A committed superstar and fan

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 27, 2014

While attending the Vicksburg Warren School District’s education forum this week a statement was made that got me thinking. Former VWSD Superintendent Donald Oakes said that he was committed to this school district and his 40 plus years of service would back that up.
Oakes served as the head of the district on four separate occasions. If the VWSD has a superstar, then Donald Oakes is surely it.
Like superstars of all sports there comes a time to retire and to begin a new season. That season is usually one of rebuilding.
Being a Los Angeles Lakers fan I thought of the great Lakers vs. Celtics rivalries of the ‘60s and the ‘80s. The Celtics owned the ‘60s and won the NBA title every year during that decade except 1967 when they were beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers, who would go on to win the title. The Lakers lost the title to the Celtics all six times they faced off in the finals during that decade.
During the ‘80s the Lakers would win five titles defeating the Celtics in three of those. Both teams were stocked with superstars. Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish for Boston and Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy for Los Angeles. All were superstars whose legacies are inextricably intertwined with their teams. After the departure of those stars both teams experienced mediocre seasons during the rebuilding process. Those retired superstars became super fans and did whatever they could to help their teams. They became cheerleaders touting all the reasons to be proud of their team.
New Orleans Saints fans are some of the truest and most loyal fans around. Despite the ups and downs and there have been many, they remain true fans of their team even when they wore grocery sacks over their heads. Although the number of Saints fans has increased over the last few years as the team has seen success. Those are the fair weather fans and all teams enjoying success have them.
Over those years there were many ups and downs along the way for Donald Oakes and since his retirement, there have been a few more. Yet Oakes persists as a team player willing to do whatever it takes to make his team a success. Walk into the Staples Center in Los Angeles or the TD Garden in Boston and you will see the jerseys of those former superstars hanging from the rafters. Not one of those players has requested to have their jersey removed because they just can’t bear the misfortunes of their team anymore. I’m sure Oakes’ photo will continue to hang in the hallway of superintendents because he is committed to the VWSD and believes in Vicksburg.
I too believe in Vicksburg.

Paul Barry is the managing editor and can be reached by email at paul.barry@vicksburgpost.com or by phone at 601-636-4545.

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