A prayer for my friend, Jim Matney

Learn from those around you

Don't make it have to be you before you learn this lesson

I have always heard that history is the finest teacher. I have also heard that is an incomplete recitation of that particular quote.

I can’t find this anywhere, but I have been told the entire quote is history is the finest teacher for those too stubborn to learn from others. I can't find to whom to attribute this particular quote. My guess would be Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac if I were forced to venture a guess.

The point of the quote is not to label people stubborn, which all too often we so richly deserve. The point is we don’t have to have everything happen to us for us to learn lessons. We could take our heads out of the sand, look around at our neighbors, and learn to avoid what befalls them. 

We have had another “neighbor” get stricken with COVID-19. I can’t pretend to know the immunization status of my friend Jim Matney, but I have heard he was unvaccinated.

I have heard he came down with COVID-19, required airlift to Huntington, W.Va., and suffered a stroke, in-flight. I have also heard this set of circumstances has resulted in a bleak prognosis. 

Any life wasted is a shame. Any death far too soon is a tragedy. Dying from something for which one could easily have been vaccinated, and stood little to no chance of perishing, is anguishing. 

Jim Matney has been the HC at Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, Kentucky since 2004 after a successful stint at Sheldon Clark. Matney graduated from Belfry High School and Liberty University and has had the most successful run at the helm of the JCHS football and wrestling teams in either program’s history.

Last season, Coach Matney spoke of the importance of football and sports to the student athletes during these “trying times” presented by the ’20 COVID-19 outbreak. Matney thought, at the time, football workouts were good for kids’ mental health. Positions like his may have influenced the The KHSAA Board of Control to permit fall sports in ’20. 

He said in ’20 in an interview with the Paintsville Herald’s Joshua Blankenship, “I know this is a scary time and this is a scary illness and I don’t have the answers too it.” Since then, medial science proposed some answers, these answers just haven’t been good enough to a budding crop of amateur scientists showing up in every nook and cranny the internet possesses. 

We have had three emergency authorized vaccines, one of which (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine) has now gained full FDA approval with a second (Moderna) almost certain to follow. Yet, we still have people who won’t get vaccinated. We now have people catching the disease and they are starting to “drop like flies.” 

Please God, make this insanity stop! While we are saying prayers, say one for the Matney family. 

Learn from the mistakes made by people around you. Learn from the people willing to admit they were mistaken after coming down with a disease costing so many their lives. Don’t have to come down with it yourself for you to learn the lesson. 

Learn it from our recent history. Don’t be so stubborn you refuse to learn it until it is too late for either you or someone you love.   

This is your old Uncle Abe Yokem and I am still up here SHOUTING FROM THIS MOUNTAIN-TOP!


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