Editor, I wholeheartedly disagree with the Liberty County Recreation Department board’s decision to cancel the Mite Boys all-star games. The foolishness perpetrated by the coaches was unfortunate, but the board should have taken a position that would have allowed the children to play ball.
I was made aware of this debacle June 2 when Recreation Director Jimmy Martin called and invited me to a meeting to discuss plans to rectify the situation. At that meeting, it was decided to allow the coaches another chance to pick the best team. They voted, and the results were similar — if not the same. It’s a travesty when adults conspire against children for selfish reasons and, in my opinion, it’s an equal injustice when the board that has the authority to ensure a sense of fair play fails to do so.
The coaches are volunteers, and while it’s every parent’s hope that they will treat our children fairly, it’s the duty of the board to ensure fairness. Duty supersedes hope. I know or have met the board members and I believe that they tried to intervene but, in this instance, that attempt at intervention fell short.
I had hoped that the board would take this decision out of the coaches’ hands, select a team based on fairness and allow the kids to play. Canceling a game is not the same as playing a game, and these kids earned the right to play.
Throughout the community there was talk of racism, there was talk of classism, and there was talk of favoritism with regard to the selection process. I don’t know if any of these labels apply, but I do know that nothing good results from any of the three. The talk now is that going forward, the board will work to put policies in place to prevent the unfair selection of all-star teams. While that’s a good thing, it does not change what happened this time around.
It’s my opinion, the only solution — and the only way to ensure fair play — is to play fair (emphasis on play). I think a team should be selected. I think they should be awarded certificates. I think they should play a best-of-three series against each other, and I think they should have a cookout and a pool party afterward to celebrate their accomplishments. Play ball!
— Gary Gilliard
Liberty County Commissioner