Once Upon a Time there was a lovely gentleman. He was well loved and respected by those who know him. This man was good at his job and his co-workers and players alike, celebrated his accomplishments and supported him unconditionally.
Suddenly a “terrible outsider” entered the kingdom and disrupted the community’s perception of fairness and future, and the kind respected gentleman, while showered with support, became the center of a name-calling battle where some of his well-meaning supporters grabbed their torches and pitchforks and verbally attacked another gentleman, who may very well be, just as kind, respected, deserving, and able as the other.
…. Do you follow me?
I waited to write this post out of fairness and faith. I have only heard wonderful things about our high school basketball coach, and I truly believe that he is the man that everyone praises so highly. I’m sure he is kind and devoted to his players and students. I’m sure he would have done well at the position that his friends were hoping he would have handed to him. “He deserves it,” has been said over and over by countless people: some of whom have also said in the past that there is too much nepotism and “good old boy” politics in this town. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone because the disappointment I’m sure many people feel is real and fair to them. Perhaps if I knew him better or at all, I would feel the same way. I don’t know Coach Benedict and I’m writing this from the outside. I’m writing this as a community member who has students who play sports, although not basketball, and wants what is best for our schools.
I was asked before the Facebook trash-talk and posts began what I knew about Mr. Penrod retiring by several people, and I honestly answered that I didn’t know a thing about it, or if the rumor was even true. Things escalated quickly from supporting Coach Benedict to some people taking to persecuting Mr. Leitch with absolutely NO knowledge of Mr. Letich’s background, credentials, or regard for his character. It went from supporting someone they love and care about, to attacking someone they didn’t know. It went from caring to hating.
I was happy to hear last night when at a elementary school program, that the school board meeting went well and without any craziness. I was told that there was a large crowd and that about four community member stood up to speak in favor or Coach Benedict, as they had the right to do! They were respectful and did a great job of communicating their position on the Athletic Director’s job. I was also told that those who were so “loud” in Cyberville sat quietly but didn’t bother to stand up and say anything when they had the chance to be heard. ……..
I left feeling proud of our little town that we could disagree and still leave with our head’s high even in the face of disappointment by some. That all took a dump this morning. We went Donald Trump campaign debate style and verbally attacked someone’s sister in a parking lot because her brother got a job? PLEASE tell me this is just a rumor. Please tell me that we didn’t really lower ourselves to making threatening phone calls and sending letters to his home! Please tell me these aren’t the same people who are all for hiring outside the circle when it benefits them and then turn the tables when they didn’t get their way!
I am embarrassed. I can’t help wondering how our coach feels this morning after hearing these rumors. I’m sure he is embarrassed, nervous, ashamed, and disappointed as well since he will be working with the new AD, and since I have a feeling that he wouldn’t ever want anyone treated this way. Speculating is never a good idea and I shouldn’t put my words, or thoughts, onto Mr. Benedict at a time that is already stressful for him. It isn’t my intention to belittle him or his capabilities in the least but to vent my frustrations the actions taken by some when trying to welcome new people into our community.
So, without discounting anyone’s hopes or abilities, I would like to welcome Mr. Leitch to Columbia City High School. We have have great student athletes, a new building on the way, and not everyone will be so hateful as the small handful who have chosen to go above and beyond supporting their friend or coach. I hope that your first impression will not be the impression you take with you in the end.