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A lesson in learning and moving forward

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A lesson in learning and moving forward

ZACH WOMBLE

As many of you know by now, I published an article that garnered a lot of attention late last week. In my weekly opinion column previewing the Portland vs. White House football game I stated at the end, "In my opinion, the only thing the Panthers have going for them this week is that the team is at home. Guess fans don't have to travel far to see them lose."

Having had time to reflect on it, I've come to the conclusion that those last two sentences added no value to my column and I shouldn't have included them.

I'm sorry that many people in the community took my words as a personal attack when in reality all my previews and predictions are in good natured fun. I've picked Portland to win this year and I've picked them to lose -- I do the same for the other five teams I cover. I promise you I've said edgy things to other fan bases but none seemed to elicit the reaction that this one did.

Things hit a fever pitch at the game Friday night and I hope never have to experience anything like that again. Some people took their anger too far and threatened physical violence at the game. That is never ok, ever. You may not like my writing but we should be able to have a civil conversation about it and not resort to threats like, "I'm going to kick your teeth in" and "meet me outside the gates so I can teach you a lesson." That was way out of bounds.

I called Coach Greg Cavanah Friday afternoon to offer an apology. As I told him, in no way shape or form was my intention to criticize the players or coaches. I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the athletic programs at Portland, including football. I would never want our readers to feel that was not the case.

Coach Cavanah accepted my apology and I hope you will too. I'm not apologizing for picking White House to win, I'm simply apologizing for making it seem as if I was throwing dirt on the Portland name. I've always been good to Portland and I will continue to be because Portland High School is full of good coaches, players and people.

As for the team's performance Friday night, I was very pleased to see them play well and they almost pulled out a victory. I'm not allowed to root for any one team, but I'd be lying to you if said I didn't want all my teams to go undefeated because it makes my job that much more fun. This is a good football team and I did a poor job of illustrating that in my column and I apologize. I should have given the Portland players more credit than I did.

I have seen your comments, both good and bad and it presents an opportunity for me to learn and grow. I can't promise I won't write something you disagree with again, but I will try to use your words and opinions in a positive way.

I love my job, even on bad nights - and Friday was a bad one. But I will continue to work hard to provide our readers with the very best sports coverage I can. I will continue to make predictions and offer opinions, but I will make sure to choose my words more carefully next time.

I'm ready to move on and I hope you are too.

Thanks for reading.

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