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Letters to the editor (4-20-16)

Fan’s abusive behavior sets  bad example for children

I recently visited your community and attended a middle school sports event, where I was appalled by the vitriolic verbal abuse directed at the refs by fans.

Sports in public schools is valuable as a way to promote fitness and teach the value of a good work ethic in perfecting skills and teamwork. Coaches and referees are marginally compensated volunteers in the minor sports, whose primary goal should be to teach these values. Refs are usually former players trained in the subtleties of the rules and are necessary to protect the players and control the play of the game, doing a quite reasonable job. The knowledge of most fans and some coaches of these rule subtleties are not as comprehensive.

Raised on a small lower-middle class farm in South Carolina, I was taught Christian values, and to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Continuously hurling insults such as “idiots, terrible, horrible, worst refs ever, paid cheaters, go home” is disrespectful, insulting, and demeaning.

I don’t understand why the ref and coach near the bleachers tolerated this, but neither took action, which disappointed me. As a former coach and ref in this sport, I felt the abuse became simply intolerable when vulgarity and exhortations to injure opposing players were heard, and I was compelled to respond.

I hope the fans accepted my admonishment as the heartfelt plea it was, for we are not “just fans in the bleachers.” Children will tend to emulate the behavior of parents, coaches and teachers when deemed acceptable by authorities. Fan behavior that does not reflect our national culture of a strong work ethic, integrity and Christian values (or could increase player injury risk) should not and cannot be deemed acceptable.

The example we set for our children and students will never be perfect, (as none of us are, including refs), but should at least be exemplary. We can and must do better.

— Dr. Rodney Stalheim

Lenoir

The end is near

In a recent letter, a Mr. Sells gave his opinion that we may be living in the “end times.” I have recently seen two other events which I believe bolster this man’s position.

Firstly, there was a recent decline in the cost of a first-class stamp from 49 cents to 47 cents. According to reports I have seen, this has not happened since 1913, and without a doubt there is not one alive who remembers it.

Secondly, in his latest letter to the editor, Col. Grey Medinger failed to mention the name of Hillary Clinton, a nemesis who had been the object of scorn in all his prior opinions I have read.

“And now, the end is near …”

— W.L. Poole

Salisbury

The kindness of strangers

There are many good and caring people everywhere. This past week, two strangers (men) paid for my food at two local restaurants, Bojangles and Hendrix. Even the waitresses did not accept tips.

I want everyone to know there are many I would like to thank. May God bless each and all.

— Eleanor Balestrino

Salisbury

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