Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.


Your dislike for “LBJ” is not unlike people’s dislike for open enrollment.  That is, until it’s your turn for a better opportunity!

I’ll admit, I didn’t watch the Miami Heat wrap up the NBA title Thursday night.  In fact I admit to not watching the series at all…little more than the occasional glance to catch the score.

I’ll admit, too, that I tired early of all the talk by the network about LeBron James’ mission to win a title…of ESPN pulling out all stops to put the NBA on the same plane of interest with Major League Baseball and the National Football League, the World Series and the Super Bowl.  That’s never gonna’ happen no matter how much they talk.  Just ask the National Hockey League.

But the issue of people hating LeBron…for openly seeking a better opportunity than that which he had with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  For people who hate LeBron for hand-picking an all-star cast to help him win the NBA title he so coveted.  For those people who are satisfied with their own fate, whatever its consequences. as long as it doesn’t ruffle any feathers…let me make the following comparison.

The same people complain about the current scenario of open enrollment in high school sports, of kids moving between schools for the sake of a better opportunity…a better team.  In reality there is no difference between Lebron choosing to play in Miami with friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh…and the local high school phenom choosing to play with friends made through off-season AAU basketball at a school other than the one in his home district, or with a different coach.

It is a day of mobility.  Kids drive.  They find opportunity.  They see something they like and ask, “Why is this not good for me?” 

They’re not dumb and they’re not blind.  They recognize a better scenario…teammates, coach, facilities, and community support.  It feels different to the adults for the fact of their age, but in reality it’s no different than the adult who leaves one job for a better job.

The coach and school that’s left high and dry doesn’t like it and cries…RECRUITING!  And yet, how can you blame someone for simply improving their own circumstance?

Moreover, how can you deny that if it weren’t for sports…that if a kid jumped schools for Math and English…no one would say a word?  The classroom is different, apparently.  But sports really matters.

Choice is the quintessential element of the American way of life.  We can make a better choice for ourselves, and we do.  And take that freedom away and see what people say then.  Here them cry “foul”.

Tell them they can’t seek better opportunity for their children because of geographic boundaries or traditional loyalties. 

Tell them to learn to like Cleveland, which in essence is what people have said about LeBron for the past two years.

You can argue…you can disagree.  I’d expect it.  A lot of people will say, “That’s different.  It’s all about money.” 

Nah, it’s not.  He had enough money.  It’s about a better opportunity and the freedom of choice.  Build it and they’ll come, we’re fond of saying.  All LeBron did was cut out a few steps.  It’s almost like high school.  And who would know how that feels better than he?