Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, April 20, 2018

Officiating is an avocation, not a reason for Disgruntled politicians to ruin their Vocation!

Former US NC State Representative Chris Whitmire Crosses Line

As a former NCAA basketball official, I have many friends who are still my sisters and brothers who are still officiating on many levels. Let me first establish my credentials, I officiated the wonderful game of basketball for ten years as a NCAA women’s, High School, National AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) , National YBOA (Youth Basketball Organization of America) , and Junior College (JUCO) basketball official. I was the first female basketball official to call a Semi-Final game at the prestigious Bob Gibbons Tournament held every year at Duke, UNC and NC State in which the McDonalds All Americans are chosen.  I volunteered for this tournament for many years over my Memorial Day Weekend driving over 10 hours from Florida. I also officiated the Women’s Olympic team practice games before they traveled to Greece.  

As an official we are taught to adhere to three principals in this order: 1) Protect the integrity of the game, 2) Protect your partners, and finally 3) Protect yourself.   In Florida, and many states there are laws passed to protect officials from harm which result in felony charges by fans, school administrators and parents.  Currently the state of North Carolina has nothing to protect sports officials.  Officials are parents and do this as an avocation. I can tell you that after the state dues, the local association dues, the national dues, the uniform costs, gas, books, education and summer camp fees (average $2000 each) this is a volunteer position.  We are known as the necessary evil. Nobody wants to pay officials until they have no officials and chaos follows. The Christian mens basketball leagues I officiated were often the most difficult to officiate as it appeared that once these men took off their jewelry, and changed into uniforms stepping onto the court, the values of Christ seem to evaporate from their hearts.   

I personally have the utmost respect for coaches who also have a thankless job and make remarkable impacts on our students athletes.  My coach from high school is still an every day memory as the quotes he taught us make me who I am.  I still when passing trash in a building or outside, recall his teachings, “If you pick this up when nobody’s watching, this shows your true character. If you don’t, then well that does as well!”  Discipline, sweat, hard work, respect, and teamwork are values learned on the court during practice and games.  The institution of the game of basketball needs to be protected by players, coaches, ADs, fans (including parents) and officials.  

My own children started coming to my games and saw how heartless fans were when yelling at me. Being a female official, particularly when refereeing boys games, I was yelled at, subjected to harassment after the game, and followed to my car.  Once a bus parked behind my car in the parking lot blocking my exit as we ran from the game because the adult fans from the losing team followed us, threatening to kill us.  Fellow officials  have been stopped in the parking lot and threatened with guns by students of the home school.  I have had a fan come onto the court while the game was in progress, throw his sunglasses at me and lift his right hand with a closed fist preparing to hit me in the back of the head. I never saw him.  It was through God’s grace that cooler heads prevailed. His brother ran out of the stand and tackled him from behind before the fist landed in the back of my head knocking me out. This is why the state of North Carolina still needs laws to protect officials. My children stopped coming to my games, they simply couldn’t take it anymore.  

My point is as an official it is a very small portion of who we are as individuals. We are also parents, educators, little league coaches, doctors, tax payers, grandparents, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers.  We are people too.   The average official scores 90% on the state required rules test, the average coaches score a 60% on these same required rules exams. These same coaches make the rules, the officials only implement the rules.  The officials have no vested interest in the outcome of a game. During my tenure, I averaged 300 games a year.  An official runs 2.5 miles a game. The point of all this data is that officials dedicate a large part of their life to this avocation while still getting up and going to work the next day. The average player ages 15-22 is on the court at the peak of their physical strength and speed, and the average age of the official is rising. Its simply too hard to recruit younger officials.  Who WANTS to do this and not get the recognition nor fair pay?

In a recent local game, a crew of NCHSAA officials were at the Rosman High School. The home team lost and as the officials left the court, a star player approached them and yelled, “You officiated a terrible game! Thanks for losing the game for us!”  This is an infraction of the rules warranting a technical foul. This player had already received one technical foul during the game.  The official’s jurisdiction doesn’t end until they leave the visual confines of the court.  So justifiably, the official disqualified this player for unsportsmanlike conduct, disrespecting an official.  The AD talked to this same player who admitted the statement was made. The AD also supported the officials decision.  The week before, one of member of this crew had a game in the Smoky Mountain Conference where by that same official was greeted after the game by the losing coach, shook hands and told the crew what a great game they had called. There is a joke in the officiating world that its always good when the home team wins as you know your safety is in good hands when you leave the gym.  This is a joke but the undertones are based on the fear of harassment just going getting in your car to return safely home!  

By being disqualified, this young man will have to sit the next two games.  This in theory is part of the learning process of having to have respect for officials and the game, not to mention it teaches one to be a good loser. It is easy to be a good winner. We were taught when I played the game, act like you’ve been here before, in both winning and losing situations. Lets remember, sports is a learning laboratory for life’s lessons.  Later in life this taught us how to respond to  adverse events as we aged making us better citizens, players, and people.  We made sure to shake the hand of the each and every one of our opponents while saying, “Good Game.” 

After a sporting event… in a perfect world….everyone goes home, prepares for the next day of school, work, or day off, and life goes on; another game in the books.  This was not to be the case after this particular Rosman game. One of the officials went to work an was summoned by his boss.  Former three-year State Representative Mr. Whitmire wrote an email using his former position title that carried a lot of weight as a NC Representative, trying to get this official fired.  As a former official I say, “THIS EMAIL CROSSED THE LINE!” Nobody should have to  fear for their lives for a hobby, let alone their jobs as a result of a clearly misunderstood avocation and rule understanding.   Chris Whitmire, used his political past to discredit and ask for the firing of this official from his paying job that supports his family as a result of his enforcing the rules provided by the same State of North Carolina of which he was elected to represent.  This is clearly an ethical breach and misuse of past political power.  This email was a misconduct unbecoming of not only a former State Representative from North Carolina, this is unbecoming of an officer. Mr. Whitmire is a USAF, Colonel. The military creed of duty, honor and country was broken by attacking this officials right to work. This same official he tried to get fired is a fellow USAF, retired officer!  Not only did he send an email to this officials boss, the words were falsely conveyed in a manner intended to defame this official’s character and question this referee’s ability to fulfill his duties in his place in employment! 

My understanding is that Mr. Whitmire has done this before with other officials in which he didn’t like how they enforced the rules. He has a history of slandering other sports officials without justification. He sent this email with the title in the subject line: For Your Awareness from Chris Whitmire, NC House District 113 Representative 2013-2016 Chris may have made rules in his former life, but ask a police officer if they feel Mr. Whitmire knows what it is like to enforce these rules?   There is a major difference. How many other countless men and women are attacked for simply trying to be a part of the sports world and help young athletes develop physically and emotionally?  This is just not acceptable by anyone let alone a former State Representative  and USAF Colonel.  

As a retired official, I still have a duty to: ) Protect the integrity of the game and 2) Protect your partners.  Chris Whitmire attacked my partners and stood up for a student who disrespected the game. He has attempted to sway bosses of officials to fire them on more than one occasion.  These behaviors have attacked the integrity of the game of basketball. It is my duty to stand up for those who can’t and blow the whistle on such behaviors.  

John Wooden, one of NCAA’s most famous coaches had many maxims.  Many come to mind as it relates to this series of events. 

-Treat all people with dignity and respect
-Be slow to criticize and quick to commend
-Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.

Chris Whitmire would do well to remember his current title as it relates to the High School game of basketball… a fan.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Family Aint What it Used to Be

Its with deep regret that we buried my grandmother last month.  After being away for thirty years, it was great to just be around the family I had left.  People ask me about what family I have after they have known me for a long time and know only of my mother.  I tell them, I have nobody else.  Its really very sad.  So the days of going up the long dirt road to grandpa's A Frame built with his own hands, the days of walking through the Queen Anne's Lace taller than we were, with my cousins to the lake to catch sunfish have faded, and the willingness to fight for those relationships has finally gone.  I give up.  Its just so much one person can do. As my partner and love of my life has taught me, you can't chase people to love them.

So as I spoke at grandma's funeral, I just mentioned that the lesson she taught us despite not understanding us was to love us anyway.  So I love you Lori Lin despite not understanding your ways and disdain toward me.  And to Ashley and Joshua, I wish I could have had a relationship with you and your significant others.  I tried to reach out however its not meant to be in this lifetime.  I love you all too.

Grandmother pray for all of us you have left here on earth. It appears we're going to need it.  I'll just keep thinking of you nightly as I watch the fireflies in my front and back yard rise up as the sun goes down as testament to the meaning of that phrase.  Rise up as the sun goes down, tomorrow will be a new day!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Good from Wood Not so Good! Buyer Beware!

 So I really had what I thought would be an idea for the ages.  Rather than buy a headboard, I wanted to design a headboard that would incorporate barn doors on the wall and still allow for a painting of a mural on the wall.  I did some research and found a website called  A couple in Indiana who totes themselves as Marty the wood expert and his wife Chelsea was the brains behind the organization. Many testimonials helped me overcome my fear to buy a product online from another state.

As with most new custom designs, there were many emails going back and forth as expected and we decided, albeit expensive, that $400 per door and $100 shipping.  TWO doors total $1000 and just made of pine, no windows, and no varnish, actually pretty high priced for a 40 x 80 door made of pine.  To my surprise when we picked it up from Fedex, we found they had only made and sent one! That one door was damaged.  Before I understood that there was only one door, we refused it because there was damage.  We didn't realize they had sent one as the double layer of pine looked like two doors from the unopened torn package.  So we put in a claim with Fedex for the balance of $1000.

Then to my surprise after finding out they only made one, they said, well you only paid for 1.  We had agreed that I would pay 50% before and after photos were taken and then I would pay the other $500.   This was a complete nightmare.  I started the negotiations in February, and now in July I finally have two doors and it was NOT by them! I had to hire a local guy to finish the second door and boy am I so glad I didn't finish with them. You can judge for yourself by the before and after photos how "professional" or "unprofessional "they are depending on your view.

My issues with them were many as follows:
1) They don't have any records and I lost so much time trying to locate emails luckily I had to prove that the issue and questions were already answered and addressed and not made note of and followed  through on.
2) They have not records, zilch, nada, nothing, they only work via paypal. One has to wonder...are they even claiming taxes and profits without any records? After this blog my next course of action is the Better Business Bureau.
3) They then tried to send me an invoice for the second door of $700.  They tried to gain more money than the original agreement! Again to which they had no record.

4) They said they shipped the door via Fedex and Fedex had tried to contact me. Goodfromwood  never told me it was shipped, so how  I was I to know to look for it. Fedex NEVER called me, so I had to again do all the work and request the fedex tracking number, then rented a van for $60 only to find when arriving that the door was damaged. This money was a total loss for me never to be recouped. We rejected the door and returned it for them to "fix"
5) Their emails were always nice but incompetent, I've blogged before about this issue.  Is Nice but incompetent really nice? NO! Its unprofessional.
6) This is a buyer beware, I would NOT endorse this company and in fact am warning you NOT to purchase from them.  There are NO records nor are they paying taxes on these cash transfers.  This is a federal crime.
7) We also agreed on a Z on the bottom with a Z backward on the adjacent door.  As you can see in the photos, it arrived with a V.  I even drew an illustration but THAT must have gotten lost too.

Here are the photos...judge for yourself.  DO NOT purchase barn doors from these people.  They were told I would blog about this, however failed to believe I would.  I do what I say and take my word seriously and keep very good records. Thank God I did as if I hadn't I'm not sure my local guy would have been able to match the original door. He not only did this, he made the original better! He torched the wood to age it like a real barn door and put the stain and color together to make it look as I had intended, he fixed the first door without pay and the second door was less than $500!  As he said, the door made by Good From Wood looked like it was made by a Kindergartner....I agree with the real professional.

And now when the plan comes together!!!!