Clear Sky Friday – Seeing Good 9/27


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The rain came to Jacksonville roughly three hours ago. While the onslaught consumed my area of the city there was still blue demanding to be seen through the gray. In anticipation of today’s lawn fertilization my Thursday post-work activity was prepping the yard, which means mowing, trimming and edging. That the sky gave an offering to the cause was an added benefit and at present the late-afternoon sky appears to be a cloud thinning event.

As I prepare for tomorrow’s MS150 my mind is considering all of those who suffer daily from an ailment that impacts their ability to be normal. Do they need help simply getting out of bed? Can they not focus long enough to read? Is hiking, swimming, biking, walking, sitting, laughing, talking so painful that they must seek other means of life stimulation? Will they never be able to see themselves as independent? Does each day demand an answer to “how will I afford this?” as opposed to  “what can I accomplish?” Is helplessness a frightening reality while love stands as a mocking stranger?

The trite next question is to ask “what are we doing about it?” but there are a myriad of complicated questions to be asked even prior to knowing what help would mean to any of those in need. So while in the throes of training (there are more events to come), something which has kept me from taking the opportunity to writer for a local magazine, and amidst a close friends reminder to make time for important things, the idea of “good” became less defined.

This week’s post focuses on taking something away from someone. It focuses on character building and how being “good” sometimes coincides with what might be considered punishment.

Matt Labrum, a football coach at Union High in Roosevelt, Utah, suspended the entire varsity football team. It was a response to bullying but it was also an aggregate of generally bad behavior. While the act itself is news worthy, that the coach made an effort to stress the story was about the players and not him gave it a sense being good for the sake of good. It would have been easy to grab the spotlight and pat one’s own back. Read CBS Sports writer Gregg Doyle’s article about it here. Or go to the original story from the Deseret News here.

Karter Rook shoveled pig crap.

That’s how Rook paid his penance — well, that’s how he started to pay his penance — for being part of the Union High football team. Understand, Karter Rook isn’t necessarily a bad kid, and he seems actually like quite a nice one. Lots of these kids are no doubt good and decent people, but what was happening at Union High was too pervasive for the coach to pick and choose who to punish. Besides which, Matt Labrum didn’t know exactly who had been behaving the worst.

He knew which kids were acting up in class, who had skipped some school, whose grades were slipping. Labrum teaches gym at Union, so if any of his player have issues at school, he’s going to hear about it.

It was the bullying that drove Labrum to act. It was done anonymously, on a social networking site called Ask.fm, but the victim went to a Union High guidance counselor and laid out the evidence that suggested the tormenters were members of the football team.

Enough, Labrum decided. Enough. He met with his coaching staff a few days before Union’s game last Friday against Judge Memorial Catholic High, and deep into the night they kicked around disciplinary ideas until finally settling on this one:

Everyone’s off the team.

Everyone.

Gregg Doyle

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