It’s not often that someone without a lot of height can stand out in a crowd, but at CHS, one student rises above many others to become a popular figure on campus.
Carlton Dodd, or C-Money, as some call him, is a senior at Commerce High School. He has grown up in Commerce schools and now stands near the end of his time as a Tiger. Thus far, he has a lot to reflect on in life, which is saying something for someone who doctors though might not even make it this far.
Dodd, who hails from Neylandville just outside of Commerce, has had his fair share of hardships in life. He says that troubles started early for him, as birth defects hampered his early days, having to spend weeks in the hospital before he could be brought home. Throughout his childhood, these defects would worsen.
“I had lots of surgeries due to my hips and legs being deformed,” Dodd said. “Doctors would tell my family that I might not have long left.”
But as he does nowadays, he persevered. His walking ability is hampered, and he currently only stands at 4’8”, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting on a show on the basketball court.
Dodd said that he started playing basketball in the third grade, when he signed up for a youth league team. He says that he greatly enjoys getting to play basketball, now with the JV team at CHS.
“It’s a blessing,” Dodd said. “I like to get to hear the roar of the crowd out there.”
He gets to hear it quite a lot. While not a starter, Dodd has gotten his fair share of minutes on the JV squad, and the crowd regularly erupts into raucous cheers when he takes the floor. The sound they make when he drains a three-pointer is even louder.
“I feel that hype, that energy in the gym,” Dodd said. “Everybody always looks at me like an underdog, so it’s special to go out there and show what I can do.”
The three-point shot is his specialty, and he has his mother to thank for that.
“My mom played basketball at Commerce, and everyone knew her for her shooting,” Dodd said. “She helped me a lot in practicing my shot.”
Tragically, Dodd lost his mother in 2016. He says he remembers that day well, since it fell on his birthday that year. After saying his goodbyes, he did what most wouldn’t have had the strength for: he showed up to go to work the next day.
“The day after was a game day, and I showed up to practice. Coach was like ‘you know you don’t have to be here,” but it was something I had to do,” Dodd said. “It would be what my mom would’ve wanted, to not put my life on hold. I remember everyone showing me love during and after the game too, I felt part of the Commerce family.”
Athletics are no doubt a huge part of Dodd’s life, since he also serves as a team assistant for the football team in the fall. He says that he currently has acceptance offers from several junior colleges, and that his path is clear.
“I want to play basketball at Navarro College if I can, but I will want to go to community college for two years before going to A&M-Commerce for a degree in sports management,” Dodd said. “I want to be a coach.”
Commerce High School Principal Steve Drummond had high praise for Dodd, saying that he is an inspiration to others.
“He does not get deterred. He lost his mom a short time ago and he has many physical hurdles, but he still shows up to work every day in school and in practice,” Drummond said. “I’m extremely proud of the young man he’s become over the last four years.”
CHS College and Career Counselor Jenna O’Neal had similar thoughts on the senior.
“He is a true inspiration to us all, he smiles everywhere he goes, works hard and is so passionate about everything he is involved in,” O’Neal said. “This young man has had to endure pain that no child should have to. He never used [that] as an excuse but more [as] motivation. Carlton is a leader, respectful to all, kind, and a loving young man.”
Dodd says that while he may take some ribbing out on the court, he doesn’t let it get to him.
“Sometimes people on the other team will point and laugh and things like that,” Dodd said. “I just like proving people wrong.”
He had a few words for anyone who may be doubting themselves in life.
“Don’t ever say you can’t do something,” Dodd said. “If you have faith in a higher power, you can do anything.”