Fort Knox senior Liam Kaune learns life lessons through athletics
by Mike Mathison
The News Enterprise
Fort Knox | November 1, 2019
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be an athlete at Fort Knox.
“There were a lot of times I wanted to give up,” Eagles senior Liam Kaune admitted of his four-year soccer career. “My dad was the garrison commander for two years and he didn’t think it would be a good look if the garrison commander moved off-post. I agreed with him.”
Kaune is running cross country and his goal is to reach the state meet.
“I ran one meet near the end of soccer because I wanted to get a feel for it,” he said. “I thought, ‘Hey, if I’m gonna be running this much for soccer, I might as well win doing it.’ Right? I hate to say that, but we just didn’t have a good season this year.”
Fort Knox went 0-17 after bowing out in the first round of the 17th District Tournament.
“I’d love to have some wins, don’t get me wrong,” Kaune said. “I won’t lie to you, sometimes we got pretty mad at each other. Our coach this year (Ryan Limes) kind of pounded it into us that once you start something you don’t quit. You finish the job you start. That’s how men operate. That’s how you have to do your business.”
Kaune lost his last 30 straight high school soccer games and finished his career at 4-63.
“I think you learn how to persevere,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing I have learned. You’ve got to figure out how to lead. You’ve got to figure out how to persevere through adversity. That’s the biggest thing Fort Knox has to offer. You’ve got to work if you’re gonna stay there.”
Fort Knox’s last win was Aug. 29, 2018.
“You learn that sometimes there are bigger things than sports,” Kaune said. “I think that gets lost, especially in high school. I love Ohio State, but it’s not the be-all-end-all if they lose. There’s bigger things. Sports have been a blessing. I love them and I’m going to keep playing them, but I have to start living life besides sports.”
The Eagles were outscored 242-15 during that 30-game skid.
“I’ve developed some pretty good bonds here with some good friends,” Kaune said. “Everyone complains about Fort Knox. I know everyone off-post talks bad about the school, but it’s really not that bad. The opportunities that Fort Knox has afforded me have been great. I wouldn’t be able to play basketball off-post. I love basketball. I want to be able to stay and play.
“Whenever I wanted to quit, I remembered how other people who played soccer for us, when they moved off-post, how that made me feel. Since I’m such an important part of the team, it wouldn’t have been fair to my teammates. They’re my brothers. We went through all that and I just couldn’t leave them for my last year. I want to graduate with the guys I was with for four years. There’s like six or seven of us and I just couldn’t leave them. I think it’s important that I finish that with my brothers.
“I think we have to carry ourselves in a different manner. I don’t think Fort Knox is better than any off-post school. But I do believe because we are on a military base, we represent the federal government and we have to carry ourselves differently. Sometimes we don’t do a good job, but I believe we should.”
Another thing unique to Fort Knox is the recruiting process of athletes to get ready for a fall sport.
“It’s a lot harder for soccer because summer is when everyone moves, everyone PCS’s (Permanent Change of Station), so we’ve got to get out and recruit as soon as school ends to see who’s moved in and to see who’s moving,” Kaune said. “You’ve got to keep track of your players. I think we kept track of 10 before the soccer season and we had to try to pick up a few more.
“Basketball is a lot easier because we would have been in school. Coach (Kip) Rambo has been there for a long time and he understands how bases work. He understands the process that teams need to go through before they can start clicking. He does a really good job of getting our stuff together and helping us form a team.”
The KHSAA Region 2, Class A meet is Saturday at Ephram White Park in Bowling Green.
“I love competing,” Kaune said. “I like getting second place (like he did Saturday at the Ryan Snellen Bruin Campus Rumble at Central Hardin), that’s for sure. I’d rather get first. It’s just fun. I was mad I never started running until now. I started running track last year. Turns out I’m decent at it. Track is a lot of fun.
“I’ve only played team sports, but in track, here it is, it’s all on you. You make your own destiny. You work or you don’t and that’s what determines your success. That’s what I love about it. I love track, almost as much as soccer.”
Cross country is at another level.
“It sucks,” Kaune said with a laugh. “After it’s done, you don’t remember the race. But, during the three miles you’re, ‘I want to die. I want to die.’ You’ve got to find a way to give your heart and your soul to something.”
Kaune is looking at attending Eastern Kentucky University, majoring in Recreation and Park Administration through the College of Health Sciences and possibly running track.
But those decisions still are to be made.
In the meantime, he’ll finish cross country season, play basketball and prepare for track.
“I love Coach Terry (Turner), but don’t get me wrong, your coach is supposed to be your enemy sometimes and he does a good job of that,” Kaune said with a laugh of his cross country and track coach. “During track practice, the only thing going through my mind is, ‘I hate you. I hate you.’ It’s all love. I just hate what he makes us do sometimes.”