Cooper makes the right call plus tales of the Human Highlight Reel

Published 5:36 pm Friday, February 26, 2021

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I’m right more often than I’m wrong, but not by much. I stopped keeping track a long time ago when I was on a losing streak and never bothered to pick it up again, but I could feel this one coming.

I knew Governor Cooper was going to let more fans watch the COVID-19 delayed high school football season in person and he proved me right.

Cooper made the right call based on science, not because of bills introduced in the House and Senate that would have forced him to relax restrictions.

Think about it for a minute and you’ll see that it was political theater at its finest. It takes a lot longer than a week for a bill to become law and those who introduced them knew just that.

Maybe the state-wide petition started a few weeks ago got his attention. If so, that’s a good thing.

COVID cases in North Carolina have trended downward for weeks now, so many restrictions are relaxed. Makes logical sense to me. Positive behavior yields positive results and vice versa.

The new 30% standard will be good enough for most schools. That means a maximum of 1,200 Pam Pack fans can gather at 4,000 seat Choppy Wanger Stadium for the home opener March 5.

“That is great news for our athletic budget, and we are beyond thrilled,” WHS Athletic Director Lane Raper said. “Based on our attendance from the past few years, everyone who wants to see us play will be able to do so. We are looking forward to welcoming our fans back.”

Raper said fans will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

The Pam Pack boys 2A state basketball tournament run made me think of Dominique Wilkins.

It’s amazing to think that if I had grown up here instead of the frigid Midwest, I could have watched him play.

I asked around and two highly-placed sources told me that Tony Boston, the point guard on the 1978 state title team, was the man to talk to. What a great conversation it was.

“We had a solid group of seniors on that team when Dominique was a junior and he was not the best one out there,” Boston said. “He couldn’t shoot that well, but he could jump and man, could he dunk. It was almost like he was trying to bring the rim and backboard down with him. He was the entertainer on the court and getting the crowd excited made him play even better.”

Boston said the roots of the first title stemmed from a district tournament loss the previous year.

“We remembered that all summer and played pick-up games, ran and worked out so it wouldn’t happen our senior year,” Boston said. “Coach (Dave) Smith didn’t have to push us because we pushed ourselves. Dominique was right there with us and did plenty to help us win.”

Boston followed his friends’ progress the next year and played at Dekalb South (Ga.) Junior College while Wilkins was at the University of Georgia.

“It was amazing how much he improved every year from the time he started at Washington High School until he retired from the NBA,” Boston said. “He was always working to get better at some part of his game. He could always jump and dunk, but he worked to develop the rest of his game.”

Boston said he’s kept up with Pam Pack hoops over the years and hopes this group makes a deep run.

“It’s great what these kids are doing this year,” he said. “I hope they go all the way just like we did. It’s a feeling that always stays with you.”