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Inside the Chrome Dome (archive December 2006)

Please refer to the Inside the Chrome Dome main page for columns published in other issues.




 Support, Guidance Were Once Hallmarks of CAB Discipline

One of the things I like the most about my job is I get to be involved in the newspaper business, but all I have to worry about is high school sports.

My boss doesn’t make me get involved in the politics of school boards or town councils. I don’t have to find myself stuck in the middle of bickering over who is the police chief or superintendent, who is hiding or withholding information and who is joyriding with teenagers. The bickering among the local political factions rarely reaches the hardwood of high school gymnasiums.

But when those subjects do get breeched, and they have recently, I find myself reminiscing about some of the more interesting athletic-related controversies that have occurred over the years. Just as important, I remember how those issues were handled.

There have been some interesting, and some rather funny, incidents occur over the years that many readers will remember. Some were not as infamous as others, but they still deserve one more moment in the sunshine.

Back in the early 1960’s, many members of the Knightstown basketball team were booted off of the squad because of their involvement in the theft of a considerable amount of Coca-Cola. The kids weren’t expelled from school, however. Board members agreed the crime was not severe enough to warrant an expulsion.

The community rallied around the depleted basketball team, which was now fielding a mainly junior varsity squad. They packed the gym for every home game, cheering louder than ever. Does that incident ring a bell with anyone?

If memory serves me correctly, it was in the early 1970’s that some cheerleaders and players from the Knightstown eighth grade basketball team decided to steal some team jerseys from a locker room at Tri High.

They were caught, and some cheerleaders and players were subsequently booted off of their respective teams. School officials decided not to expel the students, admitting that although theft is a crime, the kids were mostly just being ornery. Do we have some locals around that remember that incident, circa 1971, I believe?

Not long after that incident, some members of the Knightstown varsity basketball team pulled off a major coup to get back the holiday tournament trophy the Tri High Titans had just won against the Panthers. They committed the crime of breaking and entering at Tri High school, broke into the trophy case, and stole the championship trophy.

Of course, they were caught and subsequently punished. They weren’t, however, expelled from school. They weren’t even kicked off of the basketball team. Officials at the time decided that the last thing those kids needed was more time on their hands, so keeping them in the controlled environments of practices and ball games would be in their best interests.

There are more stories just like those that have occurred over the years. Different kids in different eras, without question breaking the law. In each incident there were also adults who were charged with supervising and guiding those kids, who knew where to draw the line to render the appropriate lesson and subsequent punishment.

The key words in all of this are, of course, kids breaking the law and subsequent punishment. When kids steer left of what’s right, they have to be taught that there is a deterrent. That deterrent is appropriate punishment.

So to answer all of you who have asked my opinion on the school corporation’s decision to expel the Knightstown students over the making of the DVD, I’ll just refer you to the above column concerning other disciplinary matters and how they were handled. Those kids mentioned previously committed actual criminal acts. Today’s movie makers, according to the prosecutor, did not, yet they face steeper sanctions.

Please don’t tell me we’re talking about different eras and different kids. It’s not the kids who are the problem with this mess; it’s the adults who are mishandling the punishment.

Yesterday’s administration, school board and teachers would have handled this situation the correct way. They would have punished those kids, but followed through with accountability, support and guidance.

Today, we just kick them out and write them off as someone else’s problem.


Weekly Hunting Update

Indiana will again participate in the light goose conservation order during 2007. The season runs February. 1 to March 31. The conservation order will be effective statewide, except at Muscatatuck and Big Oaks national wildlife refuges.

Goose hunters know what all of that means. For those of you who don’t, my guess is “Light Geese” are those birds who have one-third less calories than regular-brand geese.


Where Are They Now?

Multi-sport athlete Paul Mills graduated from Knightstown High School in 1971, but not before leaving his mark on four different sports during his four years of education. Mills was outstanding on the football and baseball fields, basketball court and track and field endeavors.

After he left Knightstown, Mills became the starting kicker for the Ball State Cardinal Football team, graduating in 1975 as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Today, he is an accountant in Beech Grove. Some older locals may have recognized Paul at the Knightstown boys basketball game Friday night. He was one of the three officials on the floor during the game against Union County, and has been an IHSAA basketball official for many years.




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