See what you CAN do

Charlotte Brown finished third at the Texas State Track and Field Championships in the pole vault.

She cleared 11-6.

She finished fourth as a junior at 11-feet and eighth as a sophomore at 10-6.

Charlotte Brown is blind.

Legally blind.

Brown developed cataracts when she was about four months old. She had several operations, including the insertion of artificial lenses. Brown’s vision started to worsen when she was about 11.

“Don’t limit yourself,” she said in an interview. “Don’t tell yourself that you can’t do things because oftentimes limitations are like illusions – they aren’t real. You think they are,

“The biggest thing is to always tell yourself you can do it, no matter what it is.”

There’s a lot of things I tell myself I can do. But, two weeks short of 55, those days are long behind me.

Not, I watch my son try to do those things.

I have been a track guy since running in my first Boys Club track meet at age 9.

There’s something about track that is magical.

But, baseball people say it about baseball, volleyball people about volleyball.

Track, like wrestling, is a beast on its own in many ways.

Track is very family- and team-oriented, yet it can be very individualistic at the same time.

Charlotte Brown could not get on that podium by herself.

She needed a ton of people in her corner who oozed support.

“I finally did it (stand on the podium),” she said in an Associated Press article. “If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way.”

There are always obstacles in the way.

Sometimes it’s things, sometimes it’s circumstances and sometimes it’s people.

We must figure out a way to support while being honest.

There are many things Charlotte Brown cannot do – they are just different than the things we cannot do.

Yet, why do we, as a society, tend to focus on the things we cannot do instead of focusing on what we can accomplish?

The list of things we can’t do is relatively substantial.

So, why look at that list.

Concentrate on the things we can do, the things we can control, the things that will make our lives better.

The first thing we can do every morning is to wake up (God willing) and be positive about what lies ahead.

We choose our attitude every day.

Every day.

“If there’s a way to do something for yourself, that’s a good idea,” she said. “When I need to know if my socks match or not, it’s a good time to ask for help. Can’t find Waldo? Probably need to ask for help.”

She is going to be a walk-on at Purdue.

Life on the Boilermakers’ campus just got better.

Life is full of blessings. Find yours and count them.

Will the Hancock County Board of Education stop posting spring high school coaching jobs 12 months in advance.

You have had two lame duck head coaches and coaching staffs recently and that is two too many.

Post the jobs after the respective seasons have ended. You know, like you do for fall and winter sports.

Quit doing the easy thing and start doing the right thing.

Why should 10 percent of disgruntled sports parents be allowed to make 90 percent of the noise?

What is your end game?

Your child has one or two years left at the school and will rarely step foot on campus once they leave.

What about the freshman and eighth grade parents who really like the coach? Why should your opinion matter more than theirs?

What will you do when same child has a college professor he/use really doesn’t like at all but has to take that professor for that class?

You walking into the professor’s office? Not a chance. You sitting in on the class and complaining about how the lesson is being taught? Not a chance.

You will tell your child to “figure it out and suck it up.” Apparently, though, that doesn’t count when discussing high school coaches.

I know coaches are better than others, just like in any profession.

I also know that some parents are better than others.

Have said it before and will do so many more times, how would you feel if coaches said the same thing about your parenting that you say about their coaching?

Remember, kids have spent a lot of time at home before they step foot on a high school campus.

Always remember, careful what you wish for.

Edify. Don’t crucify.

Can you please tell me when teachers can become teachers once again?

School is no longer about teaching, it is ALL about passing some standardized tests (thanks to BOE on state level) that mean NOTHING when kids head to college.

The ACT and SAT are the standardized tests that matter and, in reality, those tests mean NOTHING about the future of a college student.

The numbers are to allow some schools to say so and other schools to hand out more academic money the higher the score.

My children are on opposite ends of the spectrum in how they learn.

Forever ago my son was drawing something and I saw two orange lightning bolts. Not having any idea where he was going with the drawing I asked.

“I’m drawing a cat,” he said.

When finished, I saw a cat.

My daughter, on the other hand, can spend billions of hours in her room reading.

A book kid.

I cannot tell you how many times I read “Goodnight Moon” to her when she was a child.

Yet, each are going to take the same standardized test.

But, the bigger problem is simple, if those two were in the same classroom, a teacher COULD NOT teach them the same way. It wouldn’t work.

Yet, that teacher is on the hook for those stupid standardized grades on kids who are vastly different in learning abilities and methods.

I understand what those numbers are used for, but when can teachers go back to being teachers?

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com, followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike and is on the radio weekday mornings from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Joey Klepack and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturdays on WEIR-AM)