Honor student-athletes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I’m a big believer in honoring student-athletes.

It’s a big part of what schools do throughout the Roanoke-Chowan region.

At the end of each year or sometimes the end of each semester, the schools in the area hold athletic award banquets or receptions to honor those student-athletes who have been chosen as the best in certain categories.

If we are invited to cover these events, we make every effort to do so because of our belief in those honors.

I’ve said before in this space that I believe that we should do more honoring of the student-athlete and not just athletic prowess.

I’m pleased that several of our area schools have chosen to honor the student part of that equation by giving awards to the male and female students with the highest academic average.

This is a big part of what athletics should be about on the high school level and I am so happy to see the schools give those recognitions.

I’d urge all those who haven’t done so before to seriously consider recognizing those student-athletes who excel in the classroom. They deserve the honor.

Throughout this summer, you’ll be seeing pictures of teams from the Ahoskie Recreation Department’s summer baseball and softball league.

We worked together with Nathan Dilday and others at the ARD to make this happen on Opening Day for 2006, but because of the sheer number of teams, they’ll be running intermittently throughout the summer.

This is something new we’re trying for this league and, if it works, we hope to be expanding into each of the recreation leagues throughout the area we cover.

I made the statement before Sunday’s running of the Neighborhood Excellence 400 that those of us who are Dale Jarrett fans were simply hoping for improvement over his first 43rd place finish in his career.

Well, we got it. This week he moved up to number 24 in the final running order, finishing one lap down to race winner Matt Kenseth.

I’m afraid the rest of this season is not going to be a lot of fun for those of us who have been loyal fans of DJ and the number 88.

While I’m not certain that there will ever be another championship chase for DJ, I’ll be following him over to Michael Waltrip Racing. I’ll be his fan until the day he climbs out of the car for the last time.

Speaking of fans, I have been one of Meredith Davies Long since she was a player at Chowan.

I watched her play center field for what was then the Braves for her entire career. I’ve said many times that I think she’s the best that ever played in a Chowan softball uniform.

I must admit to having mixed emotions when she told me she was going to step aside as the softball coach to spend more time working as an athletic administrator.

Her coaching has seemed so natural and her program is on the rise so it was hard to see her walk away from it.

On the other hand, Chowan needs quality administrators and I’m sure they have one. She’ll be top notch.

Also making a tough decision last week was Dexter Carter, the Murfreesboro native who chose college over pro baseball.

The salary they offered was not enough for Carter to have made a living, but the Texas Rangers offered the right-handed pitcher a pro baseball contract and those aren’t growing on trees.

I’m proud of Dexter’s common sense and wisdom in deciding to head to a four-year institution where he can get a college degree and compete on the baseball diamond.

With hard work and good fortune, Carter will have the opportunity to play baseball down the road. Until then, he’ll be earning a college degree which no one will ever be able to take away from him.

He’s a smart, levelheaded young man who made a good decision and should be congratulated for it.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome.

You can reach me at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.