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What About Soccer Dads?

Please fire the person who approves your cover titles. In “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10), the article discusses parents who pressure and berate coaches, referees, and their children involved in youth sports, but the title is based on one recount in which mothers grumbled amongst themselves about team rosters, not about their children’s performances. Of the article’s 21 “bad behavior” vignettes in which gender was identified, only 3 of the stories (including the “soccer mom” one) were about mothers, and the other 18 were about fathers acting poorly. And yet you also chose to highlight one of the other three “mother” stories in a textbox in the article’s opening spread! Is the image of high heels on a basketball court too titillating to pass up? Your title is misleading and grossly inconsistent with the article itself. Why the cover’s inaccurate gripe against mothers as the main offenders, when the article suggests that sports fathers are “the absolute worst,” if anyone must be called that?

Larissa Leroux

via email

Issues Exposed

Regarding your cover story “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10), your author exposed a lot of common issues in youth sports. I have coached Little League, recreational, and competitive youth as well as high school soccer over the past 25 years, and I can relate to most of the stories in your article. I have seen the good and bad parents and good and bad coaches and the effect they have on the kids and teams. Great article.

Mike Usher

via email

Sometimes Ya’ Gotta Yell

Regarding the cover story on soccer moms (“Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst,” Cover Story, January 10). First, Bill Walton’s photo is funny. It looks like he’s got basketball clones he’s creating to take over the world. But in regards to Walton’s comments on coaches not yelling at kids, he totally misses the boat on that. He is a hall of fame basketball player, and I respect his opinion, but it does not make sense to say that coaches at the college level cannot yell at kids. His coach, John Wooden at UCLA, didn’t have to yell because he coached people like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, who were the best centers who ever played. Coaches like Phil Jackson of the Lakers, they don’t yell, and they do all this coaching and Buddha and giving books on philosophy to players, and that doesn’t work. It’s not working for the Lakers now. It only worked when they had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, two future hall of fame players. So Bill Walton needs to realize that not everybody is from the ’60s and believes in this love everyone and no yelling. I wonder what he’d think of military boot camps.

Paul Nelson

Mira Mesa

Too Hot To Cheer

I enjoyed reading the “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” cover story issued January 10. I find it amazing (in both a comical and disgusted way) how some parents and/or coaches conduct themselves when involved in a youth sports league. I have both witnessed and experienced out-of-line and over-the-top reactions during youth sporting events many times.

The most recent one that comes to mind doesn’t even involve any verbal abuse. It doesn’t even involve any abuse that one could witness someone actually physically doing. In September of this past year, I attended a Mighty Mites (ages seven to nine) football game in Santee. The game started at 10:00 a.m., and you would think the weather could be halfway decent at this hour. However, on this day the temperature had already reached above 100 degrees and was still rising at a slow pace. All of the adults attending the event, including myself, were seeking shade in the bleachers. I was able to find a shady spot under another attendee’s sun umbrella, and so I started to watch the game.

I was blown away when I saw cheerleaders out on the field baking in the sun. These girls were the same age range as the boys playing, seven to nine. They had no shade and were on the track pavement that surrounded the football field. During the game, which lasted two hours, they would go into a 15-minute-long set of cheers and then take a 10- to 15-minute break sitting on the track. One of their coaches (who I’m guessing was once a cheerleader herself) would come around and spray them down with water and then give a small pep talk about how great they were doing and to keep it up, but during the entire game they were never moved into the shade for a break. Even the players on the field had a shade tent that they were under when they were not playing, but these girls had nothing. I should also mention that these girls represented the home team. The visiting team had a cheerleading squad; however, their parents/coaches decided not to have them cheer since it was so hot.

The visiting football team ran out of water at one point and had to purchase water from the home side. Three boys were suffering from heat exhaustion by the end of the day, two of whom vomited due to this.

I say, when the temperature rises above 100 degrees, there is no reason to force these kids to play. They’re not gaining anything by it, unable to give their all in such conditions. Even though there was no person you could physically see being over the top, I feel this is the same thing.

Karyl Bing

via email

Been There, Seen That

I just read the cover story for this week’s Reader’s “Soccer Moms Are the Absolute Worst” (January 10). What a great story!

This is the type of story that needs to be told! As a father of two young children in sports, I have seen many of the ill-mannered, overbearing parents talked about in this story. I am glad the Reader printed this story. Maybe some will see themselves in this story and lighten up a bit and let their kids have fun.

I really appreciated all the different people that were interviewed giving their stories and thoughts. It drove home the fact that sports for young children should be fun, first and foremost. They all agreed the yelling and screaming does no good. A perfect example: The defensive coach of my son’s Pop Warner football team screamed in many of the kids’ faces, “You’re weak” as they came off the field after giving up a touchdown. It demoralized them into losing badly. Until then, they were competitive and having fun.

Reading this story also brought back memories of seeing parents fighting in the stands when I was a kid. That is the last thing you want to see when you are playing ball with your friends.

This story was not the typical “topic-of-the-day story” that I can see on TV or read in a major paper, i.e., CEOs make too much money, politicians are scammers, the housing crunch, etc. Thanks!

Name Withheld

via email

Not Okay

My name is Brittany. I was chosen for the “Say What?” column (January 10). I did not say what was printed. That is not okay with me.


via email

The Reader regrets the error. — Editor

Accept, Adapt

In response to your January 10 article titled “Global Warming in a Nutshell,” the first paragraph contains an error. It’s not global warming people deny. Global warming is happening. Global warming is good. The alternative is to slip into another ice age, which would be bad. You see, climate changes. That’s what it does. You cannot stop it — you have to simply accept it, adapt to it.

The second paragraph contains an error. The Keeling Curve and Keeling’s work in general did not show “beyond a shadow of a doubt that humans were causing carbon dioxide to increase.” It shows that carbon dioxide is increasing and says nothing of the cause. Further, as carbon dioxide continues to increase, since 1998 temperatures have at best remained somewhat constant if in fact they have not cooled off. Those wishing to continue to fool themselves regarding the fact nature dominates man, not the other way around, say that 2007 was the seventh-warmest year on record. If the planet is experiencing rampant warming, don’t you think it would be first, second, or third instead of seventh?

There are many more errors in the article. Among the worst is the claim that “polar ice sheets ‘form from snow falling on land and then being compacted.’ ” The north polar ice cap sits not on land but on the Arctic Ocean. It does not form from snow falling on land. In fact, it’s essentially too cold and dry for snow or other precipitation to fall there — the ice there forms by freezing water from the ocean, not from falling snow. And if “the snow never melts in the polar regions,” why were Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Catastrophe Alarmists (CACCA) so upset about the fact the Northwest Passage may be open again soon. Don’t worry, the last time it was, the polar bears survived. Plus they aren’t as vocal about how the north polar ice refroze at record rates this winter or about how the southern ice has been setting new records for its extent. Of course not — that tends to disprove their favorite myth — that we’re experiencing a climate catastrophe. They’re depending on it to keep us interested in their plan to create a massive transfer of wealth much like the oil-for-food program. Why? Well, when you have trillions changing hands for no good reason, who’s going to notice a billion or two that’s gone missing here or there?

Your article raises the issue of increased desertification even though geological evidence suggests that a warmer world (with the continents in their current configurations) tends to be a wetter world. More warmth tends to produce more evaporation, which in turn leads to higher humidity and greater precipitation, not less. Deserts get a boost when evaporation rates decrease, and what moisture there is available gets stored in ice and snow — like during an ice age.

Climate change is inevitable. The Earth has been warmer. It has warmed faster. Besides, warmer temperatures mean a longer thong season. How can anyone be against that?

Greg Harris

via email

Round Two

I thought Jeff Smith and I had settled the matter of his bashing the Old Globe’s 2007 production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Yet here he goes again, taking a “year in review” opportunity to bash it anew (Theater Review, January 10). So again I must come to its defense.

Those who, like Jeff Smith, believe that Shakespeare wrote “problem plays” refuse to accept the vision the playwright offers because it is not grist for their mill of moral confusion and psychic ambiguity. In fact, Measure for Measure is a great (non-problem) play about the universal human effort to harmonize the apparently antithetical values of justice and mercy — great because it offers a brilliant (and yes, crowd-pleasing) resolution of the conflict.

Paul Mullins did not “cookie-cut the script as a comedy.” He bucked a hundred-year tradition of seeing problems where they aren’t — a tradition in which Jeff Smith continues to be a true believer — and with his production achieved the reconciliation Shakespeare intended the play to represent. The real enemy of Shakespeare is not the crowd but the critic’s sarcastic implication that only what threatens comedy and tidy endings is real. That Shakespeare might have been offering some insight into how to transcend those threats continues to be inadmissible in Jeff Smith’s critical universe.

In fact, the Globe’s Measure was Shakespeare for people who love productions that serve Shakespeare’s healing intentions. Jeff Smith’s review of that play, by contrast, was Shakespeare criticism for people who want Shakespeare to be doing nothing but reinforcing their own lust for unsolved problems.

My dear Jeff: If you can’t enjoy what Shakespeare meant, leave him and the people who love him alone. Go write your own damn problem play.

Gideon Rappaport

via email

Jeff Smith responds: That hundred-year tradition looks for what’s actually going on in Shakespeare’s plays — not what rigid ideas about genre, or the Bard’s alleged intentions, dictate should be there.

Get Real

I am a college student. I was assigned to critically analyze mainstream media by choosing ads about dieting, cosmetics, or cosmetic surgery. I chose cosmetic surgery because it is amazing nowadays the number of ads in the media telling us that we have to have a perfect body in order to be beautiful and how inexpensive it has become to have cosmetic surgery.

In your ads, models with beautiful bodies and faces are used to invite women or suggest to women that’s the way they are going to look if they have a face-lift, tummy tuck, or breast augmentation. But in reality, that is not the way women are going to look after cosmetic surgery is done. I know that the job of the media is to persuade women using women’s sexuality to achieve a goal.

Just want to let you know that some women feel offended or feel a pressure with your ads. We are already in a constant way within us because we are trying to look beautiful all the time to fulfill society’s demands on how women should look at all times. We have a constant war trying to lose weight, disciplining our bodies to exercise to have a better body shape, or dieting. It is frustrating sometimes the pressure we have by the media telling us, “Have surgery and you will look beautiful.”

I think that a lot of women will appreciate it if your paper uses more realistic models when it comes to cosmetic surgery or any other ad related to beauty.

Gabriela Godoy

La Mesa

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