Leave “Personal” stuff to the Person, not the Public

Two rants this week as we continue to get closer and closer to the start of the high school sports season.

It was announced earlier this week that the reigning Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Ben Lucas would not be attending UMaine in the fall due to “personal reasons”. The internet was ablaze in rumors, including a few that had Mr. Lucas following his girlfriend to college. Frankly, in this day and age, it’s not really anyone’s business why Lucas isn’t heading to UMaine, but it seems with the explosion of social media even former Maine high school athletes get celebrity-like coverage.

There’s a shoulder surgery involved to be sure, but there’s a reason it was labeled “personal reasons”, and that reason needs to be honored. Looking at the past history of Maine high school quarterbacks who have gone to UMaine, (former Windham quarterback Jackson Taylor went to Maine and was converted to fullback before transferring, and former Portland quarterback Chris Treister waited years for an opportunity that  never came), perhaps Lucas wanted to make sure he’d go somewhere where he would be able to play. Maybe he decided Orono wasn’t the place for him. Whatever the reason, when it was put out that the reason cited was “personal issues”, it should have been left at that. This is Maine athletics, not the University of Alabama. Whatever Lucas ends up doing, he’ll excel in it.

The other “Grind Gearing” moment this week was watching the coverage of the death of Winthrop student athlete Kelsey Stoneton, the daughter of Winthrop Athletic Director Joel Stoneton, in particular the coverage of WGME on Monday. Stoneton, less than 72 hours after the unexpected death of his daughter, was put on camera and interviewed. Want to do a story on the sadness of losing a person who was so young and full of life? Then do it on how the community is coming together (which WCSH did a couple of days later without having the Stoneton’s appear on camera).

I’m sure Mr. Stoneton wasn’t forced to appear on camera (his wife declined), but he shouldn’t have been asked to in the first place, and it was disappointing at best that the Stoneton family was put in that position. Let people grieve and keep the cameras away from them. Link to the fund-raising page set up in her memory, but leave the family alone, especially so close to a tragedy that no one wants to go through. Best wishes to the Rambler community and the Stoneton family, and I hope you are allowed to grieve in peace moving forward, far away from televison cameras.

Matt Boutwell

About Matt Boutwell

Matt Boutwell is a morning radio host for Z105.5 FM in Auburn, the Voice of the Oxford Hills Vikings on WOXO 92.7 in Norway, and the Program Director for MBR Radio. A former high school athlete who realized he was better off talking about sports rather than playing them, he lives in Mechanic Falls with his family.