Killer InstinctTim Baker's essay on "Hero Warriors" (The...


June 16, 1993

Killer Instinct

Tim Baker's essay on "Hero Warriors" (The Sun, June 7) couldn't have been closer to the mark regarding the overemphasis of sports in our scholastic environment -- and beyond in our country.

Not only has the attitude toward the arts and sciences in education changed with the emphasis on sports over academics, but the acknowledgment of victory, in whatever physical contest, now ends up with "high fives," pumping up of the hands, usually with a near-murderous scowl on one's face. It is as if the athlete is saying, "I did it, I did it, I killed him!"

Perhaps the psychologists can better explain this. All these macho responses -- including the peace-disturbing, animal-like grunts of some tennis players, the melees on baseball and football fields or ice skating rinks -- appear to be a bit of the atavistic resurgence of the instincts.

It seems that the athletes of an older generation were much more gracious than the athlete of today. Certainly there must be gentleness and propriety in our present-day sportsmen.

Why can't the conquering athletes, as they used to years ago, just shake hands with the downfallen and acknowledge the plaudits of the crowd? It will give them a much warmer and gratifying feeling to treat the loser as a friend rather than an enemy.

My high school motto was "Palman qui meruit fert" (Let him wear the palms that merits it). Today, it is more like "Sic semper tyrannus."

Albert Steiner


Prayers Needed

In reading Mike Littwin's column (May 24) regarding prayer in public schools, I get the perception that Mr. Littwin sees prayer in the schools as more of a cultural as opposed to a spiritual issue.

I am a Christian, and I don't believe in shoving my beliefs down another's throat. I pray because I personally believe in God. I'm sure there are many others who believe as I do. And yes, I do believe in school prayers.

If anyone cares to, read the Old Testament books of Judges, First and Second Kings and Chronicles. These books give historical accounts regarding the nation of Israel (at that time, the people) and of the people's relationship to God.

One may notice that when the people drew near to God, he blessed and protected them. But when the people turned away from God, he let them go their own way, only to suffer the consequences.

If only the people in our nation shall "decide today whom they shall serve" (Joshua 24:15), perhaps we would all be better off.

But with our nation in decline, the removal of prayer in the public school is, perhaps, a reflection of that decline.

Gomer Jones


Trout in the Milk

This is to take exception to the excerpt from Donald Spoto's biography, "Marilyn Monroe," that appeared June 4, in which he convincingly refutes the notion that Bobby Kennedy had an affair with the famous "Candle in the Wind."

This is the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, which is being noted across the country with more solemnity than we ever do for Abraham Lincoln's death.

Mr. Spoto very likely is accurate in his assessment of the relationship (or non-relationship) between Kennedy and Monroe. However, one thinks of Henry Thoreau's caveat that "sometimes the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, as when there's a trout in the milk."

Notwithstanding Mr. Spoto's explanation of Bobby Kennedy's non-involvement with Monroe, one asks why Joe DiMaggio would order the people handling the star's funeral to make certain that no Kennedy, especially Bobby Kennedy, be allowed inside for the service.

Did Monroe's former husband have a dream that became a reality for him? Did he simply decide that it would be the thing to do to bar Bobby Kennedy from the funeral service? Why would the subject even come up? Could it be that a trout wound up in the milk?

John R. Parker


Beggar's Choice

Why wouldn't the number of panhandlers be increasing? Bringing home $80 tax-free per day without leaving the proximity of one's own neighborhood sounds inviting.

This income, coupled with the various government low-income programs, could prove to be profitable.

Acquiring a job may result in a decrease of income and would require some effort and discipline. And to think that those of us who are gainfully employed have been so foolish over the years.

My apology goes out to those people who are truly in need, but you can thank the con artists when the next passerby passes you by.

John Nefferdorf


Crack Down on Base Brawlers

The brawl between the Orioles and the Seattle Mariners was absolutely despicable. For grown men to behave like that is just plain stupid. John Eisenberg, in his June 7 column, is right on the nose. Baseball should indeed invoke a new rule immediately: Suspend any player for leaving the dugout (or bullpen) for any reason if a fight is in progress

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