COLUMN: Wise decisions are often difficult

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Sometimes people have distinctions that aren’t good ones, and I am no exception.

I played baseball, basketball and football since I was old enough to do so. In high school, the other two took a backseat to football, but no matter the sport or the level, one thing remained the same: I had, let’s say, trouble controlling my emotions.

In Buddy League basketball, which is fourth through seventh-grade, I was often called for technical fouls. In football, I was always the more penalized player on my team and my senior year of high school was likely among the top in the area – not a distinction of which I am proud.

I mention this because I was not a “dirty” player by any means. But, as it goes, after a few games into the season I became the target of technical fouls, penalty flags and umpires never called a strike when I pitched unless there was no doubt it was a strike.

My infractions were never with opposing players or teams, but with the referees.

While playing tackle football in sixth grade I once picked up a penalty flag, ran about 25 yards and handed it back to the referee before gingerly strolling over to the sideline.

My poor dogs immediately leave the room when I watch Kentucky basketball because of my antics, so I guess some things never change. Never has that been more evident than this past Thursday during the Mitchell vs. Robbinsville girls’ basketball game at Mitchell.

Anyone who was there will agree the game was poorly officiated. I find myself rooting for Mitchell with the same fervor as when cheering for my former high school or my beloved Kentucky Wildcats.

As the calls continued to get worse – everything was going in Robbinsville’s favor – I felt that all-too-familiar urge to express my opinion to the officials. I did not, however, instead, I remained the working, professional journalist there to cover the basketball game for the local paper.

As the game progressed, I notified my wife, Rhonda, about midway through the third quarter we needed to leave. The officiating had gotten to the point it was controlling the game and when that happens I get a feeling in my stomach like when you look at your watch and realize you had an appointment 30 minutes ago.

It’s easy to get emotional, especially when one is a former athlete. But keeping cool, although sometimes difficult, is always the wiser decision.

Brandon Roberts is publisher and editor of the Mitchell News-Journal He can be reached by email at or by calling 828-765-7169.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
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