Like most people in Scappoose and St. Helens, I grew up in a small town. I lived in the hills to the north of Molalla. We had a tiny grocery store down the road, the only one for miles, that was just within summer walking distance for ice cream. My elementary school had less than 200 kids total, and it was one of the largest in the district. The local grange, a rickety old building down the street, was a common meeting place for birthdays, graduation parties and wedding receptions – and it seemed like the whole community was there for each one.

The little store is closed now. I don’t know that any of the teachers at the school have yet to reach retirement, and I haven’t stepped into the grange for years, but the small town still sticks with me. We were a tight knit group. Newcomers, while welcomed, took time to integrate, and the people who had been in the community for 20 or 30 years were known by – almost literally – everyone.

These two communities are much the same way. Some of the teachers have been around long enough to mentor entire families. My predecessor, John Brewington, has been in the area for 40 years. You know and love your coaches, remember your alumni and respect the traditions that have been in place for longer than most can recall.

All that said, I have recompense to make.

Last week, there was a pretty big stir surrounding my column on scheduling. I heard late on Friday night that a number of people were unhappy in the Scappoose Athletic Department, and I didn’t entirely understand why.

It wasn’t until Monday, when I got back to the office, it started to make sense. The scheduling wasn’t the main issue, it was a loosely and mistakenly used word that implied an under-the-table network was being run by Scappoose’s athletic director Robert Medley.

‘Cronies’ was the word.

Connotations make much it more derogatory than I intended. Use the word ‘colleagues,’ or ‘fellow athletic directors’ and read the story again. I want the best for this program. I have high expectations, but in no way do I think there is something going on that shouldn’t be.

Let me reiterate I have the upmost respect for Robert Medley. He runs a great program, has always been accessible, and he and I have never had a problem before.

I get that I’m new here, and it takes time to fit in. I may never fit in fully here, unless I live, die and am buried in this community. I know that because I used to live on the other side of it, and all I ask is that I’m given the chance to live down my mistakes.

‘Cronies’ is one of them. There will be more; I’m as human as the barista who makes your coffee every morning. But know I have nothing but good things to say about the people I’ve met here, the love for your community and accomplishments you’ve been able to pull off together. You deserve the best product on the field, and from me you should get no less.

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