Religious freedom still found in public schools

I’m old enough to remember those halcyon, sepia-toned days when students still said the pledge of allegiance and it was not at all unusual to begin the day with a word of prayer — whether intoned by the deep resonant voice of my principal over the intercom during morning announcements, or in class by the sprightly, sing-song voice of my seventh-grade homeroom teacher. Somehow we managed to survive those “oppressive” days of religious “indoctrination” without bringing any heavy weaponry to school to commit mass murder.

But the world has changed…  changed in many ways, and not all of them for the better.

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It’s never been easy to be a kid…

An old classmate of mine I haven’t seen in decades invited me to lunch this week. We caught up on old times, and brought each other up-to-date on how our lives had turned out. The usual stuff. We both have kids of our own, and we traded “war stories.”

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Why do I even bother?

Overton Theater, 1953

I want a dynasty, in Shangri-La…  not only do I have great expectations for myself (and my descendants) but I hope for a “rising tide” that lifts all ships. In short, I want to see Overton flourish.

Of course, by “Overton” I mean the delta of Oil Belt communities in western Rusk County between Highways 42, 64, and 135. When I refer to “Overton” I am almost certainly including the scattered communities of Arp, New London, et al — it’s just easier and quicker to refer to it as “Overton” because, well, I live in Overton. Also, I believe Overton sets the tone for the rest. As the most populous community in this part of the county — and the only municipality of the bunch that generates city sales tax revenue — if Overton flourishes, the rest will as well. But I digress…

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An open letter to the 2013 Overton Mustangs

As a rule, when it comes to sports — especially youth sports — I try to give the kids the benefit of the doubt and save my sharpest criticisms for the coaching staff. The coaches understand this, it’s part of the job. If you win, everyone thinks you’re a genius. If you lose, they think you’re a bum. Tale as old as time.

However, Friday night’s wretched performance is more than I can bear. Against my better judgment I’ve decided to point the full force of my observation to what I believe to be the most grievous weakness about this team. All in the hopes that by publicly drawing it to your attention — and speaking for those who came before you — it might provoke in you the sting of shame that every proud man who wore the green and white now feels.

But first, a few words of praise.

That’s right — before I take you to task, I want set a few things straight.

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