Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Coach Carter Takes on Petoskey

George Foster - February 24th, 2005
I hate sports movies.
And I never grow tired of startling friends by telling them so. Many of them know that I actually live for sports - either following or participating in baseball, basketball, hockey, football, skiing, boxing, distance running, etc. Yet, films, depicting sports, turn my stomach.
For example, Bull Durham was ranked the No. 1 sports movie of all time by ESPN- I found it silly and Kevin Costner totally unconvincing. Some have rated Raging Bull as the greatest movie of all time in any genre. To me, it seemed overly demeaning to women and DeNiro‘s performance was nothing but a bunch of mumbling gangster talk.
In Field of Dreams, Costner again bores us with his monotonous Kevin Costner imitation. Caddyshack wasn‘t funny for even a second. If you are one of those knuckleheads who enjoy laughing at the predictably stupid Bill Murray jokes, I suppose that doesn‘t make you a bad person.
The interminable Rocky movies epitomize everything that is bad about sports movies. Suffocating through a Stallone boxing melodrama should warrant a purple heart. Yo Adrian, not one round of the fight scenes was believable. Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed collapsing atop one another in a heap at the final bell - Lord help us.
For all of these reasons, when recently conned into seeing the box-office smash Coach Carter, I entered the theater with a major league attitude against the film. An underdog basketball team, coached by a disciplinarian ex-player back in the ‘hood - it has only been done about a dozen times by Hollywood.
Despite the predictability of this movie, I liked it. Since it was based on actual events during the coaching tenure of basketball coach Ken Carter at an inner city high school in California, the film was complete with issues of gang violence, drugs, and academic underachievement. As with much in life, the ending was also bittersweet.
The movie was not really about basketball. It left me moved by what one person can do to inspire others to perform beyond expectations. My girlfriend says I was tearing-up during a climatic scene that I won‘t give away if you haven‘t seen the film. I still say I was sweating from the previous fast-paced basketball sequences.
Whatever the case, most of us have bumped into people like Coach Carter during our lifetimes. What can be more compelling than someone who takes a lonely stand against conventional wisdom to stand up for principle and the capacity of each person to perform academically beyond limited expectations? The force of Carter‘s convictions helped some of his players attend college who might not have even completed high school.
If life were fair, teachers would be the ones earning million dollar contracts and endorsement deals, not jocks. The distractions and pressures on today‘s youth have put a premium on the already infinitesimal value of inspiring educators. Sports are drowning in good coaches and players. Excellent educators, like Ken Carter, are preciously few and today‘s real superstars.

Coach Ken Carter will join the lecture series at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey at 7:30 pm on March 2, 2005. Doors open at 6:45, admission is free, and the presentation will be held in the NCMC Student & Community Resource Center.




 
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