Less than two weeks until my triumphant return to Hamlin

Last updated: February 04. 2014 9:47AM - 1421 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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Less than two weeks until my triumphant return to Hamlin and there is excitement everywhere. I know I’m excited; my friends in Hamlin are excited; it is a joyous occasion already.


One Scott reader walked up to me in Madison and noticed the black eye I acquired when I fell on the capitol sidewalk. “Did you go back to Hamlin early?” he asked with a grin.


I assured him I had not entered the town known as “Paradise on Earth” but had fallen at the capitol instead.


I think when I get to Hamlin, I will immediately check in to one of the many motels that sprang up after Lincoln County High was built there. Then, I’ll have dinner at the Hamlin Outback or Applebee’s before the game. I seem to recall all the proponents of putting one school in Hamlin telling one and all that the town would “boom” once LCHS opened. We are still awaiting the boom from the American Legion cannon as we speak. That might be the only one ever heard in the Lincoln County seat.


* * * * * *


Previously, I mentioned my distaste for those coaches who provide the media with tons of information as long as they are winning and then go silent when they aren’t. In the case of Van High School’s head basketball coach, Dave Gogas, I can hardly say he ever provided “tons” of information. In fact, he was so “busy” on his regular job that the Bulldogs nearly missed being in our basketball preview. But eventually he returned one of my many calls and messages.


Then the regular season began and Gogas routinely got statistics from Van games to us. That was while the team was winning. Since they went into a nosedive, there has been zero communication from the Van end of the street.


I realize, and have often said, that it would be nice if the newspaper had a reporter at every game in the county. Realistically, though, that is impossible. We also do not have a reporter standing along every 25 feet of highway so we’ll “be there” when an accident occurs. It just isn’t possible to be everywhere all the time, unless you’re God, which I clearly am not.


The biggest problem I have with coaches clamming up when their team is losing is that they apparently are punishing their student/athletes for losing. They seem to believe that Little Johnny needs no publicity if he can bring wins to the coach. In my opinion, Little Johnny is just as important if his team loses as he is if they win. Winning really is NOT everything in sports, although it is important.


In response to the silent treatment from Van, I have regularly searched the Internet, gone to MaxPreps and other locations to get what little information on Van I can. That should not be necessary. Gogas should see it as part of his job to get the information to us.


As I told him early on, I will attend Van games when it is feasible. When it isn’t, the stats should be right here. Scott High School has no trouble providing the pertinent information whether I am the game or not. But not Van.


I have heard the administrative arguments that Van is a “small school” with a “small staff.” But they are staffed according to the same formula used for Scott. Somebody at Scott knows how to get statistics to us and they make sure it is done. I don’t know exactly who does it, but I credit Head Coach Nick Cabell for doing his job in this regard. Gogas is not doing his.


Nobody is saying a coach has to “report” to this newspaper to get coverage, except that we have to have the facts in order to do a story. If the coach doesn’t want to comment, we can definitely say that over and over. But we should be able to tell everyone how each individual student/athlete is doing at Van. At this point, we can’t.


I know we are accused of “favoring” Scott over Van and Sherman. We wouldn’t leave that impression if we got some cooperation from Van and Sherman. I am not going to run up the budget by driving to Van or Seth every time they play. I am not going to constantly go further in trying to find out about the Bulldogs or the Tide than I do for anyone else.


Parents and administrators at Van and Sherman should see that game results are forwarded to me and/or this paper on a timely basis.


I DO care whether Van and Sherman wins or loses. But that has no influence on publicizing the children. They deserve much better than they are getting from us.


* * * * * *


Incredible is about all I can think of to describe the Boone County board of education’s decision to provide bottled water to students but not student/athletes. First of all, I have no idea what the difference is between the two groups — all are Boone County students.


When I contacted Superintendent John Hudson about the matter, I must say the decision was quickly reversed. But Hudson argued there was no “decision” to begin with. He said he had never heard of the premise until I contacted him.


Still, parents of athletes said they were told their children could not have school-supplied bottled water for athletic events. Then, after I talked with Hudson, they were told the student/athletes could NOW have water, too.


You’ve got me how anyone would have ever arrived at a decision to cut off water from athletes. Why they would be expected to buy bottled water when there were semi-trucks full of it on the parking lot baffles my mind.


Scott High Principal Allen Halley would not say where the directive came from but said, “I was told by someone that was the policy.”


Remarkable, isn’t it?


Anyway, “somebody” quickly straightened the mess out minutes after I called. So at least “hats off” for a timely response.


* * * * * *


Sitting in the bleachers at the Sissonville at Scott game was a ball-cap wearing Logan Head Coach Mark Hatcher. Hatcher and I exchanged “hellos” but nothing else on the evening. He did not mention whether he was carrying film of the brawl at Chapmanville in his pocket. I cannot believe he left home without it.


I suppose Hatcher was scouting somebody, presumably Scott. He actually should have seen all he needed when he watched one of his players choke a Scott team member during the fight at Chapmanville. Mayve he figured another melee would break out and officials would “beckon” him on the floor to take charge.


I’ll say again that Hatcher is a fantastic coaching talent. He definitely is that.


* * * * * *


I, on the other hand, still do not intend to appear in Logan alone any time soon. A witness is always needed in a place like that.


* * * * * *


Can anyone join in hoping the atrocious winter weather is over? My, my. Scott’s make-up schedule is more challenging that the state tournament with consecutive day games the rule rather than the exception.


Although the next game is Friday at home against Chapmanville, it is rare for the Skyhawks to get time off during the rest of the season. The next day, Herbert Hoover comes to town for a make-up game before the Hawks go to Falling Rock to play Hoover the following Tuesday.


A make-up visit to Seth to meet county rival Sherman is then set for Wednesday, February 12. My visit to my adoring fans in Lincoln County follows on Valentine’s Day. What a happy coincidence. I think I’ll check in at one of the many hotels in Hamlin, then … oh, I already mentioned that.


Tuesday, February 17, will find Bluefield coming to Madison with a game at Wayne next day.


It will be quite a challenge for the Hawks to overcome fatigue.


* * * * * *


Speaking of fatigue, as one politician once said, “I retired because of illness. The voters got sick of me.” I’ll leave now, too.


* * * * * *


Keep the runmors, story ideas, game stats and comments coming. Use my email or call my cell, 304-533-5185.

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