Archive for the Sports Category

KY High School Athletic Association – KY’s Black Eye To The Nation

Posted in In The News, Louisville Courier Journal, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by Joan Graves

Regardless of what local and state leaders would like us to believe, The Kentucky High School Athletic Association did in fact, ban postgame handshakes. When the bonehead move hit the national news, the back-pedaling started. Now, the KHSAA states that though they banned handshakes they do not intend to enforce the ban. Wow. Way to lead. Make a rule, do not stand by it, and do not enforce it. It is ridiculous and shameful to say the least.

What we now know is that the purpose of the ban was only to free KHSAA from being at fault should a fight breakout during the “good sportsmanlike conduct” of the postgame handshake. Without a doubt sports game violence is on the rise. Rather than actually address a problem KHSAA opted to find a loophole that might clear them of at least a little liability. KHSAA sent their message loud and clear, “Let the kids fight but don’t blame us”. And sadly, the entire country heard.

Violence in sports is a chronically unfolding disaster in our country that few are willing to tackle. I find it profoundly sad. From Little League to high school, regardless of what sport I was playing, not one of my coaches would have ever accepted fighting under any circumstances. I think we can all agree that I am more than a little sassy. Yet, it took only once for me to be benched by a coach to shut me up. Sure I was mad about it but when I complained to my mom she informed me that I would either listen to the coach, quit the team or be kicked off, but she would absolutely not go against any coach teaching me respect. The lesson was well learned.

KHSAAIf the KHSAA truly wants to curb fights at games, they could require higher standards from the coaches. Rather than attach a higher standard clause as a means to clear KHSAA from liability perhaps they should actually investigate claims made against coaches. What would happen if a questionable coach was forced to wear a microphone during games AND practices?

Too many coaches tolerate a bad kid who is a good player because of the pressure to win. What if we recognized coaches for forcing their star player to follow the rules despite a losing season? What if coaches receive bonuses based upon the moral climate of their team and their overall positive influence in the community? What would happen if a coach’s pay grade was determined by his/her positive interaction with players, parents and the community rather than how many games they win? Here is the magic of it all. When we take the time to build good, moral players they naturally morph into a good, winning team. Yet, even if they don’t we must become a society more focused on winning in life rather than the fleeting, good feeling of winning in a moment.

As long as we allow the KHSAA to acknowledge the problems such as Sanford but act only to protect themselves, then we allow them to hold Kentucky to longest, disreputable, shameful and wholly destructive losing streak of all time. The KHSAA has turned KY into a laughing-stock of the entire nation once again. How many times are we going to tolerate this? How long are we going to allow our kids, schools, and ourselves to be led by individuals who seek only to relieve themselves of liability? Until we get serious about leadership, no one else will take our leadership seriously.

Stand Up Clark County and have the courage to lead KY in athletics.


High School Football Coaches Brawling On The Field.

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Point of View, Sports with tags , on September 6, 2013 by Joan Graves

It’s easy to look at this video and think it would never happen to us. But don’t we all get caught up in the game? Check my FB page when a UK basketball game is on and you’ll see me ranting with the best of them.

It’s imperative that we draw a firm line for ourselves, our kids and our coaches. We cannot accept any behavior that strays beyond that line. We set ourselves up for this atrocious behavior when we have coaches angry at players in practice, parents angry at coaches during games and players angry at other players anytime. You may think the swirling animosity has no impact but it does. The distance between the anger in your head being displayed through your hands is a lot shorter than you think.

Stand Up Clark County then step back in the heat of the moment.


Not All Football Players Would Have Done This

Posted in Encouragement, In The News, National Stories, Point of View, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by Joan Graves


Four William Patterson University football players entered a local store to find no cashier. They called out but no one answered. They selected their purchases, counted out the money, tossed it on the counter and left. Little did they know what was about to happen.

The players have received national exposure because they did the right thing. They could have stolen their items but did not. Somewhere along the way, a coach and/or parents taught these guys that when they take from another no one wins. They learned, no doubt, by example, that integrity is always more valuable than money or wins. These guys had opportunity but no motive. They knew there are ways to treat people and there are ways not to treat people. Now, they are enjoying the feeling of having a reputation of being men of honor in a sport that has far too high a crime rate. Being men of good character does not happen it is learned. And when it is displayed, it is celebrated and people never forget.

Read the story for yourself by clicking on the link below. Stand Up Clark County and teach our players to be men of honor.


Death Threats, Rivals, Ghosts & The Way To Make It Right.

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by Joan Graves

My last post, “Beyond Friday Night”, generated heated responses from people calling themselves Tony and Jessica. Their remarks indicate they are friends with GRC Head Football Coach Steve Collins. They defended Collins vehemently and I actually applaud them for standing up for their friend. The manner in which they do it however, is highly questionable.

Tony and Jessica went to excessive lengths to hide their identities. They set up a dummy email account, which both used to access the comments section of the blog. Their IP addresses indicate they are in the same network. Which means Jessica and Tony either is the same person or is closely connected.

If you have followed this blog or read the Lexington Herald-Leader, you are aware of death threats made in the past. What you may not know is that a few weeks ago I received a threat, which basically said for me to stop Stand up Clark County or die. I was not impressed. People against Stand Up Clark County have long tried to silence me by using disgusting, perverted, and threatening remarks. The only common denominator is that each time the attack came after a post about the football program.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am in absolutely no way saying that Coach Collins or his staff is responsible for death threats or verbal attacks. What I am saying is that it is the topic of Collins’ football program that triggers the venom. I have no idea if it’s a coach, fan, parent, player, cheerleader, or community member launching the assaults. What I do know is whoever it is they are extremely passionate about Collins’ football program.

From my point of view, this is what I see. Paul Columbia’s firing was not the fault of Coach Collins, though Collins and his staff like to use that as an excuse for their shortcomings. Collins took a job he knew was in drowning in controversy so none of this is a surprise to him. What is surprising to us, however, is that Collins has invested more in our rival Montgomery County than he ever has in the community of Clark County. He made the decision early on to place himself in opposition of the majority of the community. Little did he know the previous board of education would fall and the superintendent who hired him retire, leaving him at the mercy of the very people he has shunned.

One of the first things Collins did, as football coach was take business away from Clark County’s long time small business staple, South Main Grocery. He immediately ended the team’s tradition of having breakfast there. Many saw that move as self-serving because Collins failed to realize the importance of tradition in the midst of turmoil. Since then, Collins’s program has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the treatment of players.

Collins has failed to ever address the concerns or even as much as attempt to interact with the community. Instead, he opted to take money from our small businesses while investing in Montgomery County golf scrambles. Collins appears to be heavily involved in the community in which he lives but not in the community who pays his salary or in which the kids he interacts with live. If Collins does not produce well-rounded individuals, what concern is it of his? Clark County is a paycheck not an investment.

Collins’s divided mind has cost him greatly but us even more so. While he spent his time trying to defeat the ghost of Paul Columbia, his team logged one of the worst seasons on record. Now, rather than focus on the players and how to make them successful he has opted instead to spend his time and energy into making PR rounds for an Astro Turf. When what we really need is a leader.

Clark County takes pride in our heritage and sense of community. We are not like other counties. We still stand for “old fashioned values”. We do not want new flashy things that spend our money but produce nothing. We prefer to invest in people not things.

We do not want to oppose Coach Collins but we must protect our core values. We have an obligation to the future of our kids. Therefore, we must insist Coach Collins invest in Clark County, speak out against those creating turmoil and crime in his name and begin building a bridge that will improve the lives of all Clark Contains.

Stand Up Clark County for all we are, have been and will be.

Beyond Friday Night

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Point of View, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2013 by Joan Graves

GRC Football Coach Steve Collins has recently been requesting media interviews regarding money for an AstroTurf football field. I was dismayed to hear Collins say, that a new field would, “mean a lot” to the players and that “was the most important thing.” That type of statement can project the image that our school system centers on football rather than education.

By investing so much time and energy into obtaining the field, Collins is making it clear an Astro Turf field is a priority for him and the community has a major hand in whether his priority becomes our reality. Players naturally adopt the priorities of their coach. In this case they may cast a negative eye on a community they have been deceived into thinking is against them.

The football program is very valuable and we need to invest in it as we can. Nevertheless, the program is not nearly as important as the players themselves and their peers. It is the responsibility of coaches to graduate balanced, fully educated players with a strong sense of community. That recipe is what transforms a student into a successful adult. What the current football team is receiving is far from what they are due. They deserve more than adults who strive to pit them against their community.

The nightly news is filled with the tragic outcomes of kids being taught their wants and needs are paramount over everyone else’s. The Steubenville High School rape case gained national attention but it was not a lone case. Nor was it something that happened unexpectedly. The situation grew naturally out of an environment of players believing football is the most important thing and having adults cover up their crimes and infractions, depriving them of the positive life experiences that come with accountability.

The mental grooming in Steubenville took place over a period of years. Steubenville was like a cancer tumor growing quietly within while the symptoms were covered up. By the time it was discovered, the roots were so deep it threatened the very life that maintained it. The players’ sense of entitlement was so complete they failed to see the repeated rape of a drunken, passed out girl a problem. In a sick and perverted video frenzy, they documented and shared their crimes.

The few players who knew rape was wrong turned away or gave a half-hearted effort to stop it. Parents try to instill a morale sense in kids but frequently their kids spend the majority of their time with people opposed to those morals or at the very least ignore them. The negative input overrode the positive parenting. Students testified in court, that the high school focused on football and the rules that applied to the general student population did not include football players. Football players had a staff of coaches and others willing to cheat, lie and cover-up crimes for the sake of a win.

Is that what we want for our kids? Do we want to be the next Steubenville? Do you want your kid to be the next to commit suicide over his/her treatment at school or be the next rape statistic? Cases like this happen in Anytown USA. The difference between us in them is that we cling to our fundamental morale foundation.  Steubenville adults taught those kids they did not have to take responsibility. That is a very poisonous lie. Responsibility will come. The only question is, when? Two players sit in prison, for all of their life branded a sex offender while the adults who traded their future for a Friday night win go scot-free.

Clark County has a strong sense of community. When tragedy strikes, we pull together as a single powerful force. Many don’t understand our “small town ways”, including the small towns that surround us. What may work in another county will fail here and vice versa. That is why we should always promote the hiring of Clark County citizens over outsiders. It is important to explore new ideas and ways of doing things. But if those ideas are in direct opposition of our community’s core values then we must stand against them. Clark County has consistently focused on turning out graduates who have learned the importance denying self to help another. We have seen previous GRC students travel hours on a brutally cold winter night just to give a two-minute speech about how a Clark County educator made a positive life changing impact on his life. No one forced them to come. They came because the values they learned taught ran so deep they simply could not do anything else. That is truly the most important thing.

I agree with Collins that we have endured a season of change. For that reason alone, we must demand coaches cater to the needs of the whole child rather than just those of a player. Tragedies such as Steubenville occur when we stop viewing players as evolving individuals who need strong ethical guidance to achieve their full potential.

We need a community supportive of the football program and a football program involved in the community. We want our players hungry for a win but we want them starving to positively impact their community. When the whole child is attended to, games are won, students become high achievers, and communities prosper. We can climb out of this pit of controversy, celebrate great wins in sports, bridge achievement gaps and soar to the top rather than continue to dangle at the bottom of the educational food chain. However, it will only happen when we start looking beyond Friday night.

Stand Up Clark County because life is more than a game.

NOTE: This blog post represents the views and opinions of Joan Graves.

Principal Uses His Power To Get Playing Time For His Son

Posted in Board of Education (General), In The News, Point of View, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Joan Graves

The Jessamine County Board of Education is currently hearing the contested demotion case of West Jessamine High School Principal, Ed Jones. Jones is accused of interfering in his son’s school athletics over a period of several years. The Jessamine Journal reports that a teacher alleges Jones told her he was “unhappy with the baseball team and his son’s playing time”. The teacher, Denise Hamilton, is married to the coach in question. She described the severe emotional toll of having to cope with what she believed was unethical behavior while trying to maintain her job. “That is my supervisor; he’s in charge of my professional career, and I’ve had outstanding evaluations for 10 years,” I take pride in what I do.’ When referring to an incident where Jones allegedly was angry over his son is playing time, Hamilton said; “I had never seen such rage.” The Journal goes on to state Hamilton testified she was “afraid for her professional career to the point of physical illness.”

Other employees reported Jones had frequently been heard screaming and yelling at employees and coaches. Others allege Jones made remarks such as “He better put my son in” and, “You don’t know who you’re messing with”.

Typically, in these situations a student with a relative abusing educational power gains an over-inflated sense of entitlement. If no one steps up to contest the ethical erosion, the student will see the benefits of continuing the family-trait of narcissism. They fail to realize that their lack of empathy increases the chance of future criminal behavior.

Sadly, this story is playing out in various ways in school districts across America. The very place that should be preparing our kids for a better future has become a breeding-ground for narcissist personality disorder. Compounding the issue are the educators whose goal is to survive so they silently wait for the coming year so they can pass the problem to the next person. That may be getting rid of the problem for one person but it does nothing to improve or enrich the life of the student.

We can compare what happens in our schools to a crocheting project. When you begin crocheting an afghan, it does not look like much. The pattern we hope we are creating remains hidden as one loop is weaved into the next. It is only after a significant amount of time, money and effort has been invested that we begin to see the pattern is not at all, what we expected. Then we must decide whether we should rip it out and begin again or attempt to cover up the parts we do not like.

A kid who depends on someone else’s power to get him through life will not have the first clue what to do when that power fails him. And make no mistake about it, that day will come. The only question is are we going to be people willing to rip out what’s wrong and start over while we have a chance to make a difference, or are we going watch the them self-destruction years later, unraveling from the inside out?

Stand Up Clark County and embrace the hobby of crocheting.

A Field House, Verbal Attacks & IP Addresses – What’s Really Going On

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by Joan Graves

If you’ve been following the blog lately you know that I made a remark about Heather Penichet being in the field house. I knew the remark was a slam but felt it was justified. There’s a whole stage of drama that takes place behind the curtain of the blog that people don’t know about. These things combined with my previous dealings with Heather played a part in why I responded to her as I did. I’m not saying it’s right I’m just explaining why.

Immediately, after Heather made her last comment using her name, nasty messages began rolling in. It was a full on assault against me and even Steve at times. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the comments were coming from the same people. When I said that it was of course denied.

I am now receiving messages mocking me for removing comments. Because I removed negative comments from the blog and not positive ones they think its evidence of my guilt. The messages were extremely condescending and mocking. The poster was saying she’d be sure to spread around what a liar I am. It never occurred to them that perhaps I had a reason for removing the comments, such as getting their IP addresses. Yep, that’s right. I’ve got every single one of them.

It came as absolutely no surprise to find that it was indeed the same people. Heather made two remarks under her name but made others hiding behind the anonymous label. In one post she attempted to hide her identity by referring to herself as Ms. Penichet. Well, since Ms. Penichet doesn’t believe I have audio of our encounter at the field house I doubt she’ll believe I have her IP address. I don’t want there to be any doubt so here is part of one of her IP addresses: 98.65.232.XXX

On October 8, I received morning messages at 6:49 and 7:09. Afternoon and evening messages came at 12:50, 2:15, 8:29, 8:51, 8:54 and 9:29. That was fairly typical day of lies and insults and I’ve been dealing with them for months. This is what they do. They hurl insults and lies while hiding their identity in order to keep posting and give the illusion of many. They strike out of your sight because they know we will take the high road. Our willingness to play by the rules is their incentive to shred the rulebook.

This time I detoured the high road. The constant lies, insults and cover-ups can get exhausting. It’s tough to maintain the straight path when everything in you wants to give back twice as what you get. That is my struggle. To them if you don’t give immediately back when they dish it out they assume you’re a coward. And like a shark smelling blood they began circling.

I’m many things but afraid of a fight isn’t one of them. But I’ve got to reach a point where I know that I don’t have to be verbally aggressive to remain in the fight. I’m well aware that the quick wit some admire me for has a dark side. I can snap off a remark that cuts deep before my mind has even processed the emotion. When I read Tim’s comment about my remark to Heather it pricked my conscience. And I realize he is exactly right. The remark I made was beneath me. Thanks Tim for the firm but gentle reminder.

I’m guilty of getting frustrated to the point of madness. I’m guilty of saying things I shouldn’t. But I am absolutely not guilty of lying. Every word about Bledsoe is true and all the hiding behind fake comments to dispute it only strengthens our case. Innocence doesn’t require repeated posts by fictional people to back it up.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I won’t make any more mistakes but I think making that statement would be my first. As I tell my kids, a mistake isn’t bad unless you hide it, deny it or blame it on another. A mistake can be made beautiful when we own it, confess it and use it to improve our lives and the lives of others. That is exactly what I intend to do.

Stand Up Clark County for the ability to accept our mistakes and change for the better.


Being A Coach of Excellence Only YOU Can Make It Happen

Posted in Board of Education (General), Point of View, Sports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 5, 2012 by Joan Graves


The response to Bledsoe’s tirade has shown the people of Clark County to be more concerned about how our students are treated than anything else. When I posted about Bledsoe 200 people hit this blog in 20 minutes! And they took action by calling GRC principal David Bolen, board members and Elaine Farris. Your direct involvement is what will bring good out of this terrible situation.

Bledsoe hopped on my radar the very first day of school when he stood in front of a class and told them what an ass he is. (His word not mine). On and on he went about the joys of being a jerk. He even called upon “his players” to confirm it for the other students. The ridiculousness of the scene made him look more like a cartoon character than a teacher. Anyone that behaves that way on the very first day of school will do anything.

From nearly the first practice reports came in about the verbally abusive coaching. The first game and especially the one at Montgomery County were filled with inappropriate antics on the sidelines, like face masks and shirts being grabbed by coaches. I’m not expert but I’m thinking if the NFL gives a penalty for it, it certainly shouldn’t be done to high school players. Parents reported coaches were following players down the sidelines screaming at them. Players complained of being humiliated. But it only got worse.

I am told that calls to David Bolen, board members and Elaine Farris resolved nothing. In fact, people became even more angry because they were blown off. The administration’s denial of what was visibly clear on Friday nights was infuriating to people. Why they thought they could talk people out of what they were seeing is beyond me but it certainly was a huge mistake.

People are sick to death of the board and Elaine never accepting responsibility for anything. Our board will not even remotely entertain the possibility of being wrong about anything. And that is why this even with Bledsoe has taken on a life of its own. Why didn’t Bledsoe just apologize? Everyone knows that with controversy an apology is a great PR move. The board could have Bledsoe perform some community service for the disabled  or a motivational class. There are a thousand little things they could’ve done for the betterment of the students but didn’t. They are operating under the misguided notion that if they do nothing they look innocent but nothing could be further from the truth.

Rather than make a small gesture the board has catapulted us into a large scale war where they are attempting to pit parents against coaches making kids pay the highest price. But I am counting on the good coaches and people of Clark County to not let this happen. We are counting on the great coaches to step up and take the lead. Reach out to the community, players and parents by making a public commitment to permanently delete the word “retard” and to not humiliate or demean another by using abusive language. Give a voice to players and parents by providing an anonymous feedback that you can use to build a stronger team.

Report bad coaches. They cast you all in a bad light and you’ve worked too hard to have someone else destroy it. Sports is about skill, teamwork, conflict resolution, discipline and being a role model. Help them learn to navigate them all with excellence. And if in the heat of the  moment you say something wrong, exemplify strength by apologizing to them. Set them on a better path by explaining what went wrong and how it should’ve been handled. Tell them we all need to improve and you’ll try to do better next time. It’s all any of us can do.

By denying what happened and attacking the messenger these adults are victimizing the kids again. That is exactly what causes young girls not to report sexual assault or abused children to confide in a teacher. And in every case it’s the reason for suicide for a bullied kid. Protecting a coach over a player is exactly what happened in the Penn State sex scandal. How many adults knew but failed to intervene for a child?  Don’t be a temporary figure in your players’ lives be a lifelong hero who forever impacted them for good.

Stand Up Clark County coaches of excellence