Naming the press box after Joe is the right thing to do

Published 5:42 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

A quote attributed to former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge has been on my mind a lot the last few days. Coolidge said, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

When the idea of honoring Joe Crine, former ‘The Post-Searchlight’ sports editor, by gracing the Centennial Field press box with his name was suggested, I honestly didn’t think it would be that much of a chore to accomplish.

I began the process by contacting the chain of command with the school system and the high school. First, I contacted the athletic director, then the principal and then the chairman of the Board of Education. All agreed it was a good idea and indicated support for naming the press box after Joe. I was told, however, that a system policy prohibiting the naming of school system buildings after people could possibly exist.

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I was told this policy was in response to the opening and naming of Memorial Coliseum on the campus of what was then Bainbridge High School almost 30 years ago, in 1987.

Turns out, there is no such policy.

As these discussions were happening, we were in the interim period with the superintendent. Dr. Fred Rayfield was on his way to Union County and new superintendent, Tim Cochran, had yet to arrive in Decatur County.

When I mentioned this idea to Tim Cochran, he told me he would bring the issue before the board and that this would be a board decision. That’s exactly what he did at the last board meeting, and by a consensus, not a formal vote, decided that naming the press box after Joe was not a good idea.

I appreciate Tim Cochran bringing this issue before the board. With his short tenure here in Decatur County, he was unaware of the positive impact that Joe has had on this community as a whole, and the school system in particular.

While there was no formal vote, two board members, Bobby Barber and Keith Lyle, voiced backing; while the other four—Dr. Sydney Cochran, Jacky Grubbs, Kelvin Bouie, and Winston Rollins—did not support such a move.

If the issue comes before the board again, I certainly hope those who have expressed non-support will reconsider. It’s the right thing to do.

Not only do I feel honoring Joe in this way is the proper and right thing to do, many people in the community feel the same. I am obviously biased relative to this issue and don’t shy away from that fact; but the overwhelming support of the community is undeniable.

The concerns of naming the press box after Joe brought up by the board are certainly understandable, but if there were ever a time to look past those small concerns, this is the time.

At the risk of using too many clichés and quotes, another famous quote comes to mind in this situation.

The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is credited with saying, “You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

Joe has nothing to offer for this to happen, but he has already paid that price many times over the past 46 years. Whether or not he is deserving is not, and should not, be a debate. That fact is irrefutable.

Now, the issue is whether or not the board can find the reasons to do the right thing, instead of coming up with reasons to not take the action. My hope is that the former is the case.