Greeson: Those at fault at Ooltewah should face scary times

Greeson: Those at fault at Ooltewah should face scary times

January 16th, 2016 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns
Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The headline stated, "Life about to get scary for adults in Ooltewah case."

That may be the best news to come of the heart-wrenching nightmare that was last month's Ooltewah High School basketball road trip.

By now the details are as familiar as Hamilton Place mall to everyone around Chattanooga.

There may never be real answers about why something so harsh and hateful was done. Some things don't have an explanation, and evil is chief among them.

There are two main remaining questions — who in the chain of command knew what, and when did they know it; and was the victim of the serious assault targeted because he tried to report the original hazing to the coaching staff. That would carry heavy impact for the coaches, teachers and administrators at Ooltewah and into the upper administration of the school system.

The first measure of justice was announced with the headline — life should be scary for the adults at Ooltewah involved in this because it sounds like it was a nightmare for the teenage victims under their watch.

Brighter side of basketball

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to McKenzie Arena on Sunday.

For some of us, the Globetrotters were part of our childhood. Yes, that childhood happened not long after the Earth cooled and there was not a YouTube clip of everything 30 seconds after it happened. That childhood did not have 12 SportsCenters running in an endless loop.

No, we had ABC's "Wide World of Sports" which spent 60 minutes on Saturday afternoons showing us the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

The Globetrotters, of course, were the clown princes of basketball who only once tasted that agony of defeat. They were a treat, especially in person, and as a young kid, I knew in my heart those Globetrotters were better than the Atlanta Hawks or L.A. Lakers or whomever.

With time comes the understanding of the Globetrotters' brand of entertainment, but never doubt their athleticism or accomplishments.

In fact, the most famous Globetrotter of all, Meadowlark Lemon, who recently died, once told Sports Illustrated:

"When you go to the Ice Capades, you see all these beautiful skaters, and then you see the clown come out on the ice, stumbling and pretending like he can hardly stay up on his skates, just to make you laugh. A lot of times that clown is the best skater of the bunch."

If you haven't seen them, you should. It's a real-life sports highlight reel.

Ear of the beholder

You may think Ricky Gervais is as funny as a speeding ticket. That's your right, and that's OK.

But amid the growing faux outrage of our overly politically correct society in which opposing fans in Wisconsin are no longer to use cheers to heckle visiting high school basketball teams, here's a tip of the cap to Gervais' clarity.

Gervais made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner at the Golden Globes earlier this month: "She became a role model for trans people everywhere, showing great bravery in breaking down barriers and destroying stereotypes. She didn't do a lot for women drivers. But you can't have everything, can you?"

Of course, Gervais was met with harsh criticism from certain circles.

To that he replied, "Suggesting a joke about Caitlyn Jenner is automatically transphobic is like suggesting a joke about Bill Cosby is automatically racist."

In the shadows

The GOP continues to trot its warring debaters for record-setting audiences. This week's round truly started to define the tiers, as frontrunner Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio emerged as the three leading figures, both in performance and polling numbers.

(As a personal preference, Rubio has been the most impressive to me. So there's that.)

On the flip side, the Democrats continue to be content with the silent march to Iowa.

In fact, this "arranged marriage" of Hillary and the Democratic nomination continues to be in the shadows.

Heck, the last Democratic debate was on a major Saturday of college football season, and the next one of course will be this Sunday night, opposite the NFL playoffs.

They could set up three extra podiums and invite Beyonce, Oprah and Taylor Swift, and no one would bat an eye.

Poor ol' Bernie Sanders would have to start dating a Kardashian to get anyone's attention these days.

Saturday's star

This entire Ooltewah mess magnifies the high school and middle school coaches among us who work the long hours and serve as great role models and mentors.

I have had the privilege of knowing hundreds, if not thousands, across the area, and despite the horrors we know, I believe this situation is the outlier and not the norm.

With that, to the coaches that know protecting and leading and teaching your kids is your most important priority, please know that you are appreciated.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com. His "Right to the Point" columns run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on A2.

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