`Fair play' is more valuable than winningAs a parent for...

LETTERS

October 31, 1999

`Fair play' is more valuable than winning

As a parent for the past 20 years and a youth sports coach for the past 10, I want to assist Coach Ken Hovet's search for someone to tell his football team what they did wrong and why they have to forfeit 5 games they won while using a player who does not reside in Howard County ("O. Mills forfeits all 5 of its wins," Oct. 22).

I'll go further and help the coach explain to his players the "lesson" this event "teaches": When we raise our own children, we are trained to teach them the value of truth, fair play and playing by the rules. If our kids grow up without living these values, we consider ourselves failures.

This responsibility increases when we are charged with teaching values to other parents' children.

Unless I'm badly mistaken, following rules and playing fair are some of the most important experiences a child can take away from an athletic program. Long after the thrill of winning has subsided and the memory of the moment of glory fades, our children, as men and women, will be known for how they live their lives.

Do we want them to think that cheating is acceptable? Do we want them to go into a career and begin to raise a family believing that no penalty is assessed for not following the rules?

In most companies, everyone is responsible for doing his job or the corporate effort cannot succeed. A football team is a fine paradigm of shared responsibility.

If one player fails to fulfill an assignment, the team's effort is usually frustrated. There is no reason why this should not be so off the field, just as it is on the field, even if its the fault of the parents.

David Cooke, Ellicott City

Great example for high school sports

Oakland Mills Boys Soccer Coach Don Shea is to be commended for honoring his team's tradition of "Senior Day" (starting all seniors, whether substitutes or not) even though the Howard County title was at stake.

As a former student at Elkton High School, where Mr. Shea taught and coached in the early 1980s, I am not surprised. His approach and attitude then and now are what help make high school sports unique and special compared to sports at the college and pro levels.

It's all about pride.

Mark Maners

Patuxent River, Md.

Divided we fall on improving schools

As a parent whose children proudly attend the number-one school system in the state, I am puzzled by the meeting held by Howard County Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray and council members Mary Lorsung and Guy Guzzone regarding "Columbia schools and focus schools."

Certainly, these councilmen have good intentions, but will the current approach provide the best solutions?

The issue must first be accurately framed. There are under-performing schools in several areas of the county. There are old buildings in all areas of the county. Shouldn't the question be how to help all under-performing schools in all areas of Howard County, as well as how to keep up with the demand for more physical space while continuing to improve our older schools?

Can the best solutions be determined by working alone with only one segment of the population, without the rest of the council and without the collaboration of the Board of Education?

Can we afford to work independently of each other to solve these issues?

Do our concerned council representatives know what is currently being done for focus schools and older schools in the county?

Have they reviewed the school Maintenance and Improvement Schedule and the Technology Equalization Plans? This year's proposed education capital budget is unusually large in an effort to accommodate reduced class size and significant growth in student population.

There is a great need to be united in obtaining funding at both the county and state levels. In addition, of critical importance to Howard County's future is the need to focus on the search for a new superintendent of schools.

Together we must find solutions as this process moves forward. United we stand, divided we fall.

Tess Teeter, Columbia

Hunt shouldn't be a killing circus

In the editorial in Howard County, "Hunting is only viable choice," (Oct. 21), The Sun overlooks what makes Howard County's managed hunt wrong in my opinion. It may well be true that some deer must be killed to restore the ecological balance.

What does not follow logically from that fact is that the county must be party to satisfying the primitive blood lust of those who enjoy killing animals for fun.

Imagine that the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area somehow had been inundated with so much trash that it was threatening the ecological balance. Do you think people would voluntarily line up to be chosen to clean up the trash? Right.

Imagine that the human race did not have this obsolete tradition of hunting and people were not well-armed with lethal weapons. And suppose that we still faced this overpopulation problem with deer.

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