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Sometimes the truth is in the numbers, or box score

I was eager to get my hands on last Saturday's newspaper to see in print the line score of Abram Cartledge's no-hitter from Friday night. I was reading it with joy when my eyes caught a glimpse of another line score printed above it, Richmond Academy 32, Glenn Hills 1. To boot, this was a three-inning game.

My advice for Glenn Hills High School baseball? It is time to quit. I already knew it, but this proves it. Richmond Academy is not a baseball powerhouse and the only fault I have with the Musketeers is for embarrassing both schools by calling this score in to the newspaper. The only good in reporting it is that Glenn Hills may finally get the message.

I'm not writing this to dwell on the fiasco that is Glenn Hills baseball but to ask the citizens of McDuffie County to think about this one question. How would you like to open the newspaper to read that Thomson High School totally humiliated itself in baseball or any other sport? Just picture it, Washington-Wilkes 32, Thomson 1.

Like many of you, I am not an alumnus of THS but it would still chap my behind if that were the state of things within the Bulldog athletic program. I work in the school system, pay school taxes and my children graduated from Thomson High so that is more than enough to make me care. Even if you don't qualify under any of those clauses, I couldn't imagine that you would still not be disgusted if our adults gave our children such a demoralizing public butt whuppin'.

My point is this. The blame for 32-1 lies totally at the feet of the superintendent, athletic director and school board in Richmond County and the administration and coaches of Glenn Hills High School. Some of the blame can also be passed to the parents of the boys on the team. These people are supposed to be responsible adults. They are the ones that let this school's baseball program get in this shape. If you don't believe it just go and take a look at the Glenn Hills baseball field.

If a school fields a team, then the grownups should do everything in their power to give that team a chance to at least be competitive. If you are not going to do that, then drop the sport. The kids that want to play bad enough will find somewhere else and they will be the better off for it.

There is a small minority of citizens in every community that believe that schools should not be investing money in athletics. They have their reasons and examples like 32-1 just give them one more. Thankfully around here that minority is lost in the wilderness and nobody pays them any attention.

Sure there are some schools that go overboard with spending on athletics. I won't deny that. They are trying to keep the best coaches and build the grandest facilities. Pride has a lot to do with that because there is no doubt that athletics is the public relations mechanism driving most school systems. Folks from every educational demographic will pay to see a ball game but even the most educated seldom will buy a ticket to a spelling bee. That's just the way it is.

Let's cut to the chase. This goes for everywhere, but specifically I'm talking to those of us that live in McDuffie County. Let us never create a situation where we wake up to read in the newspaper that we let our young student-athletes get humiliated simply because we don't care. Sure, caring has a financial cost to it and things are tight right now but don't use that as an excuse.

Anything beats being on the wrong end of 32-1. If it comes to that we have nobody to blame but us. If we let it get that bad it will be time to stop fooling ourselves. Sell the equipment and use the money to hire the best spelling bee coach we can find and see what that does for our community pride.

Web posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009

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