Game officials are human, deserve respect
Over the past few years, especially in 2017, there has been a battle on the baseball field that has pitted officials against the fans, players and coaches. I am a high school baseball official in our area and have worked games at every school in the Smoky Mountain Conference. I have umpired elite travel baseball and even had the opportunity to work several college baseball games. My experience leads me to think that even though players, fans, coaches and officials are supposed to work together to create a quality game and ensure player safety, it is not being done.
If you attended Hayesville men’s home playoff basketball game last week or ever have gone to a Mercer University women’s game it is possible you may have seen me there yelling. Yes, me, an official who has been on the other side of it. I have even yelled at other officials I know at a ball game. Here’s where I draw the line. I do not use their names, never use foul language and I don’t follow them to their vehicle after a game making them concerned for their safety. These are just a few scenarios that happened to me in the past.
When I first started I never worried about my safety but now before, during and after a game I have to worry about my own safety.
With the sport of baseball there are so many minor technical rules that people do not understand. First, a new rule that has come down in the past year or so is zero tolerance from players and assistant coaches for arguing or foul language. For an example, let’s say there is a close play at first base and I call it an out. If the first base coach simply yells, “No, he was safe,” that would result in an automatic ejection. Three years ago it would not have been an ejection, probably not even a warning unless it was being done repeatedly. If I fail to do my job by not enforcing the rules, even the minor ones that I may not agree with, I can get fined or even suspended for games.
If something doesn’t change there will be no officials left and with that no high school sports left. When I started there was a rule in place that said no official in any sport was allowed to do games above the middle school or JV level for their first two years. Last year I worked high level varsity games in Hayesville, Murphy, Franklin and Smoky Mountain with rookies or second year guys.
It is not ideal but it’s either that or no ball game. At the end of the day officials are human beings so they deserve respect just like players, coaches and fans. So I am urging you to draw the line and don’t cross it if we want high school sports to exist. - Caleb Tallman
Sarcastic letter typical of liberals’ agenda
When I started reading the letter to the editor submitted by Mickey Cochrane, I was certain the first two lines, “Bald-faced and other forms of lying have become the norm,” were surely going to go on to describe the character of either the Clinton crime family or Obama.
No so, it even went so far as to attack and insult Mike Huckabee and his daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Huckabee, a southern Baptist evangelist and the former governor of Arkansas, is no one’s “lapdog.” He took over the governorship after the criminal conviction of Jim Guy Tucker for his role in the Whitewater fiasco. Many believe Tucker took the bullet for the Clintons.
Sanders has what every former press secretary has confirmed, one of the most difficult positions in the white House. For Mickey Cochran to infer religious leaders “puny attempts at mincing shouldn’t pass muster with an eighth grader etc.,” is a terrible insult to the intellect of our religious community. I feel certain the Lord will help us since we are on the right track.
The numerous adjectives used to describe what a lie is are all true; however, there is just one word necessary to succinctly describe the past eight years under Obama — disaster. Obama must have attended the Clinton graduate program for “I don’t recall, I cannot remember and I am going to lie and you are going to let me get away with it,” class.
How conveniently the media avoids the documented facts relative to the uranium one deal with the Russians and the hundreds of millions given to the Clinton Foundation by the key benefactors of the “deal.”
This in addition to the outrageous fee paid to Clinton for a speech given to a Russian bank which was indirectly involved in the transaction. Or, the comment made by Obama to the Russian ambassador during his run for re-election, “Tell Vladimir I will have more flexibility after the election.” The Russian collusion fiasco has done one important thing, it has exposed corruption and crimes committed by the Democrats.
In the ‘90s I was a member of the congressional advisory board and I got to know Jack Kemp well. Kemp said to me one day that politics is a dirty business and isn’t it interesting how reasonable successful lawyers and other community leaders come to Washington with modest net worth only to leave millionaires. Hillary remarked they were nearly broke after paying for her lecherous husband’s legal fees and payoffs to his victims when they left the White House. Amazing how now they are multi-millionaires. Obviously, pay-for-play has treated them well.
When Hillary lost the election, the Democrats realized they were in deep trouble. All the corrupt and criminal activity they orchestrated leading up to the election was going to be eventually discovered.
Had Hillary won, we would never have heard any of what is being exposed now. So, the Democrats used a strong offense as the most effective tool to defend themselves.
However, a good offense only works if there is good factual support and they have not been able to produce any relative to a Trump/ Russian collusion.
Trump was not my choice for the presidency during the primaries. There was, however, no question when it came to a choice between the Clinton crime family and Trump. Yes, Trump has flaws and he is, like all of us, imperfect. His indiscretions have been exposed to the public in graphic details.
Cochran’s letter to the editor was filled with sarcastic comments, remarks and innuendos unsupported by fact, so typical of the liberal agenda. - Ronald A. Jakelis
Support food pantry during its fund drive
Once again, the Clay County Food Pantry is preparing for its annual matching funds drive. This will be possible due to the generous matching gift donated by Jerry and Wanda Gottlieb. The pantry will receive a matching gift for every dollar received. Donations of food items will also generate a matching gift.
The fund-raiser will run from Thursday, March 1 to Monday, April 30. Last year’s drive raised more than $23,000 from our generous community, including individuals and local businesses and churches. During the year of 2017 we were able to distribute more than 13,800 boxes of food through 10,500 family visits from Clay County residents.
If you wish to have a food drive, we will provide containers and pick them up when filled. Your tax deductible donations via check can be made out to Clay County Food Pantry and mailed to: CCFP, PO Box 853, Hayesville, NC 28904. Write “Gottlieb” on the memo line. Remember all these donations, cash and/or food items will be matched.
Thank you in advance for your support. - Sue Martinez, CCFP secretary
Presentation focuses on issues rural communities are facing
A recent article in Carolina Public Press lamented challenging economic and political conditions in rural areas of North Carolina. Certainly we feel that challenge here in our western part the state. Recent polls have reported that more than 25 percent of Clay County residents live below poverty lines while the next 10 to 20 percent above that line live a fragile day-to-day existence as jobs and wages fade.While Clay County has recently received a lottery grant for $10 million toward a new elementary school, teachers, programs and supplies have not fared so well. Much of our local infrastructure has been patch and repair as funding for much needed upgrades have been limited. Our local board of commissioners cut budgets and combined services and while small tax increases have been enacted, growing costs have negated any real gain. Despite this rather gloomy report, a relatively new local group, the Public Policy Network, is happy to present a March program with an analyst from the prestigious North Carolina Policy Watch. Alexandra Sirota will speak optimistically on how budget and tax decisions can deliver a much-needed prosperity across our state.The PPN is a newly formed nonpartisan civic organization serving Towns, Union, Cherokee and Clay counties. The group will focus on public issues like health, environment and financial security. It is dedicated to bringing communities together to have constructive conversations about issues that affect all of us. To find more information, go to their new Web site: www.publicpolicynetwork.info. North Carolina Policy Watch is a journalistic coup for an area that is regrettably ignored in statewide politics. The presentation, “Thriving Communities Across North Carolina,” will be held in Moore Hall, Hinton Center in Clay County at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. A reception will follow the presentation. We hope you will come and bring a friend. - Ruth Ballard