Well, well. Who knew a collection of small towns in Iowa could create such a ruckus?
Perry athletes and their coaches will tell you that having racially charged comments shouted at them or said to them during contests by opposing players (the Bluejay soccer team, in particular, has been constantly abused) is nothing new.
However, toss the name of the leading GOP candidate for president into the mix, and suddenly half the nation knows about our little town.
I can report, as of 4 p.m. Friday, that the “From the Press Box” dispatch posted on our website Wednesday evening has been clicked open over 5,800 times. In less than 48 hours!
Paired with local television reports, the issue exploded across the national media and was Facebook’s top trending topic Thursday. Wow.
The TV reports — of course — were focused solely on the “Donald Trump!” chants coming from the DC-G student section. They were unaware (and/or seemingly did not care) that the Perry girls had been subjected to, in my opinion, a much worse berating at the hands of Boone students Saturday. That angle was discussed in “From the Press Box” and by no other media.
ThePerryNews.com has, of this writing, published 26 replies to the column in question. Never afraid to publish all views, we included many that were quite critical of my writing in general, my column in particular and me personally. Fine. It comes with the territory. It will not surprise you to know we received more than a dozen additional remarks that were so crass and abusive that good taste prevented our airing them publicly.
The Facebook posting of the column reached more than 10,000 and, as you can also see for yourself, quickly drew remarks from all sides of the issue. My personal email also quickly filled with both pro and con replies.
Several Boone students made their views quite clear. Most vociferously attacked me without being able to refute any facts I presented. Some were aghast at the actions of their fellow students.
I made sure to visit with the Kate Shelley Krazies 20 minutes before tip-off in Johnston last night. Some had been chanting my name, so I thought, as I told nearly 100 Toreador faithful — most of whom were paying attention to me — I would “come over here so you could see if I was as big an S.O.B. as some of you think I am.”
They roared with laughter. We had a few minutes of pleasant chat and parted with smiles and well-wishes. I could not have been more pleased with their reaction.
If the Krazies said or did anything Thursday similar to what the superintendent of the Boone School System publicly apologized for Wednesday, I did not see or hear it. They were loud and, so far as I was concerned, simply being a raucous student section. Good for them.
The Jays Nest was at full volume as well. Some students from DC-G, Ankeny, Des Moines Lincoln and Greene County showed up to offer their support for Perry. I was also told, but did not personally see, that students from Ankeny Centennial and Urbandale were also there backing the Jays.
DC-G made a wonderful gesture early Thursday that should not be overlooked. I expect the meeting of student representatives from both schools — initiated, to their credit, by DC-G student leaders — will go a long way toward healing any sore feelings and that it will help create a friendship between the students at the two schools.
Saturday was ugly. Monday was hardly better. Thursday was wonderful.
Will there be future incidences? Knowing human nature, the answer has to be ‘Yes.’ I hope the lessons learned this week will reduce their number.
A few knuckleheads behaved poorly Saturday, and a few others brought an ugly issue out into the open Monday. Fortunately, wiser and cooler heads, on all sides, have prevailed, and they deserve just as much attention, if not more. I hope they receive it.