Up and down el Rio Blanco: We all make mistakes …

A few years ago, I don’t remember how many or what time of day or night it was, but I was surfing channels when I came across a man speaking. I don’t remember his name, who he was associated with, what or if he was selling something. I like using a line a friend of mine says, “I have a good memory, it’s just short.”
Anyway, this guy is on a stage asking the audience what we believe are the “three hardest things to do in the world.” I’m thinking climbing Mount Everest, swimming the English Channel or maybe getting oil from shale, none of these were correct.
The man told us to write down what he believed to be the three hardest things to do, in the world and so I did. I carried the piece of paper in my front pocket and would look at it from time to time, then I put it in a little wooden box on my dresser. I took it out the other day and read what I wrote, then:
The three hardest things to do in the world.
• Show love where there is hate
• Be the voice and defend the absent and…
• Admit when you are wrong.
Well I would like to do one of the hardest things in the world, a couple times. I made a few mistakes, probably several, in last week’s newspaper. The goal, of course, is to edit a perfect paper. I don’t believe I ever will but I will try every week.
Both of my major mistakes were on the front page and the first one made me kind of ill when it was first noticed.
“You spelled his last name wrong,” Ty Shepherd’s mom Cassie said, while getting her daily White Velvet Mocha.
“Oh, you’re kidding me,” I replied.
I spelled it with two Ps instead of one and a H.
“It’s OK, don’t worry about it,” Cassie said.
Of course it was also misspelled in my column. I apologized several more times and also to Ty later that night at the Cowboy Shootout.
Ty, a freshman journalism student was OK with it, he was excited his story titled, “The Choking Game,” was published on the front page.
If that wasn’t bad enough, how about printing a woman’s age and making her a year older than she is!
This was all my mistake, since I was told by the writer, Hallie Blunt, that Leota Cook was 86 not 87, as she first wrote. I didn’t make the change, I’m sorry Mrs. Cook.
We all make mistakes. The other night I listened to a couple of gentlemen do one of the hardest things to do in the world at the school board meeting, in front of a standing room only crowd.
Supporters of high school coaches Jeff Palmer and Neil Joy filled the room. Palmer had received a letter stating he would not be recommended for renewal because of a poor evaluation and Joy had been put on administrative leave by first-year Superintendent Susie Goettel, who was going to recommend his contract be terminated for cause.
Several parents and players spoke in support of Palmer, a first year head football coach. One parent said he read the evaluation and said the recommendation should be rescinded. “There was nothing in the evaluation that can’t be fixed,” the man said.
Palmer also spoke.
“This is overwhelming for me, I really appreciate it,” Palmer, who moved to Meeker at the beginning of the school year with his wife and child, said of all the support. “I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve learned from them and can improve. Everyone, no matter the position, needs to be allowed to grow.”
Joy and others were also allowed to address the board. One of the reasons the first-year girls’ basketball coach was on administrative leave was for texting one of his players. Joy said he also felt pressure from first-year activities director Brett Steinacher.
Joy said the letter he received from Goettel said the text messages were sexual in nature. Joy denied it.
Joy admitted it was inappropriate for him to text the player but said the accusation of the text messages being sexual in nature was not true.
“I screwed up,” Joy said.
Joy said he apologized to the player and her parents in their home, to his team and their parents and again to the player and her father.
The player’s mother also spoke and said although she didn’t believe the text messages crossed a criminal boundary, she did believe they crossed a professional one. The player also spoke and said although the text messages between her and her coach did not hurt her, text messages sent to another person did and made her lose respect for her former coach. The player is no longer on the team.
The player’s father said he wanted “the punishment to fit the circumstances.”
One concerned citizen spoke and said he was seeing a disturbing trend and asked why everyone needed to be at the school board meeting and why people think these contracts can be taken so lightly.
“I believe this man (Joy) has been treated heavily handed and I have some concerns with that,” the man said. “If we are going to fix some problems, we need to go all the way up and fix them at the same time.”
“I love them,” Joy said of his team. “I love the game of basketball and I love this job. I believe I have righted the situation and am asking you to let me continue as the head coach.”
Joy exercised his right to a hearing, which is scheduled for tonight at 8:30 p.m. An executive session is on the agenda but Joy can request the hearing be held in the open.
We all make mistakes and admitting them is one of the hardest things to do in the world.