, he feels attitude plays a big role in a team’s performance.
“When we can bring the attitude to baseball that we had in football this year it will be a game changer,” said Gage.
On the diamond, Mullins plays first base for the Buffs under the watchful eye of his dad Justin who is in his first year as the head coach at McAlester and has a unique take on playing that position.
“I like playing first base because no one notices what the first baseman does until you have a good one,” said Mullins whose nickname is Gravy Train.
Gage said some of the best advice he has heard came from NBA standout DeMarcus Cousins.
“I heard him say ‘God only gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers’ which to me means you have to keep striving and focus on your goals.”
As he winds down his senior year at McAlester, Gage Mullins wants to be remembered as a good player and great teammate and has some advice for those who will follow.
“Character and attitude are so important. Trust the process. Don’t quit just because it gets hard. You’re going to have to push yourself and you might throw up a few times, but it’s worth it.”
In his spare time, Gage likes to help his younger siblings in their athletic endeavors and would like to be a coach himself in the future.