Opinion: The term ‘Carmel hater’ is a trap

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Commentary by Pete Smith 

This will be my final edition as managing editor of the Current in Carmel, and I have to say the past year has been a rewarding experience.

But some people don’t share that sentiment. When city councilor Ron Carter heard that I was leaving, he was happy because he thinks I’m a “Carmel hater.”

I can’t say I am surprised. I have met many people in this city who had that impression of me before ever having my acquaintance simply because that is how some people in city hall have decided to brand me.

But I have to admit it stung coming from Carter, a devoted public servant who I had come to like and respect.

And I have to admit that covering city hall was not the most enjoyable experience. But looking back I would have to say that the story I wrote at this newspaper that I am most proud of is one that almost none of you have read.

(I was the editor, after all, and I saw the web stats.)

It was a story chronicling the day the Carmel High School football team played for the state championship last year. You can read it here: youarecurrent.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-carmels-football-team

It focused on the team rallying around its running back, Shakir Paschall – known to his teammates as just Shak, whose father had died two weeks prior.

Shak is one of the best parts of Carmel. He’ll be a senior this year and his hard work might just earn him a college scholarship and his team another stellar season.

His story impressed me because throughout the hardships he and his family have faced in past year, he has stayed in school and stayed focused on his goals. It’s something I was unable to do when my own father died unexpectedly when I was in high school. I know how hard it is to accomplish what he has done.

Recently I came across his Twitter page unexpectedly when I was searching for something else – I noticed it because he uses a photo I took of him for his profile image.

Just like Carter, Shak doesn’t know me. But I am happy to know that I was able to contribute to his life, no matter how insignificant the way.

I appreciate everyone who took the time to talk to me and who allowed me to share their stories.

I know the defensive place from which the term “Carmel hater” springs. But don’t give in to using it – you will only be closing your eyes to the best parts of Carmel. And in case you didn’t know, I’m not talking about its buildings or its politicians.

Pete Smith was the managing editor of Current in Carmel. Comments can be sent to editorial@youarecurrent.com.

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