Life can be too busy!

I want to apologize to our loyal readers and staff for last week’s blunder.

Last week my column was not in the “Opelika Observer.” The reason … I forgot! I was too busy with life. No excuse – just a fact of life.

Forgetting to write my column was a first for me. Oh, I have forgotten many things over 49 years but not my job(s).

All of us have issues in our lives that come up and cause some stress and worries. Last week my father, John L., underwent emergency surgery at EAMC. (Thanks to the staff and doctors at EAMC, the surgery was a success and John L. is back to his usual duties.) I was out in Oxford taking care of Dixie Boys baseball matters when my father called me with the news. My first thought was to get back to Opelika ASAP to be with my mother and father. Heck, I couldn’t fix the problem, but I could be with my mother and father while waiting for the surgery.

I love my family (mother, father, daughters Mallory and Madison, brothers etc.) and cherish each of them. During all of this, I forgot to write my column.

The administration at the “Opelika Observer” was forgiving and concerned about me and my family. Thanks for all the support!

The 2013-14 school year is just about complete. Students have one more week of classes before the summer vacation starts. The seniors will graduate next Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

This will be the last year students will be attending classes in “Bulldog Village” (portable classrooms), dodging construction, parking in makeshift parking lots and many other things students and faculty dealt with while construction workers renovated OHS. Every student, teacher, teachers aide, staff, administration, coaches and other staff members need a “thank you” for adapting while this great venture comes to a reality.

The renovations are almost complete.

I had a chance to discuss the renovations with Dr. Mark D. Neighbors. The school renovations are several weeks ahead of schedule and under budget. This is great news to all! We are about to open a new OHS in the fall. The long two years of construction will soon be behind us. The costs are in line with budget, and crews have worked round the clock to finish the job.

The next phase is the fun part. Crews will start moving new desk, chairs, computers, etc., into the school. This means the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing so bright you need sunglasses.

Dr. Neighbors hopes the school will be ready to use by the end of June. OCS will hold open house when all the work is complete.

I toured the school with Dr.Neighbors a few weeks ago. I was in awe of the new building. The halls were huge, classrooms larger, every class has a window, and everything is new and up to date.

The new OHS is another positive for Opelika. The $40-plus million spent on the school was needed, we have already seen the advantages and will continue to see advantages in the future. We already have the best teachers you can hire; now we will have one of the best high schools in Alabama.

The people of Opelika, Mayor Gary Fuller, city council members and others that pushed for this to happen should be thanked for supporting this project. Raising taxes are bad, but sometimes we have to give a little to get things done.

In my opinion, this is one of the smartest and best moves ever made by our leaders!

Don’t take my word for it. When the system holds  “open house,” take a tour. You will be proud of Opelika!


Coach Brian Blackmon completed his 6th spring training last Thursday with a scrimmage against Gadsden city at Bulldog Stadium. The Dawgs played without five starters due to nagging injuries but looked sharp considering they only practiced eight times before the scrimmage.

The Bulldogs beat the Titans 29-7. The positives far out weighed the negatives.

QB Mathew Christian   showed no effects of his broken collar bone he suffered against SSHS last season. Despite playing without leading tackler Roy Yancey, who was held out to heal his ACL, the defense was  near perfect.  Special teams were consistent and a bright spot. The defensive backfield is young but promising.

Opelika should have a good year next year. We will remain 6A with the schools equal to our size. Auburn and Central are on the schedule but are not region games. The games are just as important as when we played them in our region. Fans want to play and beat our rivals despite not being in the same region.

Athletes will have a week off after graduation. Then summer workouts will start. Each sport will work out and have four days of competition.


Letters have been mailed to all Corporate Sponsors. It is time to renew or become a corporate sponsor. We are offering the same plans as last year with NO  price increase. Plans start at $500 and increase to $3,000. Packages include ads, tickets, parking passes, booster passes, scoreboard ads, etc.

I will write about the plans in next week’s column. If you are interested in a corporate sponsorship or buying an ad in the football program, call OHS at 334-745-9715 and leave your info or call me 334-319-0467.

D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.