Slinging a smooth stone

by C.F. David, Editor The Boise City News

Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades

My late wife Carol and I liked to watch the Olympics, Summer and Winter.

I still get a thrill watching the tape of Franz Klammer ripping through the downhill in Innsbruck, 1976.

But often, I'd really raise Carol's ire over winning and losing. I would come home from work and she'd meet me at the door with an update on the U.S. and our favorite foreign athletes.

She'd give an athlete's name and then tell me, “He/she won the Silver Medal.” (That's second place for those of you who don't keep up.)

Then I'd smile and say, “No, he/she was the first loser. Unless there is a dead heat, photo finish, then somebody wins, everybody else loses.”

That's what life is all about after all, winning and losing. Without winners there are no losers and vice-versa.

This year, at Keyes High School, they will have two winners. Or will they?

The school board, at the recommendation of Superintendent Ed Turlington in a four to one vote, decided to amend the school policy on Valedictorians and Salutatorians.

Their foggy, and unexplained reasoning? “Extenuating circumstances”.

Both Board Clerk Ray Eslinger, (The lone voice of descent) and Turlington agree on one thing; it was close race between Jared Balenseifen and Nicole Fry. But it wasn't a tie. And neitherTurlington or Eslinger will say who lost first.

I have no idea who won in the race to the G.P.A. finish line.

However, I have, in the last three years, been around both of these young people. They are each an outstanding young man and woman.

Fry has a beautiful singing voice, she is an outstanding athlete and student.

Balenseifen, is into 4-H, he's an Eagle Scout and is fascinated with atomic energy.

Turlington is right, it's a shame that they couldn't have both won, but he admitted that by the narrowest of margins, it wasn't so.

But apparently, for what ever reason, Turlington and the majority of the board made the decision that the policy would be amended and that two winners would be named.

In doing so, they have denied each of these young people of something important.

They denied the rightful winner out of the sweet taste of victory after 12 grueling years of school work.

They denied the young person who lost, that bittersweet knowledge that they too had struggled for 12 years and had come so close to victory, lost it and would have to try harder at the next level. That is a valuable lesson lost forever. Then, “victory”was handed them with a four-to-one vote. That's not winning and I doubt it tastes like winning either. For you see, there is value in losing, as there is in winning; for without a loser, we'd have no gauge by which to identify and lift up a winner. And what lesson have we taught all the young men and women working their way toward “success” in the lower grades?

The word for the week is aggrieved.

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
105 W. Main Street
Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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