MLB Umpire Greg Gibson smiles as Johnnie Lemaster tells his _Boo_ story.JPG

A naysayer is defined as a person who criticizes, objects to or opposes something. I am very familiar with naysayers. Thirty years ago, I left home to chase my dream of becoming a Major League Umpire. I heard the naysayers: you will never make it, it can’t happen, what makes you think you can do that.

But, 30 years later, here I am. I’ve been an MLB Umpire for 21 years. Sometimes when I am out having dinner, I’ll see some of those same naysayers and I point them out to my sons and laugh. Never stop dreaming. Never stop working for your opportunity. I was chasing a better life for me and my family.   

I grew up in Ashland and I have made Boyd County my home. I love my community. When I learned of the new sports complex for Boyd County, I was extremely excited. But I quickly saw that the naysayers don’t want it. Thanks to Facebook, I can watch the Fiscal Court meetings. In a recent meeting, I could not believe what I was hearing. We have a chance to build a state-of-the-art sports facility here in Boyd County. I know something about this. I built KC Diamond in 2005, and I am happy to say it’s still going strong.  

The ARPA funds that Boyd County is getting can be used for economic development and tourism. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community.  How many times do we hear, “There is nothing to do here?” That soon could be a thing of the past. We have a young and energetic county judge-executive who wants better for our community.

Judge Eric Chaney has, on several occasions, said, “We are trying to improve the quality of life for Boyd County.” I want opportunities like this for our community, so our children want to stay here. I talk to folks all the time who are leaving Boyd County just to be closer to their children and grandchildren. We also need things like this to attract new businesses. To the naysayers, you need to get on board with this project. I’ve told county leaders, both Democrat and Republican, that if there is anything I can do to help, call me. I travel all over the U.S. and I am always willing to meet and talk up our community.

The song “Back Where I Come From” describes me. Michelle and I have raised a family here and “this is where I will be when it’s said and done.” So, to the naysayers: forget about your personal grudges, politics, whatever. Boyd County needs this and wants this. I have pledged my full support to Eric Chaney for this. It’s time to start being a YES-SAYER.

GREG GIBSON is a veteran Major League Baseball umpire and the owner of a local insurance company. Gibson was born in Ashland. He and his family live in Catlettsburg.

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