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December 3, 2023

Letter: Politicians should mimic young athletes

Re: Balers rule Gabilan, Free Lance May 5, 2023

Amazing to view lean lithe young bodies airborne gliding across your front page muscled by graceful legs counterbalanced by directional arms. These well-tuned bodies racked up division points in the PCAL, Hannah Vincent for the girls and Joshua Vincent for the boys.  

Also high interest news framed this colorful front page like: Work resumes on Highway 156 and New principal at high school. So a fair question would be, “What is the value of sports in American culture?”

Actually this inquiry was made in the last century concerning the early years of football. The question was asked to one of the greatest American football coaches whose name, Knute Rockne, was as similarly known as Henry Ford. Then, a player’s headpiece was like that of a pilot with hip protection showing bulky side pads. What endures is the serious nature of Coach Rockne’s response to the question.

He began by articulating that men are competitive (this was at Notre Dame University). He explained further that this competitive nature could be channeled positively. This positive way of handling competition was football. Men could go full tilt and be honored for accomplishment. Just as important as a coin with heads on both sides was good sportsmanship.  

He further explained that competition channeled into sports did not become warlike. Sports competition did not start wars because of sportsmanship. Sportsmanship respects the other team; the other team can also excel, excelling improves both teams; possibly explains why Rockne was the first to use strategy.  

Our high school Vincent siblings enjoy this type of rivalry as it just improves the performance of both. Turning the page, I viewed another aerial athlete as Lillian Thrasher cleared a high jump while soaring over a pole placed at 5 ft., 2 in.

For one thing, these high schoolers in track and field compete with each other and with other high schools throughout the Central Coast of countless student athletes where winning is acknowledged by a narrow margin of a point or of a second making the value of sportsmanship just as critical as performance.  

Best would be if our politicians mimicked athletes by excelling in performance and in peace keeping sportsmanship.

Mary Zanger


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