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Sports letters

April 5, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
I never write into a newspaper, but I feel compelled to write this letter.

I am a hockey official from Johnstown who went out to Indianapolis for the Mid-American District tournament recently. As it happened, the Altoona Trackers U18 Midget team advanced to Indianapolis by winning the Western Pennsylvania championship.

This overachieving team gelled together and played their best hockey of the year at the right time and should be commended for quite a run. But more importantly, I want to recognize coach Dave Weaver, his staff, players and parents for representing our area in the highest regard.

The team nearly advanced to the national tournament, but more importantly the team, coaches, fans and parents were first class throughout the weekend. As an on-ice official, I heard nothing but good things about the Trackers and they way they handled themselves.

As a linesman for their final game, I witnessed this first hand and want to congratulate all for a job well done. They were first class all the way around.

Vince Pavic

Johnstown



Is Bellwood afraid of progress?

I read with interest the letter that Shannon McCaulley wrote. It amazes me the smallness of his thinking about new activities that are trying to be introduced to the Bellwood-Antis school system.

You would think that when a community is growing that the school system would follow suit to accommodate the students with activities that are not available now.

Statements like ‘‘we were here first’’ are a deterrent to the growth of a local community. I don’t live in your community but with statements like that do you think I would consider wanting my children to be under that kind of guidance and authority?

I look at the communities that surround Bellwood, like Altoona, and see their programs and even the smaller communities like Philipsburg. Bellwood is well aware that the tax base of its community is what supports salaries, and the expansion that is currently under way could be to no avail with no one to use it except a very few short-minded folks that are afraid of progress. It is important to a community to have healthy growth.

I can remember a few years back (25) when my community was faced with a similar decision, and they chose to go in favor of supporting the overall community as far as school programs. At this time, they have a great sports program as well as other programs for those that aren’t interested in sports.

I’d like to encourage the Bellwood-Antis board to consider something positive for the future.

Vic Dangelo

DuBois



B-A should try co-op first

This is in response to all the controversy surrounding the interest in a soccer program at Bellwood-Antis.

First and foremost, can a Single-A school (AA in some sports) have three fall sports for boys and girls? Boys have football and cross country; girls have volleyball and cross country. The boys have a golf team, too.

I remember in 1989 or 1990, girls field hockey was shut down in favor of volleyball. I don’t know some of the people who have interest in soccer, but I wonder if they moved here from a bigger school district that has soccer, gymnastics, swimming, etc. I just wonder if they did, if they had in mind that Bellwood-Antis is a small school, not a big school like Altoona, Hollidaysburg, State College or Bellefonte.

I think before a soccer program is started, a co-op should be formed with Tyrone, BG or Altoona, and if the interest is still there in a couple years, maybe forming a soccer team at BA could be explored. There are some examples of wrestling co-ops in District 6.

I know with Interstate 99 being near completion, people are moving over this way, and with the way property values are in some places, I can’t blame them. I’d do the same thing if I was in their shoes.

I just hope people remember that Bellwood is a small school and doesn’t offer the athletic programs bigger schools have. This isn’t meant to offend anyone. It is just a different perspective on this issue.

Steve Focht

Bellwood



Altoona soccer changed lives

Forty-one years ago this fall, the brave school board of Altoona Area School District introduced a new sport that no one ever heard of called soccer.

Today, I would like to thank them for their decision to do so. Introducing the soccer program gave me an opportunity to spend a lifetime being involved with this sport. The kids and parents I have met over my 41 years, as a player, coach and referee have been priceless. It opened up a world that I would have not experienced.

The best part of all was the Altoona football program did not fall off the edge of the earth. Both programs did co-exist, and sometimes the football program would use a soccer player to do its field-goal kicking.

Every excuse that I have read or heard about — why Bellwood can’t or shouldn’t have a soccer program, no money, steal players from football, it’s a girls sport not a boys sport — doesn’t wash. The hundred of communities and schools that now have soccer will attest that the decision to bring soccer into their school was a good decision.

I know my words will not change the decision that the Bellwood School Board has made, but to deny the opportunity to further their education through the sport of soccer baffles me, as I have had hundreds of players who have furthered their education in college and life because of this sport.

As I have helped many communities in Central PA introduce soccer in their school and their community with youth programs, I will give what help I can, if asked.

Jim Fee

Altoona



Off-field troubles sign of times

Football as a game is violent whether it be high school, college or pro. That has always been true.

Many of our young people today in our country are running afoul with the law because it is the sign of the times. The nuclear family of today, in general, has been dysfunctional for many years and getting worse.

And if many of our young people are getting into trouble with the law, this is a microcosm of our society; and football players running into trouble with the law are a microcosm of society.

Football players at Penn State are no different than football players at any other college or university. We hear about the problems due to the local press and players being in the spotlight all the time. They are Penn State football players.

However, what is making matters worse is that coach Joe Paterno has lost the respect of many of his players. Young people don’t look up to older folks any longer. President Spanier and AD Curley must go in a different direction after the conclusion of the 2008.

Les Hart

Duncansville



PSU can’t wait for Joe

Penn State’s recruiting and the game planning are both suffering.

JoePa always says he doesn’t want to do anything to hurt the team, but it seems like this is all about him and Jay! He can’t look at this objectively anymore.

Leaders have to lead whether it is easy or not. It is his job to get this resolved now.

Jeffrey Shipe

Middletown





 
 
 

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