Enough is enough.
It seems, especially as of late, that I have suddenly become a middleman between county high school coaches and enraged parents and fans.
This isn't my primary concern. We live in a free world - we have the right to say what we want, when we want. Obviously, this applies to everyone. In fact, I encounter many face-to-face interactions and receive countless e-mails, phone calls and text messages on a daily basis.
However, I question the motives behind some of these remarks aimed at some coaches who will remain anonymous.
Of course, each sport is going to generate some type of rant or ill-advised comments. It's one thing if someone has physical proof of a coach mistreating a player or mishandling a particular situation. But it's another thing to accuse one of not doing his or her job simply because a parent or fan is upset his or her child isn't getting significant playing time.
After all, most coaches want to win, especially since their job is on the line, and they aren't going to sacrifice that for popularity votes. They're going to play the ones who give 110 percent and give his or her team the best chance of winning, no matter how good your youngster was in Little League.
Most of these kids are having the time of their lives. Polluting their well-being with off-color remarks knocking a coach because he or she isn't starting your child is ridiculous and more importantly unhealthy.
For the most part, these kids work hard; they have fun and that's really all that matters. Unfortunately, many folks lose sight of this fact, and those are the ones who are sadly trying to live vicariously through his or her child. In turn, this is why certain programs are not producing like they're capable of doing.
In general, these coaches are underpaid, good people hoping to better our young ones and lead them in the right direction.
If I could eradicate those e-mails and calls regarding why a certain coach should be ousted, or eliminate the negativity surrounding high school athletics in Newton County, life would be much easier for everyone.
But life's cruel. And it's not a perfect world, no matter how positive we try to be. We live in a competitive world where people expect results instantaneously.
Whereas there only recently used to be two county high schools, we now have three, increasing the volume of those concerned parties.
To be fair - though it's impossible - Alcovy is a second-year school. Although the Tigers have tasted success, like the boys basketball program, you cannot possibly expect each sport to excel right now, especially baseball.
What can you possibly expect out of a second-year program? A Class AAAA title? Give me a break. These things take time and more importantly patience - they don't magically happen overnight.
Sometimes you have to taste the bitter before you savor the sweet, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Alcovy baseball was among the top of its class within 10 years.
Meanwhile, Eastside lost quite a bit of talent from one year ago, such as seven members of the 2007 All-County Team, including Player of the Year Ryan Rhodes. As seasons change, so will the Eagles, and they'll bounce back with another year of experience under their belts.
For Newton, it has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, especially since it is the oldest of the three schools. But Billy Roper has won more than 100 games for the Rams, solidifying himself as a great ambassador for baseball in Newton County.
I can't help but recall when I was the starting center fielder for my high school in Mississippi - the Ocean Springs Greyhounds, who won the Class 5A state baseball championship on Tuesday.
Though it was 11 years ago, there was nothing more enjoyable than taking that field.
But the journey had its fair share of controversy and drama, too. I didn't even make the squad my junior year, which was devastating considering many thought it was a no-brainer. So, what did I do? Despite a coaching change, I busted my tail during the offseason and was thus awarded a spot on the team, starting every game in the leadoff slot.
Sadly, I still remember the disgruntled parents and fans alike spreading their negativity of the coach and what he was trying to accomplish with us. That shouldn't be in my head, but rather more pleasant memories like the times with my teammates, helping achieve our first district win in several years or hitting three home runs in one game.
Granted, I wasn't the best athlete on the field but I busted it day in and day out, and it paid off because I then earned a walk-on spot for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs.
My point is that winning is not necessarily the only thing that matters - positive support and encouragement goes a long way, and though my parents and family gave me plenty, others failed miserably - the same who are trying to sabotage the youth of our county.
Yes, it was somewhat of a difficult year regarding Newton County high school baseball. Overall, the three teams were a combined 24-52. But we're talking high school athletics here. Though we are not dealing with professionals and rather young teenagers, it's frustrating because you want them to succeed.
This isn't Major League Baseball. It's high school, and the same can be applied toward football come fall.
For many seniors, they've reached the summit of their athletic career, as they prepare to embark on whatever it is they choose to do. But if they take the field, in whatever profession it is they pursue, and leave everything out there, how can one possibly lose?
It's mathematically impossible; no matter what that final score reads, you're a winner.