The view from the press box

Athletes are in the spotlight regularly. They give us a reason to cheer and to be amazed.

They also have a platform to stand on that many of us don’t.

On Sunday, Dwayne Carter is leading a peace march in Navarre starting at 5 p.m. He’s one of the greatest running backs in Raider history and is an all-around class act. Carter is someone many in the community look up to.

So often we have people say that athletes should just stick to their sport. That they should focus only on the game and not spend the time discussing matters that mean so much more in the world.

I’ve never understood that stance. Athletes shouldn’t have to check their right to speak up at the locker room door or the stadium entrance.

And when they choose to speak about something in this world that bothers them, we should listen.

Their voice often carries further and is louder than what others hope their voice can be, and they can certainly help inspire change.

Change is what we need more than ever in this moment in time. George Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer is the latest in a line of events over time that have left us shaking our heads.

We can go about our lives and ignore the problems. Or we can come together and find answers and solutions.

That is exactly what Carter hopes to accomplish. He wants to make the event about education and unity. He wants to create a path for all of us to better understand each other.

And that’s huge.

We can come from different backgrounds and have different views on politics, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come together when it involves making this world a better place to live in.

There is room for all of us to do our part to make a difference. The protest being held Sunday in Navarre Park by Carter is a good starting point.

Welcome Back Sports

Three months after the high school sports world shut down because the COVID-19 pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The school board approved a plan Thursday allowing high school athletes in Santa Rosa County to begin summer workouts.

A phased approach for a return to athletics is being used. And a lot of things are going to be different than normal as this pandemic is ongoing.

Twelve different plans were drafted and county athletic director Jason Weeks said the school district did what it could to implement the best plan possible while keeping safety in mind.

The workouts are voluntary. Student-athletes won’t be penalized for not participating.

I will have more on this story in the June 11 edition of the Navarre Press. 

In the News

Another issue of the Navarre Press is in the stands. Be sure to check out my column on how we probably could have had a spring sports season all along. I also have a feature on Matthew and Andrew McTamney. The Raider baseball players finished in the top 10 of their class.

All-Star Action

There is no word yet on an all-star basketball game, but a baseball and softball showcase is going to take place on June 26. It is being held at the Gulf Breeze Recreation Center. The event begins at 1 p.m. You can read more about that here.

On this Day in Sports History

On June 5, 1952, Jersey Joe Walcott defeated arch-rival Ezzard Charles to defend his heavyweight title. The fight lasted 15 rounds. A year earlier, Walcott became the oldest man to win the title at the age of 37.

On this date in 1955, Mickey Mantle belted a 550-foot home run off Chicago’s Billy Pierce at Comiskey Park.  He did it in the fourth inning of the second game of a doubleheader. His ball smashed a windshield on a street outside the stadium.

On this date in 1982, Martina Navaratilova defeated Andrew Yeager for her first French Open win.

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