Welcome back Jay

Published 10:03 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

In this line of work you meet all kinds of coaches.

There are those who are good, those who are not so good; those who care about their kids and those who don’t; those who work hard and those who have never seen an excuse they didn’t like.

One of my absolute favorites is and always has been Jay Conn.

When I first started going to Ahoskie Christian School basketball games they were being played at Triple C Bible Camp. I remember one night there was snow on the ground and Jay had to send a four-wheel drive truck to get Bethel Christian Academy coach Joe Mizelle.

There were some fun times in that gym. Despite the fact his team was chocked full of fifth, sixth and seventh graders, Jay taught them the game of basketball and never let them hang their heads. He also taught them the importance of playing the game the way Christian young people should.

He would probably die for me telling this, but I was standing with Jay talking between games when the officials game up for their money. He handed one the money from the gate (which barely covered the expense) and wrote the other one a personal check.

That’s the type of person we lost when Jay Conn moved to Morehead City. We lost a man that cared so much about his kids that he would pay for the officials out of his own pocket to make sure they can play.

We often joke about how Jay is a constant comedian and how he is a little off-the-wall at times. He is, but then again I’m often that way too so maybe that’s why we understand each other.

I know that I like Jay Conn and most other people I know who have dealt with him on an athletic level do too. I know he couldn’t walk into the gym at Bethel last weekend without being surrounded by people who wanted to talk, catch up and generally have a good laugh.

It’s a shame that when my son grows up he won’t have the opportunity to play for Jay. I would have liked that and I think he would have too. My son is a comedian at heart, just like his father, and I think the two of them would have gotten on famously.

While I’m on the subject of the Conns, I want to add how much I miss Tori playing here. I enjoyed covering her the couple of years I did when she was growing up. I knew she was going to grow from a spunky youngster into a fine young lady. Having had the opportunity to interview her last week, I found out quickly that I was correct.

As we often do, we lost good people – and I’ll say this without apology – for bad reasons. It’s a shame Jay won’t be coaching here and Tori won’t be playing here. I for one certainly miss them.

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.