“Write down the name of Jordan Roberts.”
While nobody in Boone County or the adjacent area will need to be told to remember Roberts, the former Scott High School football sensation, those are the words of Ottawa Sun sports writer Tim Baines in a recent edition.
To say Baines is impressed with the ex-Skyhawk running back/all-around star would be an understatement. “Roberts, the fifth player signed to the Ottawa RedBlacks roster, back in early December, has serious game,” Baines wrote on April 9. So serious, in fact, that local fans will recall he was named the Kennedy Award winner as a senior, signifying him as the best high school football player in the state.
Truthfully, Roberts was all of that and more and he is carrying on his tradition in the Canadian Football League. Baines notes that the Sod resident was a two-time all-american at the University of Charleston, where he set records. At Scott, Roberts rewrote the record books, both for SHS and the state.
Baines, of course, also recognizes something every sports writer who ever covered Roberts has observed: his tremendous work ethic and tenacity. No matter the time of day or night, throughout his high school and college career, if there was a practice, a scrimmage or any time set aside where he could improve his talents and conditioning, Roberts would be there working hard.
I had the distinct honor of covering Roberts as a midget league player at Duval and watched him develop at Scott and UC. There is no harder worker anywhere than Jordan Roberts.
Roberts’ Twitter account has 16,000 followers, Baines reported. Beside the fact that I wouldn’t know a Twitter from a Hitter, that’s impressive even to me. The Ottawa writer says there are videos of the player working out on YouTube that are amazing to watch. No doubt. Baines calls him “a workout warrior.” At 5-10, 222 pounds, Roberts idolized National Football League greats Fred Taylor and Marshall Faulk. For that reason, he wears their number, 28.
“I don’t want to compare myself to them,” he told the writer during RedBlack mini-camp in Virginia. “They were great running backs. Like them, I want to be a versatile player; do everything.” Roberts was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last August and signed on with Ottawa, an expansion CFL team, a few months later.
“You go out there and work hard every day,” he told Baines. “Put it in God’s hands and He’ll take care of you. I’m just focused on the Ottawa RedBlacks right now and making the most of my opportunity and helping the team be successful.”
Roberts, himself, will always be a success because of his devotion to hard work and fair play. He and his family are quality members of the local community and he is blessed to have such support from the home base.
As noted, I am thrilled to have covered Roberts’ career and consider him the hardest-working talent I have seen in high school ball.
Do not doubt that I, and many others locally, will be cheering him on in the CFL.
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Meanwhile, Boone County house of delegates member and Danville town manager Josh Barker and his wife, Jill, have welcomed home a new, bouncing baby girl. The little charmer was born last week at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston and is the couple’s second daughter. She joins big sister Katy at the Barker homestead. Jill Barker is an administrator at Chapmanville Regional High School.
Since I have never been known to mix religion, sports and politics (just ask management at The Lincoln Journal), there is a sports connection here. Barker is a former Marshall University football player and ex-assistant coach at CRHS, where his uncle George Barker is the long-time, successful head football man and athletic director.
Okay, you ask, what does having a baby have to do with sports? Let’s see … I lost my train of thought. Oh, I never HAD a train of thought. What COULD having a baby possibly have to do with sports?
Oh yeah … now I remember where I was headed with this. Baby girl Lillian’s dad has enlisted the assistance of a big-name football coach in his re-election campaign. To try to clear this up: legendary MU Coach Bobby Pruett has endorsed Josh Barker for re-election to the house of delegates from Boone, Lincoln, Logan and Putnam counties. Whew! Good recovery, I said to myself. No politics in this column, that’s for sure.
In addition to announcing he’s for Barker, who played for Pruett at MU, Pruett plans to attend a Democrat rally at the Lincoln County fairgrounds near Hamlin on May 10. There, he will be speaking on behalf of Barker and his campaign.
Did I mention that Barker and his wife have a new baby? Oh yeah, I already did that.
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If anyone doubts what a great coaching talent Pruett was, just look at Marshall’s record before and after he arrived. Although a turnaround in the Herd fortunes had begun before Pruett got there, the Pruett years were the glory years for MU. George Chaump and Jim Donnan got the victories rolling but nobody took Marshall to the heights Pruett achieved. Current Coach Doc Holliday is nowhere near the in-game coach that Pruett was. If he had been, the Herd record would be at least five wins better during Holliday’s tenure.
There is no doubt the current coach and ex-WVU assistant can recruit. He simply does not make good decisions during the game, although there was some minor improvement last season. We’ll see how the process of becoming a truly successful head coach rolls on.
In the meantime, since I don’t mix religion, politics and sports, I won’t be able to be at the fairgrounds in early May, just three days before the primary election nor can I endorse Barker in this space. I will, however, urge voters to nominate Little Lillian’s dad in my column, “Gregory’s Web.” I never mention sports or religion in that one.
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Let’s see … since I don’t have a religion column, where AM I supposed to write about that?
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Sports and religion … not much difference, really. Maybe I can get away with just ONE religious comment. After all, Jordan Roberts referred to God in his talk with the Ottawa reporter.
A recent letter writer, in response to my “Web,” basically proclaimed that I am going to hell in a handcart because I believe in absolute predestination. The writer said I had abandoned any “spiritual worship.” Oh come now.
Simply put, I and other like-minded people such as John Calvin, believe God actually meant it when He said he is ever-present, all-knowing and all-powerful. He did not say he is all of those things IF human beings, of their own freewill, setup some sort of “spiritual worship” idolatry system. What drives Bible-thumping, freewillers crazy is that I and those I associate with have a simple explanation for ALL things: God predestined it. He is either all-powerful or He is not. In the “spiritual worship” system advocated by the letter writer and the vast majority of my readers, God is all-powerful IF humans allow Him to be. An “all-powerful” God cannot save you from eternal damnation unless you “ask” him to. They all join hands and pray that God “hear our voices” and allow someone on his or her deathbed to live. What happens when the person just goes ahead and dies? Did God ignore those in the prayer circle? Or was the “prayer warriors” faith simply not strong enough?
If God is all-powerful, He doesn’t need my help or yours to do ANYTHING. He doesn’t need me to “stand on the street corners like the scribes and pharisees” praying some elongated prayer to get His attention. Did you really ever listen to one of the pre-game prayers at public facilities in defiance of federal law? Ah, there’s the sports connection, after all. The minister spends precious minutes telling God what all is going on at the athletic event, in his or her life, in the lives of the fans, etc., etc. After all, God wouldn’t have known it if the preacher hadn’t told him about it in a public forum, right?
It is insulting and downright wrong to pray a Christian prayer in a public facility. It is offensive to those who do not believe that Jesus Christ is God’s “only begotten” son. But I have found that, by and large, mainstream Christians do not mind offending those who do not share their points of view. They “thump” the Bible (which HAS to be a revised King James Version) and declare every word in it is directly from God. Well, God apparently got confused on Jesus’ birth because there are monumental differences in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s description of how that happened. And Bible-thumpers, who claim to believe every word of the KJV is to be taken “literally,” refuse to believe St. Peter was the first pope. That, in spite of the fact that Jesus is alleged to have said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” But Peter, according to fundamentalists, was NOT Catholic and was, I suppose, a Bible-thumping Pentecostal or Baptist or something.
Here it is, one more time: I believe God is all-knowing, ever-present and all-powerful. Bible-thumpers do not believe that. They feel men and women are responsible for their own actions, their own salvation and are in complete control of everything. A Creator cannot be all-powerful and allow his subjects to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it. If there is no predestination, how on earth do fundamentalists know who will win the so-called “great battle” when the world ends? What if Satan, of his own freewill, destroys his adversary? What then?
If I build a car to drive, I will likely control that car from the steering wheel and not allow it to decide, of its own freewill, where to go. God is no less a Master.
Let’s close our Bibles now, ignore Romans 8 and, frankly, every word of the King James Version, and declare the “plan of salvation” that requires US to control it. Oh, vain men and women who must suffer their own vanities.
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Comments, rumors, story ideas (even about sports), and game scores are welcome. Use my email address or call me at … Well, if it’s predestined that you will call me, I don’t need to list the number, do I? God will give it to you if He wants you to have it. Wink, wink. He’s not looking right now, so it’s 304-533-5185.