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Letters to the editor

March 2, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Please allow me to be among the first to commend Jeff Bartlett for his comments and proposal at the Bellwood Antis School Board meeting.

As I attended the meeting with my children, I heard Jeff represent many families like mine who desire to have a soccer program in our district. Having lived outside this area and having coached at various levels from schools to city leagues, I was amazed when I moved to this area to find out that the Bellwood Antis School District did not have a soccer program.

Since moving here in 2004, and at the urging of my children, we became involved with the Tyrone AYSO. As a coach there, I realized that once the children from Bellwood advance in age they have no local opportunity to continue their soccer skills. Because of this, several of our community’s children travel far distances as Jeff alluded to at the school board meeting.

Given the opportunity, these children could compete successfully under our colors and name, not those of another town, school or company.

These children should be wearing the Bellwood-Antis blue and gold and known as Blue Devils, not other colors or by the dental or insurance offices that sponsor them.

We are missing out on an excellent opportunity to share with our children. Soccer is rapidly growing in its popularity and is a wonderful venue for our children to interact and grow socially. Soccer is already big in Bellwood with local athletes being pursued by colleges and travel squads. These athletes know, love and play soccer; unfortunately they are forced to play it elsewhere under different colors and mascots.

Bellwood is a football town and everyone, including me, respects that. As an implant to this area, I am impressed with the dedication and heart given each year to our football team. That dedication and heart should be shared with other children, children who have talents and desires outside football.

Soccer will not take away from football, but it will provide additional pride and tradition of the school. I can’t stress enough how important this is for the athletic director and the Bellwood Antis School Board to pursue.

Children who want to participate in soccer should be given the same opportunity shared by football and other sports. These children deserve the support of their school board, their athletic director, the school faculty and the alumni that so proudly call Bellwood home.

For Superintendent Brian Toth, Athletic Director John Hayes and the Bellwood Antis School Board, please support Jeff Bartlett and the families that he represents, but most of all, support the children and the school that you represent.

Shawn Shaulis


Robertson camp appreciated

Because of the public debate about the high cost of health care brought about by the current presidential candidates, as well as the high incidents of diabetes, heart and blood pressure problems, and obesity among Americans, I thought that John Robertson’s Golden Fitness Camp offered by the Central Blair Recreation and Park Commission at the Sixth Ward Community Center would be swamped by seniors like me who take personal responsibility for their health and well being.

Sadly, only a few individuals turned out for the program.

Hats off to John ‘‘Robby’’ Robertson for holding the class anyway, and for agreeing to continue on with a new session of the camp in March. After only two invigorating weeks, we already feel much more youthful.

Hats off, too, to the Recreation Commission for offering such an experienced trainer at the amazing cost of about $1 per day. This is just one more reason for me to say ‘‘I love Altoona!’’

Francene Calvert


Goodman has fan

I find Kellie Goodman’s columns add class to the sports section. Her sports knowledge has brought a breath of fresh air to the Altoona Mirror.

Richard Lohsl


Pats’ spygate exaggerated

This is really getting old.

Every week, I read a letter from what sounds like another sore Steeler fan referencing the Patriots, spygate and cheating. Although the Patriots were caught cheating, and I can’t condone this behavior, one would be naive to believe the Patriots are the first to ever do this.

New England is a tremendously talented, and well-coached team and very successful right now. The Steelers of the 1970s were also very talented, well coached and successful.

However, I think we would be wrong to think the Steelers did not take advantage of all advantages they could obtain, legal or otherwise.

Many fans thought Al Davis was mad for closing practices, putting up fences, and continuously suspecting everyone of spying on his Raiders in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Davis has obviously lost some contact with reality recently, but was he as crazy as we thought he was back then?

In the highly competitive world of pro football, advantages for one team over another are few and far between. The Patriots were wrong for cheating. The commissioner punished them. It is not our position to say if the punishment was sufficient.

But certainly the Patriots are not the first and won’t be the last to cheat.

Jeffrey Ward


PSU athletics going downhill

I watched both Penn State basketball games last Sunday.

What a major embarrassment for a great university. You can bet your last dollar both teams won’t get past the first round in the Big Ten tournament.

Ed DeChellis will be gone after 2009. Coquese Washington has a major rebuilding job to do after this season. Evidently the kids aren’t buying into program. The next four seasons should be interesting to watch for the Lady Lions, and I think she will turn it around!

If Graham Spanier and Tim Curley were to retire now, they get no credit for doing much for PSU sports.

Since they have been around, the football program has gone through four losing seasons and only two Big Ten titles, and both basketball programs have been a major disgrace. These are their major revenue programs, and only one is carrying the payload for all 29 sports programs.

Give them some minor credit for secondary programs like men’s gymnastics, both volleyball programs, women’s soccer and both fencing programs.

However, they don’t get credit for the new baseball stadium.

Had it not been for Curve and Spikes owner Chuck Greenberg, the PSU baseball team would still be playing at the worst diamond in the Big Ten.

Les Hart


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