to Nick McCrory, the East Chapel Hill High School athlete who last week brought home gold from the Speedo Junior National Diving Championships in Indianapolis.
McCrory, who set a state prep record last spring with the highest score ever posted at the North Carolina championships, last week captured the boys 14-15 platform and 3-meter national titles.
He had to come from behind to do it, putting up big numbers on his final dive in the platform to overtake the young man in front of him. Clutch.
Another local diver, Nick Klein, also did well, posting a sixth-place finish.
This is a community that is awash in young champions of one sort or another, and it's easy to become so accustomed to excellence that we overlook extraordinary accomplishments. But we ought to fight that drift.
This is a big country. Think about how many high schools there are, and how many high school athletes there are, spread across the nation. Working your way to the very top against a field that vast is a remarkable and noteworthy thing. Great job.Roses
to Jonah Garson, who has launched an effort to restore UNC's Forest Theater to its former glory.
The lovely stone-walled outdoor theater has a prestigious pedigree. William Coker, the university's first professor of botany and the creator of the arboretum that bears his name, picked out the spot in 1916, and famed drama professor Frederick Koch, founder of the Carolina Playmakers, brought it to life. The Playmakers did annual performances there for many years, and the theater remained in active use into the mid-1970s; a memorable 1974 run of "Hair" drew overflow crowds.
But in the years since, the theater has become infrequently used and has fallen into disrepair. That's a shame, because it's a unique and beautiful setting. It could be -- should be -- a distinctive and lively place for drama, music and other performances.
Garson, managing director of Single Shot Theatre Company (which is staging "Julius Caesar" at Forest Theater this weekend), has begun forming a committee to try to bring the place back to health.
It's a great idea, and Garson -- who at 19 is too young to have known the theater in its heyday -- should be commended.Raspberries
to the management of Carr Mill Mall for issuing a cease-and-desist order to Bruce Thomas.
Thomas' offense? Dancing in public.
If you've been by the Weaver Street Market lawn, you've seen Thomas. A tall man often clothed in colorful garb, he twirls and dips and glides. He dances alone, although it's not uncommon to see children join in, mirroring his movements.
Carr Mill Mall manager Nathan Milian has informed Thomas that he must stop dancing.
And this may be just the beginning; word is that the hula hoopers may be told to leave their hoops at home. What's next? You folks who sit in the grass and play guitars, consider yourselves on notice.
Talk about a bad call.
The flap is a reminder that the Weaver Street Market lawn, which functions essentially as public space, is private property. Carr Mill Mall, which owns the space, has the right to manage it as it sees fit. But even as a purely business decision, this one seems to misjudge the character of the place.
Forbidding dancing in a china shop makes sense. Forbidding it an outdoor gathering place like the Weaver Street lawn doesn't.
There may be some who are less than enchanted by Thomas' dancing, but in no sense can it be construed as offensive, threatening, disruptive or otherwise troublesome. On the contrary, it's a part of what gives Carrboro its flavor: spontaneous, creative, playful. He's not bothering anybody; he's just dancing.
Free expression is often a little rough around the edges. It's unpredictable. That's its charm.
There are limits, of course. When things turn bad you have to step in and make changes; just look at Apple Chill. But the situation on the lawn isn't even close. Nobody's getting hurt. Everybody's having a good time. Go by on a Thursday evening some time; you'll join a big happy crowd, with a band playing, food grilling, people dancing, kids playing, hulas hooping. It doesn't need fixing.
Is Thomas' habit of dancing by himself slightly unusual? Sure. Thank heaven for the slightly unusual.