Published On: Wed, Sep 28th, 2016

ON THE SIDELINES: Column is transitioning to a community-wide piece





This will be the last “On the Sidelines” column, but it will not be the last column I write…I’m transitioning it from a sports only column to one that covers the entire community.  The new column will be called “Around the Rez”, and it will be a light-hearted look at the people, places, and things that make the Cherokee Indian Reservation a unique and interesting place to live and work.  And, yes, sometimes that will include sports so that aspect won’t be completely gone.

I’ve enjoyed doing “On the Sidelines” for the last several years, and I’d like to thank everyone for their support.  Last year, I was honored to win a First Place Award for Sports Columns from the North Carolina Press Association.

During the time I’ve written the column, I’ve been able to touch on a lot of interesting subjects ranging from the importance of positive attitudes in sports to referees crossing the line and talking smack to players.

I was able to talk about the disparity in pay between male and female professional athletes.  I gave some insight into what it’s like being a left-handed athlete.  I gave you guys my top eight sports movies list, and I advocated for Cherokee High School to start a lacrosse program – way back in 2015 before the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians partnered with the Georgia Swarm.

One of my favorite columns was published in May 2015 and was entitled “Do student-athletes make better students?”  The idea for that particular piece came from taking photos at the annual Tribal Council Awards Day.  In the column I wrote, “As I was there, I began to notice a trend – a lot of the high school students receiving awards were also athletes.  As an example, seven members of this past year’s varsity Lady Braves basketball team received a Tribal Council Merit Award.”

I told you jocks aren’t dumb.

One more thing I advocated for that has yet to come to fruition – maybe soon – is that the Cherokee National Anthem be used at the beginning of Cherokee High School sporting events.  It could be used alone or in addition to the “Star Spangled Banner”, but I just think that it’s important for a sovereign nation like the EBCI to have their song sung at local sporting events as well.  I’ll keep pushing for that to occur because any exercise of tribal sovereignty and pride is a good thing.

As I close, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read my ramblings on sports over the past several years, and I encourage you to give my new column a chance.  I’m hoping it will be a light-hearted, positive, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, interesting look at the place we call home.