Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Don‘t be so Hard...
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Don‘t be so Hard on the Skating Judges

George Foster - February 21st, 2002
It is amazing how all of North American became figure skating experts after two days of this year‘s Winter Olympic Games.
Each of us now knows how to score all of the technical requirements required in the sport. Before judging any skater, we all account for short program scores in addition to tallying the long program of each pair. Technical merit and presentation in figure skating are concepts that come second nature to us. Yeah, right.
Actually, here‘s the truth: we may not be sure of the difference between a triple axle and a double toe loop but we know what we like. We love cute, English-speaking athletes and we hate those dirty, cheating Ruskies.
Come on, it‘s only a sport, guys. The Cold War is over. The Canadians probably did win the pairs skating competition. But as an infrequent observer of figure skating (once every four years), I‘m not sure. The point is that this competition was fairly close and the scoring is a complex process spread out over two days. In addition, the highest and lowest scores are thrown out for the express purpose of avoiding any unreasonable judging.
Actually, the results of this event were not as disgraceful as some others in our recent Olympian past. Take the 1972 summer games, for example. Part of the reason for U.S. ecstasy over beating the Soviets in hockey in 1980 comes from the unbelievable ending of the 1972 goal medal basketball game, won by the Soviets over the U.S. team. After that game was fixed by Eastern Bloc refs, some of us were incensed enough to consider launching the missiles to finally begin World War III. Understandably, the U.S. basketball team refused to accept their silver medals.
You may remember the mysterious scoring that went against the American boxers in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. It got so bad that after each event involving a U.S. fighter, we assumed no American would be judged victorious regardless of the whipping he may have just inflicted on his opponent. Many of these bouts were not even close, yet apparent losers became gold medal winners.
In recent years, though, the blatant rigging of decisions has been drastically reduced in the Olympics. Judging and refereeing have improved dramatically in international sports over the last decade. This latest episode in figure skating will serve to improve the judging in this sport, too.
Other observations of these Olympics
I have concluded that curlers (those who participate in the sport of curling) are the truly heroic warriors in these Olympic games. Can you imagine the training that must be required to be able to sweep the ice with such sustained vigor? The houses of elite curlers must be spic and span if they perfect their stroke with a broom while at home.
USA! USA! USA! U... stop it, I can‘t take it anymore. Am I the only one turned off by our arrogant screams of “USA“ when our athletes are performing? Don‘t get me wrong, I can feel patriotic and be moved as much as the next person when our guys do well. Somehow, though, it just seems undignified to rub salt into the wounds of our opponents since we are the host team and the richest country in the world. What does it say about us as we chant the USA mantra in the ears of the world while beating up on tiny nations such as the Netherlands or Estonia. I‘m embarrassed.
Bob Costas is the best TV anchorperson in the history of sport - by far. His analysis of events is always compelling, his wit - quick and ironic, and his knowledge of sports past and present - unparalleled. He is the only person who is part of the Olympic drama that would be fun to talk to for an afternoon.


 
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