These goodbyes hard to take

Friday, July 28, 2017

ďAll good things must end, they say...autumn leaves must fall...

I donít know just how many, but itís going to be several to adequately replace the Cherokee School Districtís newly retired trio of Lynn Jolly, Neil Phipps, and Scott Koch.

Their departure leaves a hole in the heart of Washington High and Cherokee Middle School, and mine.

I know, good teachers and coaches move on and retire every year, so whatís the big deal with those guys? Well...let me tell you.

Merging our lengthy careers in education and athletics, Iíve had the good fortune of working with them for about 100 years total.

During my lengthy career in journalism and through the years an almost daily interloper at Cherokee schools, Iíve witnessed Lynn, Neil and Scott on center stage, behind the scenes, in the classroom, and on and off the field.

And you canít believe the courage and conviction it takes to devote your entire professional life to educating and coaching our kids while forced to tolerate their episodes of stupidity and lousy behavior in the faces of misguided parents whose personal agendas white out reality and would make a Bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.

But candor and diligence and LEADERSHIP through example always prevailed with these guys and the fact they all shared a wholesome sense of decency 24-7 puts them over the top in my book.

I canít tell you how many so Iíll just say countless times Iíve driven by Washington High School on early mornings or way late at nights to see Lynn all by his lonesome pounding stakes and setting hurdles for track and field meets. Likewise Neil prepping the football field, making sure the scoreboard works, and picking up trash; or Scott trimming the baseballl field grass, spotting bases, and raking the base paths for their games.

At home basketball games and wrestling meets they shared working the scorers table, dishing out the balls, rolling out and then rolling up the mats, cleaning up blood, setting chairs, running towels and water to the refs and coaches, tossing rowdy fans and disciplining troublesome athletes, helping in concessions, and even sweeping the floor between games!

For Lynn, Neil and Scott, those tasks needed to be done - roll up the sleeves and do it. Today, many coaches and teachers fade to gray while playing the ďThatís not in my job descriptionĒ card.

Were they old school?

Hell, yes!

And, believe me, as I watch more and more of todayís kids and their behavior, we need more old school like we need air and water and anybody but present company in the Big House.

We need it badly.

Letís pray that former students of Lynn, Neil, and Scott in education come back home for their careers, and without parental and administrative interference that they pattern their work ethic and devotion after those guys whose example and impact in this community have paid and will continue to pay dividends far into the future.

For they surely have shown us the way.

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