Roy Exum: A Letter To Jimmy Weekley

Saturday, November 23, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Jimmy …

After a beautiful friend of mine reached the most awful point in a life filled with depression, it was as though I had been punched in the stomach when word reached me she had taken her life. In the days that followed and I wandered in the hollowness that always accompanies such a tragedy, a pastor told me he had been to a similar funeral once and the question was asked, “Are you going to remember this person for the worst 15 minutes of her life or for the countless years of goodness and triumph she provided to all of us?”

The other day I felt like I had been punched in the stomach again. It wasn’t because of your bone-headed decision to solicit sex from an undercover female cop but because we cannot stand silent and allow you to throw away decades of goodness and wonder that you have provided to boys and girls throughout our city. Admittedly, I hardly know you. Oh, I’d try to speak if I saw you out somewhere but the better deal is that I know all about you after watching your colossal ability to teach children, be it from a classroom textbook or in front of a soccer net.

The biggest reason for this letter is to remind you of the very first thing you teach the youngest soccer player. “When you fall down, leap to your feet and get back in the game! You can brush yourself off later!” That is the great virtue of sports, to get back on your feet and resume the game.

When I read you had just resigned from the Baylor School faculty I thought I was going to be sick. While I feel certain you have never been quite as ashamed or embarrassed, my view has been self-ridicule never lasts long if you’ll simply shut up and discuss it with no one other than psychological professionals. You will no doubt remember what auto baron Henry Ford told the media many years ago when he was caught in an indiscretion: “I don’t complain and I don’t explain.”

While it is imperative for you to hold the ones you love the most (and have hurt the worst) together right now, counselling can really be healing and beneficial if you let it. Let yourself accept forgiveness, too. You are already a winner and, while this sounds blasé, it is also very true – turn your scar into a star! Figure out ways you can volunteer to help the women victims who turn to prostitution in desperation, only to fall deeper into a seedy quagmire of drugs and pimps and even death. You have the skills to save someone’s life!

Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Coach inner-city kids on Saturday morning. Call Orchard Knob Elementary and see if you can join the reading program. Become a “foster dad” to some boys who have never had a Dad, much less one who could kick from the corner. Redeem yourself, my friend, and no one else will even have a vote.

Jimmy, I am very pointedly avoiding reciting your sports records, your athletic titles and championships, and your accomplishments. Too often we hear that “if he weren’t a great coach they’d treat him like the rest of us.” No, what you did was wrong and you’ll be able to straighten that out “like the rest of us.”  But – say -- have you ever noticed the very ones who accuse athletes and coaches of “favoritism” when the great among us get in trouble have – in reality – never seen their own picture on Page One? Shun the Legion of the Miserable.

My most dreaded thought right now is one of you ducking around the back of the house when your in-laws come by or slinking around at a soccer match instead of sitting like a gentleman in the stands. You are still Jimmy Weekley. Remind yourself of that constantly and, instead of never living it down, live up to it. You have earned your good name and it is much bigger than one incident of stupidity, as brazen as it may have been.

I refuse to make light of any crime or disobeying the law but it seems to me you have just been handed a “yellow card” (a soccer warning) and it may be the best you’ve ever had to swallow. The police will attest you did not have actual relations with any prostitute and, after seeing your mug on the nightly news, the safest bet in Las Vegas would be that you’ll never get yourself in a scrap like this again. And when you tell this horror story years from now to your church group, a lot of others will learn how to avoid the pain you are going through.

That said, I believe the best hire in the region as either a coach or as a teacher is you. I know many who would write you a recommendation right now based on what you have done to teach, coach and mentor their sons and daughters.  But, wait! I have an even better idea and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I want you to dwell on it.

How about talking to the people who know you better than anyone outside your family? How about calling Baylor back and saying you had a mental breakdown (that would be easy to prove) and that it continued until after you submitted your anguished resignation. Tell them you have since thought about the school motto: “Amat Victoria Curam” and that you believe, deep in your heart, “Victory Loves Care.”

Assure them you are actively pursuing emotional and spiritual help. You tell them that right now, at the lowest moment in your life, you would like “one more chance” to coach and guide the greatest kids in the world. Jimmy, I’ll write you a recommendation if you like. Get back in the game, coach. Focus on the years that you have won, not the one afternoon you lost.

We’ll dust you off later.

Sincerely, 

Roy Exum

royexum@aol.com




Equity Study

What exactly is an Equity Study? Is the the damage control that comes in the wake of the UnifiEd outburst a few weeks ago? I can save the board a whole lot of hassle since the mere mention of doing such a study means that the study will reveal inequities, regardless of any basis.  If they would like to throw a quarter million down the drain for 20 pages ... (click for more)

Coppinger And UnifiEd

I am writing in response to Mayor Jim Coppinger's puzzling quotes in Roy Exum's column this morning, wherein the mayor seems to disavow UnifiEd and its position on the socio-economic desegregation of our schools. On  April 5 , I attended a candidate forum hosted by the North Brainerd Neighborhood Council at the Eastdale Recreation Center gym. That evening, Mayor ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Donaldson Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Son-In-Law

A Criminal Court jury late Friday afternoon returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder against Glen Donaldson in the killing of his son-in-law, Adam Levi. He is facing 15-60 years in state prison. Judge Don Poole will set the sentence at a sentencing hearing. Donaldson, 57, took the witness stand in his own defense near the end of the week-long trial. He claimed ... (click for more)

1st Vote On Controversial Signal Mountain Grocery Proposal Set June 13; Town To Choose Either Tennessee American Or Waldens Ridge For Water Service

The next steps in rezoning 617 Cauthen Way were discussed at the Signal Mountain work session Friday afternoon. Since the last council meeting, Town Manager Boyd Veal created a list of conditions to include in the zoning ordinance relating to the proposed commercial development designed to assure that there is no negative impact to the surrounding properties or to the interest of ... (click for more)

Summertown Stops Sale Creek's Bid For A State Class 1A State Softball Title, 7-5

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sale Creek had its sight set on making some softball history Friday. The Lady Panthers reached their first TSSAA state softball championship with a 3-1 victory over Cascade, powered by a Trinity Liner three-run homer on her 18 th birthday. A few hours later, they wanted to beat Summertown and set up a second title game for all the marbles. ... (click for more)

Silverdale Wins D-II-A State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Kaili Phillips got disqualified in the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Tipton-Rosemark Lady Rebels and nobody gave the Silverdale Lady Seahawks a snowball’s chance of winning that game. But they did. Nobody gave the Lady Seahawks much of a chance of repeating that feat less than 24 hours later in the winner-take-all final game, but once again, ... (click for more)