George Hale’s Perspective on Sports: Roger Reed

Updated 3 years ago

I FIRST MET ROGER REED AROUND 1979.HE WAS COACHING BANGOR CHRISTIAN TO THE EASTERN MAINE CLASS D BASKETBALL TITLE.REED DID AN IMPRESSIVE JOB BUT IT WAS JUST ONE OF MANY TO FOLLOW IN A CAREER THAT SPANNED THREE DECADES OF LEADING YOUNG MEN TO SUCCESS ON AND OFF THE BASKETBALL COURT.AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW BY NOW, ROGER HAS SUBMITTED HIS RESIGNATION TO BANGOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND WILL NOT BE BACK NEXT SEASON.THE END OF HIS COACHING CAREER CAME NOT BECAUSE HE HAS LOST HIS “FIRE IN THE BELLY” BUT BECAUSE OF SOME STRANGE POLICY INSTITUTED AT BANGOR HIGH SCHOOL BY THE PRINCIPAL.INVITED TO RETURN AS COACH, AS HE ENDED HIS TEACHING CAREER, REED HAD TO MAKE A CHOICE BETWEEN RUNNING FOR THE LEGISLATURE AND COACHING BASKETBALL.IT WAS A RULE OF SORTS WHICH PUT HIM IN A TOUGH SPOT.SO JUST BEFORE PRIMARY DAY, LAST TUESDAY, REED SUBMITTED HIS PAPERWORK TO LEAVE THE SCHOOL COACHING RANKS EVEN THOUGH HE IS THE PREMIERE HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACH IN THE STATE.THE NUMBERS ARE SIMPLY AMAZING REALLY.HIS TEAMS WON SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF GAMES AND THE RAMS PUT TOGETHER 26 CONSECUTIVE WINNING SEASONS.MOST SCHOOLS LONG FOR SUCH RECORDS.IF YOU GO INTO RED BARRY GYM AT THE SCHOOL YOU WILL SEE A MYRIAD OF CHAMPIONSHIP BANNERS WON BY ATHLETES THROUGH THE YEARS.INCLUDED ARE SIX BASKETBALL STATE TITLES..BUT IN THE END NONE OF THAT SEEMED TO MATTER.REED, WHO LOOKED FOR A NEW CHALLENGE, HAD ENTERED THE POLITICAL REALM AND WAS RUNNING FOR A SEAT IN THE NEXT LEGISLATURE.LAST TUESDAY HE WON THE REPUBLICAN NOD TO COMPETE IN NOVEMBER TO REPRESENT DISTRICT 23 WHICH INCLUDES CARMEL, ETNA, HERMON AND STETSON.HERE’S WHERE IT GETS A BIT DICEY.SCHOOL OFFICIALS DETERMINED THAT BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE MEETS DURING THE BASKETBALL SEASON REED WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DEVOTE THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF TIME TO THE TEAM.WHEN IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT THE BANGOR CROSS COUNTRY COACH, ADAM GOODE, IS A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE IT WAS SAID THAT HIS SPORT IS IN THE FALL.IT WAS ALSO A TOUGH DECISION FOR THE PRINCIPAL PAUL BUTLER WHO PLAYED FOR REED AND INVITED HIM BACK TO COACH NEXT SEASON BUT ONLY IF HE DIDN’T RUN FOR THE SPOT IN AUGUSTA.REACTION TO THE SITUATION HAS BEEN FAST AND PREDICTABLE.SEVERAL QUESTIONS ARE FAIRLY ASKED.HOW DO YOU HAVE A POLICY THAT IS ENFORCED ON ONE COACH AND NOT ANOTHER?IS THIS A RULE PASSED BY THE SCHOOL BOARD OR IS JUST AN EXECUTIVE DECISION?HAVE ANY OTHER BASKETBALL COACHES IN MAINE DONE BOTH JOBS IN THE PAST?REED, A SUPERIOR STRATEGIST, SAID HE HAD DONE THIS HOMEWORK AND, YES, IT WAS A WORKABLE SITUATION.MAINE HAS A “CITIZEN LEGISLATURE”.THAT MEANS IT’S A NON-PROFESSIONAL BODY COMPRISED OF AVERAGE CITIZENS WHO DO PART-TIME WORK AND RECEIVE LOW PAY FOR THEIR EFFORTS.THERE ARE DOCTORS, LAWYERS, MECHANICS, HOUSEWIVES, TEACHERS, ACCOUNTS AND, YES, COACHES WHO PERFORM THEIR TASKS EVERY SESSION.SOME MEMBERS RUN FULL TIME BUSINESSES AND STILL PERFORM THEIR ELECTED DUTIES.COMMITTEE WORK IS NOT A SEVEN DAY A WEEK BUSINESS AND THERE ARE MANY DAYS ATTENDENCE IS NOT REQUIRED.I PERSONALLY ASKED SEVERAL WELL-PLACED LEGISLATORS IF WHAT REED WANTED TO DO WAS POSSIBLE AND REASONABLE AND THEIR ANSWER WAS ABSOLUTELY YES.MOST WERE CRITICAL OF THE DECISION.SO, IN THE END, ROGER REED DOES WHAT HE HAS ALWAYS DONE.HE ENDED HIS COACHING CAREER WITH CLASS AND DIGNITY.THE ELECTION IS MONTHS AWAY AND NO ONE KNOWS THE OUTCOME.IN THE END IT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE MATTERED ANYWAY.NOT EVERYTHING WE WERE TAUGHT IN CIVICS CLASS WORKS OUT AS PLANNED.THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS.


MENU