Covering sports in Boone County

Last updated: February 11. 2014 10:15AM - 7723 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com

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All right, class. Or is it alright, class? No I don’t think so.

For the thousandths time in my illustrious sports writer career, I suppose I should point out what my “job” is. It seems that is not clear to certain coaches and/or others within the Boone County school system.

Basically, my job with regard to Boone County sports is to “cover” the athletic teams at Scott and Van high schools. I have not been assigned to Sherman, although I often say positive things about the Tide.

In “covering” a team, it is my job to provide as much information as feasible about that particular squad. I do game stories, feature stories, etc. and often comment in this space. Here, every item is simply my personal opinion. Nothing in this section is to be regarded as absolute truth and wisdom, although I am not going to knowingly lie to any reader, anywhere.

I am not directed by the newspaper’s management to become a “cheerleader” for ANY team. I would not do that if I WAS told to. The management of this newspaper is professional enough, however, that I never have to fear that happening. They want a straight, honest news story and they like personal opinion columns. Readers sometimes do as well, which is good for me and them.

There is no way I can be everywhere athletic teams are. Economics and time do not allow it. I cannot be at Madison personally covering a Scott game and be in Van at the same time. That is also not physically possible.

Reporters often do their jobs without being at the scene of the subject they are covering. As I pointed out last week, we do not station reporters every few feet on the highway so we can “be there” when a wreck occurs. It isn’t financially feasible to even logical to consider that.

Yet, some egotistical coaches think it is MY job to be there every time their team plays. Instead of doing the job THEY are assigned, they shrug off no publicity by blaming it on the sports writer.

I do not take that criticism easily,

When Van’s boys basketball coach called last week to loudly proclaim that I would be given statistics when “you come to Van,” I was not a happy camper. If he thought intimidation and name-calling would solve his woes as a pitiful basketball coach, they did not. Perhaps the frustration of being unable to produce anything close to a winner at Van is too much for him to take. Maybe the fact that he is always too busy working at his regular job or doing other things to actually “coach” Van gets frustrating.

Here’s a solution for that, coach: quit the coaching job.

If your stress level is much too high and your ability to behave appropriately is impaired, stepping down as Bulldog coach might make things better for you — and the team.

The head man is distraught that I have not followed his every movement and kissed his ring appropriately. Well, I don’t intend to. Ever.

While it is my job to provide publicity for Van teams, it is NOT my job to bow to the coach. Again, it won’t be done. Ever.

If the Van coach is too busy to provide statistics to me or any news organization, perhaps he should ask a parent to help. Sometimes, a few will do that. I wonder how many times His Worshipfulness, who told me he “does everything at Van because nobody helps” has asked for assistance?

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My job remains to publicize the Van and Scott teams. I will continue to do that to the extent possible. If the coach refuses to provide stats, it is difficult to do much. That is the fault of the coach; not me. If I know anything about how Van is doing, you will read it in this newspaper. If he refuses to cooperate, there’s not much I can do. The boys on the team and their parents should demand better. It is they who are being short-changed by a stubborn, self-centered coach.

He accuses me of “hiding behind my pen” as so many have before. As I told him, I put my name on my writing; make no attempt to hide what I think; and will gladly tell him to his face if the opportunity presents itself.

I will not, however, be pushed around by a redneck coach who thinks he can intimidate anyone he comes in contact with. You met the wall here, coach, and it will not move.

* * * * * *

Many supporters of athletic teams just forward photos and story lines to me in case the coach doesn’t get them to me. Some people appear to understand the concept that the Van coach has missed.

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The coach also assured me he is “not a school board employee” during his ranting last week. I suppose I should report THAT to the SSAC so they’ll know Van and the Boone school board are apparently violating state athletic rules. The coach has no place on the bench if he is NOT a school employee.

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Whispers during the Chapmanville Regional High School at Scott game Friday assured me that CRHS Head Coach Alan Hatcher “is pi—ed off at you.” I noticed that Hatcher hadn’t spoken to me lately but was told by the whisperers that “he doesn’t like what you’ve written about Mark (Hatcher, his son).”

I really don’t care much whether Alan Hatcher ever speaks to me or not, but he is clearly a great coach based on his record in Kentucky and now at CRHS. His son, Mark,is also an amazing coaching talent, as I have written.

I have also written the truth about the Scott-Logan brawl at CRHS, whether anyone in the Hatcher family likes it or not. I did not create the situation that led to Mark Hatcher being charged with assault and battery on a police officer and I did not behave as he did in the aftermath of the melee. I may be the only messenger with nerve enough to tell the public, in straight terms, what happened. But I am not the culprit here. I did nothing that should have offended Alan Hatcher.

I did report that he left his team bench in the middle of a game, which is unappropriate and unprofessional. Had my son been held across the street, I don’t think I would ever have done that. But he did. Like son Mark, he has received no public reprimand from anyone in authority. As noted in previous columns, the Logan school board has his its collective heads in the sand. One wonders if the superintendent or board members even know Scott and Logan played at Chapmanville that night.

Psst, board members! Logan played Scott; there was a free-for-all, the Logan coach was charged with assault and battery, the Chapmanville coach left his team bench to testify for his son. Maybe, just maybe, there is a little something out of place here. Perhaps the SCHOOL BOARD should awake from hibernation and look into it.

* * * * * *

It is fascinating to see former Harts/Chapmanville Coach Harry Kirk show such passion for his former team at CRHS. Kirk routinely sits in the stands cheering and clapping wildly for his old team.

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When I grow up, I want to feel as important as the Van boys basketball coach.

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Politics makes strange bedfellows, although some likely didn’t even know who was who. I noted that Boone County commissioners Eddie Hendricks and Mickey Brown were seated together at the Scott-CRHS game, with Lincoln County commission candidate Phoebe Harless just a few feet away. Harless’ daughter, Brooke, was part of a dance squad that entertained at halftime. The little girls represented Missy’s Dancing Divas and Kenita’s Crew.

Harless is the 2010 candidate who received the most votes for county commissioner on election day in the Democrat primary but was counted out when absentee ballots were added in. Since then, three public officials went to jail for the absentee ballot scheme and Harless is facing no opposition in this year’s Democrat primary.

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Rumors, story ideas, game stats (game stats, coach) and comments are welcome Use my email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.

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