For too long we’ve gone without loosening our wrists and stretching our fingers to give a proper “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” salute or jeer to the good, and the bad, in our Cleveland and Bradley …
For too long we’ve gone without loosening our wrists and stretching our fingers to give a proper “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” salute or jeer to the good, and the bad, in our Cleveland and Bradley County community.
Today, we remedy that oversight.
First, a few words about the prideful efforts of some local sports teams whose young athletes have brought more than a few smiles to their schools, their fans and certainly their families.
• THUMBS UP to the Bradley Central High School Bearettes whose “blue collar” hoopsters brought home the team’s first state championship since 1976 when former superstar Karen Mills swished a last-second jumper to earn the crown.
On the most recent afternoon of hardcourt heroics, the historic perimeter shot came from Hannah Lombard — her first points of the game — who canned a three-pointer as the final seconds ticked away. A shout-out, too, to little Jamaryn Blair, tournament MVP; that kid’s great.
• THUMBS UP to the Lee University Lady Flames whose basketball lasses earned the team’s first Gulf South Conference championship since Lee’s acceptance into the ranks of NCAA Division II.
The crown earned the ladies an invitation into the coveted national tournament. Although losing to the University of Tampa in the first round, the Lady Flames took another step in solidifying their university impact on college athletics at this higher level of competition.
• THUMBS UP to the Cleveland State Community College men's basketball team who made an improbable run into the NJCAA basketball tournament where they upset No. 9 seed Casper (Wyo.) College in the first round. The Cougars fell Tuesday in the second round, but what a splendid year for the Cleveland-based community college!
• THUMBS UP to the Cleveland High School wrestling Raiders. Another state championship, and four individual champions! Truly, the road to the high school state championship in wrestling seems to travel straight through Bradley County on a regular basis.
• THUMBS UP to the Cleveland High School Raiders of basketball who won 21 straight games en route to earning the district and region championships, and then advancing through the sectional game, to qualify for the state tournament.
In the tourney’s first round, the Raiders drew three-time defending state champ Memphis East, a team led by a 7-foot-1 superstar — James Wiseman — considered by many the nation’s No. 1 recruit, and who next year will be wearing the colors of the University of Memphis Tigers.
The Raiders played tough early, but proved no match for the powerhouse from West Tennessee. The basketball Raiders nonetheless deserve this recognition, especially in the wake of the happenings involving some of their players in December. And that brings us to today’s first downer.
• THUMBS DOWN to the misguided actions by a few members of the CHS Raiders and Lady Raiders basketball teams during a year-ending road trip that involved misconduct and violation of school policy. The poor decisions landed a few player suspensions, and the dismissal of a star athlete from the team.
Whether the consequences of their tomfoolery served as a wake-up call is uncertain, but it is our hope valuable lessons were learned and the team’s successful trek into the state spotlight showed that kids — when given the opportunity — can rebound from their own mistakes.
• THUMBS DOWN to anyone, and to everyone, who thoughtlessly tosses discards from their car windows, leaving the eyesores to lie in the streets and finally landing on road shoulders and in ditches. Litter is a problem in “The City With Spirit.” We can do better, and we must do better.
This is a subject the Cleveland Daily Banner will explore deeper in future stories, and they will be found on front page where they belong. Perhaps this, too, will serve as a wake-up call to those who trash the rights of others.
• THUMBS UP to a commitment by the Cleveland City Council and City Manager Joe Fivas to take a “big picture” look at the municipality’s long-term debt. The result of their actions is a $6.3 million savings in future debt obligations, simply by reducing the city’s variable debt ratio from 65 to 30 percent.
The volatility of variable-rate loans, as compared to fixed rates, creates too many problems for too many government jurisdictions.
Alas, we’ve run out of space.
Look for more “Thumbs Up” and “Thumbs Down” reflections on this Opinion page … soon.
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