Thursday, September 15, 2016

Colin Kaepernick, Paul Sabolic and Ventura County's Oldest High School American Football Rivalry

Much has been written and said in recent weeks about respect for the flag and America during the playing/singing of the National Anthem at sporting events due to . . .

. . . Colin Kaepernick's kneeling
during the National Anthem at
recent San Francisco 49ers games

During the subsequent weeks I have been thinking in depth about this issue of guaranteed First Amendment Free Speech vs. respect for the flag.

Two things brought this issue into focus for me in the past few days.

The first was at the Newbury Park-Westlake game last Friday during the usual playing of the National Anthem just before kickoff. Most people stood at attention, men with their hats off, and were respectful. I saw nobody protesting but, as has become far too usual during the anthem, about 10-15% of the crowd just kept talking and walking around paying no attention at all.

Though not a protest, I find this constant disrespect much more bothersome than Kaepernick's protest. I can only remember two times when I felt everybody at a stadium completely bought into the National Anthem, once at the Rose Bowl for the Army-Navy football game and another time in San Diego while scouting a Valhalla H.S. football game. San Diego is a Navy town and people there that night were 100% behind our country and the men and women who serve it.

The other incident that got me to thinking happened when I met with some old friends and the topic quickly got around to Kaepernick. My friends were decidedly against Kaepernick's actions. No problem, I understood their position.

About 20 minutes after their anti-Kaepernick statements the topic of conversation somehow got around to the Vietnam War and the draft.

I was not drafted into the military during those troubled years because of my status as a teacher.

My two friends, who were incensed about Kaepernick's anti-American protest, then began to detail how they had both sought counsel as to how to best avoid the draft and both independently opted to gain massive amounts of weight in order to get an obesity deferment. It turns out that they were both successful in their weight gaining efforts and did not serve.

So all of this got me to thinking, who do I know that I could turn to for their take on Kaepernick?

Paul Sabolic in 1967
Los Angeles Valley College
Offensive Lineman

I have known Paul since our days as students at the University of Washington in the late 1960s.

I once read that every time that you meet a person, subconsciously you answer two questions about your new acquaintance. First, can I trust this person and second, can I respect this person.

For me when I first met Paul, the answers were decidedly YES and YES!

After graduating from the U.of W., Paul joined the Navy via Officer Candidate School and served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

I will see Paul this Saturday night at the Pierce College game and as a veteran I want to hear how he feels about all the brouhaha.

Paul Sabolic today
Thank you for your service!

Meanwhile, back in Ventura County . . .

Santa Paula H.S.

Home of the Cardinals indeed!

Cardinals working on tackling

I visited with Santa Paula Head Coach Mike Montoya on Tuesday to gain some inside knowledge about his club before Friday night's game against their rivals . . .

. . . the Fillmore Flashes

Flash QB going DEEP

Fillmore 7-on-7 Drill

On Wednesday, I spoke with Fillmore H.S. coaches Matt Dollar and Curtis Garner about their takes on the big game which will be broadcast live on an on-line stream by the Ventura County Star at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Fillmore. I will again provide color analysis with broadcast announcer Danny Page and sideline reporter Will Cowan.

This will be the 106th meeting in American football between the Cardinals and Flashes. The first game was in 1923 and Santa Paula leads the series by a tally of 59-39-7.

Reading Is FUNdamental

A low body count for
a Jack Reacher novel

But still a good read!

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