Banks County Opinions...

May 31, 2000


Editorial
The Banks County News
May 31, 2000

Say 'Yes' to law aimed at good manners
Several southern states, unfortunately, not Georgia, are considering a "Yes ma'am" law that would require school children to use good manners. This is something that should be taught by parents. However, some children learn curse words without ever learning to say "yes ma'am" or "yes sir."
The law aimed at good manners passed in Louisiana but was voted down in South Carolina. While there hasn't been an open effort in Georgia to make this a law, it should be something that schoolteachers and principals push in their own schools. It doesn't have to be a law for it to be enforced. It could be a policy that teachers make in their own classroom.
When the next school year rolls around, let's all say "Yes" to good manners. Adults should also use good manners, such as saying please and thank you, to serve as positive role models for the children. It may be the only time some children hear these words.


Column
By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
May 31, 2000

Bobby Morris
All children are scolded by their parents at some time for acting out of turn.
Parents teach their children the way to behave in hopes that someday even when the childern are on their own, they will still live right.
As a surrogate parent to everyone he encountered, Bobby Morris has left a tough standard of friendship, patience and loyalty for all of us live up to.
While no one ever stands perfect, it is hard to imagine that any of us could match the shadow he quietly cast.
Unfortunately, the power of a simple smile is not so easily felt until it is gone.
When it became my responsibility to write a story about what Bobby Morris meant to Banks County, I learned two things very quickly.
The first lesson was that I did not have the time to talk to everyone with something good to say about him.
Longtime friend and fellow coach Dennis Marlow summed up that point for me.
"If you fill your paper up from front to back, you couldn't cover what kind of person he was and what he meant to this community," Marlow said.
I suppose it would have made a better story to talk to more people, but the second thing I learned was that I could not take hearing those things. It is hard to grieve for a lost friend or loved one. It is not easy to hear people going through that grief.
While everyone who knew him has their own special stories, many of them share similar themes.
People will remember his smiles. It is hard to think about anger and Bobby Morris at the same time.
How many kids from Banks County are there out there whom he taught to drive?
Marlow said he spent more time with Bobby Morris than he did with his family while they were coaching together.
"You can't replace a man like Bobby Morris. It's just not possible," Marlow said.
"A lot of the kids looked up to him because they knew. Give kids some credit. Kids know deep down in their heart who they can trust. He was a friend to every student he came in contact with."
Banks County High School principal Jan Bertrang said she was amazed at how he could remain calm in in the passenger seat of the driver's education car.
"When I would ride with him for evaluations, he was very patient with them when I was ready to start screaming. He made every opportunity a learning experience."
Marlow said he got a refresher course in loyalty before the last season the two coached football together.
"We had been to the playoffs the past two years," Marlow said. "We talked a long time about the coming year. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew the team was going to be young.
"We debated whether we wanted to come back and coach another year. He looked at me and said, 'We can't turn our backs on them.' He was right. And that was the last we talked about not coaching the next year."
Everyone who knew him can add their memories of him. We can share those memories with each other.
We can remember.
After that, it is up to us to take his example and live right.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor of The Banks County News and The Commerce News.

(read the story on the Banks County News front page)

Column
By Jana Adams
The Banks County News
May 31, 2000

Views from the teeball field
I was scolded for not making it to one of my nephew's recreation league basketball games during the winter, so I made sure I got to at least one of his teeball games. It was the next-to-last one, which doesn't say much for me as an aunt, but I did get there.
But I planned to go to a basketball game, but there was that ice storm, but, but....It's really hard for me to get away from work early on Tuesdays, but, but...
When I say I was scolded, I mean it came from the source, from my 6-year-old nephew Bryson. You read my excuses, could you look at his upturned freckled face and clear brown eyes and tell him those things in any way that would make sense? No. I couldn't either.
Actually, it wasn't a scolding, it was a straightforward, sharp jab into the regret plexus.
"Bryson, I'm sorry I didn't get to see you play basketball," I said after a Sunday lunch one day at my grandmother's house.
"That's because you didn't come to a game," he said.
Well. How do you respond to that? Yeah, that's true, sorry? But, see, I work late on Tuesdays....Nope, that doesn't get it. After all, what is more important?
So I made inquiries early on into the teeball status - when were the games going to be, when did it start, etc. It didn't seem to start for a long time. They were still practicing, still practicing, not yet, no, not yet. I went about my work and usual routine, then suddenly there were only two games left.
I headed out on a Tuesday evening to the Jefferson ball field and arrived just as my sister Lisa and niece Kate did. My brother-in-law Steve was already on the field in his coach mode, so we headed up the hill, me armed with my camera, Lisa carrying a water bottle and Kate holding tightly to an orange candy lipstick. As we neared the field, I saw that Bryson was stepping up to bat. I hurried and got - I hope - a shot of him making contact with the ball.
A good thing, too, since I learned that in teeball, the players on each team bat twice and then the game is over. At each bat, the player gets three chances to hit a pitch thrown by his or her coach, then can hit off the tee until successful contact is made.
We and other fans watched and cheered from the bleachers while little players in big uniforms stepped up to bat, one after the next. Bryson played for the Braves this year, and his team was dressed out in blue jerseys and caps, with gray pants bunched into white socks pulled high to the knees.
"Hey, Jana!" Bryson called out from right field, waving, and I was glad to be there.
Patience is crucial to the game - patience from the coaches who slow-pitch at a close range and patience from the outfielders waiting for action.
But at the crack or clank of the bat, all chaos breaks loose. The pitcher/coach steps out of the way, the batter runs hopefully toward first base and players in the outfield, infield, or both, depending on where the hit goes, scramble together for the ball.
When the dust settles, usually the batter is standing on a base and the pitcher ends up with the ball again. In some cases, I saw the batter just run and run and run, making his way around all the bases without regard for the ball. In other cases, I saw a young player jump up and snatch the ball out of the air with his glove or one crack the ball into the outfield at the first swing. Runners slid into first base, second base, third base and home plate gleeful in their newfound experience with sports.
There was no way to know what to expect. And it really didn't matter. There was no winner, no loser, just happy kids and parents talking and laughing on the sidelines.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

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