Point after: Hometown heroes creates an unexpected stir

mblake@newsobserver.comJanuary 31, 2014 

Our “Hometown Heroes” series was never intended to cause a stir – honest to goodness.

But in my five years here, I don’t remember anything eliciting such strong, and often negative, feedback. It made me wonder if we should discontinue the series, which takes hours and hours to compile.

Readers I heard from and have spoken to say they like the idea behind “Hometown Heroes,” but that didn’t stop feelings from getting hurt when someone didn’t see the athlete they knew best.

To be clear from here on out: Omitting a name is not meant to be a slap in anyone’s face. The point of “Hometown Heroes” has never been to name every former athlete from the area.

That would be a list long enough to cover almost every page of this edition, and wouldn’t leave much room to give out anything aside from their names.

I also learned something.

Many were angry in part because they assumed we were not welcoming feedback. They thought they had missed the boat altogether.

Clearing that up will be a point of emphasis going forward. (Yes, we are going to keep doing the series – at least through this winter and spring).

Here are a few of the players we received emails about: Matt Frongello (Middle Creek class of 2010) of Wofford men’s soccer; Shewit Weldense (Green Hope, 2012) of East Carolina women’s cross country; Ben Girodias (Green Hope, 2011) of Pomona Pitzer (Calif.) men’s cross country; Eric Liebl (Panther Creek, 2012) of Queen’s University; Rachel Harris (Holly Springs, 2011) of N.C. State women’s soccer; Christina Gibbons (Cardinal Gibbons, 2013) of Duke women’s soccer.

It’s great to be in an area where each school sends dozens of athletes into the college sports world every year.

It’s a good problem to have, and certainly beats the alternative of not having enough people in college to start a “Hometown Heroes” list.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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