Reasonable resolution reached

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist

Last week I wrote that I was concerned about comments I heard at a Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting, where some parents voiced displeasure about their son being cut from the freshman boys basketball team. I am not concerned any longer.

I said in last week’s column that I had heard only side of the story, that there are usually two sides to any story, and that this week I’d look into the other side.

So I did. After calling athletic director Dave Dietrick and not immediately getting an answer, I soon received a call from superintendent Jim Smith. Shortly thereafter I called head boys basketball coach Bruce Miles and a little later he gave me a call back.

What I learned was that somewhere along the line the school administration and boys basketball staff got together, and since there were some open spots on the freshman, reserve and-or varsity teams, they decided to invite six boys that had been cut back to their respective teams.

Part of the parents’ complaint at the board meeting stemmed from the fact that their son had been cut when spots on the team were available.

“We do believe we need to carry more kids. That was expressed to the (parents that spoke at the board meeting), and it’s just not them,” Smith said.

Another of the parents’ complaints was that their son thought he made the team, then two days later was told he was cut.

“We don’t think anybody on our end meant to misinform anyone,” Smith said.

The superintendent said little else except that, “If they wish to come back to the basketball team an opportunity awaits.”

Miles said he did not want to get into a public back and forth spat over exactly what happened with the cuts. He said he mainly wanted to echo what Smith said.

But he did say, “There will be a spot for these kids and we’re looking forward to starting the season and developing and coaching these kids.”

Miles and Smith are not the only people I talked to about the situation since I wrote last week’s column. I talked to several people and learned things I previously did not know. Still, I cannot give you exact specifics about everything that transpired from the time tryouts started until this week. I could speculate and probably give you a fairly accurate summary about how the whole the thing went down, but since both Smith and Miles steered clear of a confrontation, I will not go there either.

But I will tell you this. After talking with coach Miles I sincerely believe that his heart was in the right place. I truly believe that he was trying to do what he thought was best for the Hillsboro basketball program. And I believe that he did not intenionally mislead anyone.

Not everyone may agree with his decisions, but he knows a lot more about the whole situation than anyone else, and he’s the one who’s been given the job of making those decisions.

Last week I told you that the I believe the father who spoke at the school board meeting is a good man. I still do. I believe Bruce Miles is a good man, too.

A few years ago when I drove a grandson to school each morning and dropped him off in front of Hillsboro Elementary, Bruce Miles and I must have been on similar schedules. Because it seemed that more mornings than not, as we waited in line to drop children off, his vehicle was the one directly in front of mine. Each morning he’d stop at the designated location, get out of his vehicle and open the door for each of his little daughters, give them a kiss and a little hug, then send them on their way smiling. That aways impressed me.

I watched Bruce Miles play high school basketball at Hillsboro. I’ve umpired softball games he played in and officiated basketball games he coached. He’s always been respectful, and I’m certain his recent decisions were based on what he believes is best for Hillsboro’s basketball program.

Coaching is not an easy business. The pay is scant, the headaches are many, and handling complaints and dealing with problems are almost as much a part of the job as actually coaching.

This week, Miles and his staff decided to relent from their original position on cutting kids and welcomed them back. I applaud them for being open-minded.

I applaud the Hillsboro administration for looking into the parents’ complaints.

I know this has not been an easy issue for either side. I’m certain it has caused sleepless nights.

But it is Thanksgiving weekend, and in that spirit I’m thankful that I live in a community where people can hash out their differences and reach a reasonable resolution. Sure, there was heartache on both sides along the way. But take a look around the world. If whether or not a kid makes a basketball team is at the top of our worries, we should be more than thankful.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist Gilliland Staff Columnist