I agree with quite a lot of what Jason James wrote about the Mansion Park Summer League in the Aug. 9 Sports Mailbag.
I would, however, like to make a few additional comments. I certainly do not feel the shine is off the league. Never were there any chairs between two active courts at any time, regular season or playoffs. When the finals commenced and only one court was used, several older citizens did place chairs alongside the court. Today there is still a large crowd ringing the championship court for all levels of play.
I was disappointed in the Central Blair Recreation Commission not obtaining NCAA sanctioning as my brother's team, Guy Landolfi CPA, lost a classy young athlete. I felt bad for him not having the opportunity to hone his skills for the coming collegiate year. This aside, the top players of today - Drew Shubik, Tyler Franklin, Marcus Tullis - compare favorably against the players of yesteryear - Mike Iuzzolino, Glen Sekunda and Melvin Scott.
The playoff teams at every level are as good if not better than those of years past if for no other reason there are so many players with such high level of athleticism given a chance to participate in organized summer league play.
No matter where I've been, the suburbs of Boston or Chicago, the players had their opinions about the officials. Clearly, the level of officiating fits the level of play and the players. Officials find the facilitating of a game is much simpler based on the higher the level of play. At lower levels of skill, the games do become a little more physical as there are just too many fouls committed to call every single one.
The most egregious are whistled and the rest are allowed "to go." It's the players, not the officials, who contribute to the rough style of play. I know the league keeps stats on technical fouls. I believe if one looked into this, the result would be a very consistent and tolerant level of assessing technicals between the courts and divisions.
There is maybe too much crosstalk allowed between referees and players, but that is for the individual official to decide where their personal line is for dialogue with players during the game. The biggest contributor to the success of any league is solid officiating by professional referees, and this is constantly discussed around Altoona.
Lastly, I would prefer to have my team judged by those who know the game and players when it comes to seeding. I know those making the decision, and I respect all of them. I believe it is unfair to question their motives or veracity when it comes to this critical effort of seeding teams in divisions.
Finally, let me stress again that I do agree with many of the points Jason made in his article. Certainly the community, the sponsors and the players deserve a summer league full of fun, excitement and safety. The CBRC deserves to be recognized for organizing a summer league that provides the opportunity for so many athletes to participate in a sport so beloved by all of us at any age.
Even in a difficult economic year, there were 68 teams in five divisions (five men's divisions and one women's division).
Many players come from over an hour one way just to play here. I feel strongly that the luster is still shining strongly at Mansion Park and could be made to shine even brighter.
Vick deserves new chance
Let me start out by saying that I am not particularly a fan of Michael Vick or the Philadelphia Eagles, but I am not upset that Michael Vick is in the NFL.
I do not believe that it is ethically right to fight dogs or fund dog fighting. However, Michael Vick has served almost two years in a federal prison for his crimes, has had his career cut short and has embarrassed himself and his family possibly beyond repair.
Vick has been punished, and I feel that the man should be given a second chance and left alone. He is in the public eye, as a professional athlete, so I realize this is impossible. Michael Vick has pledged to work with the Humane Society of the United States with programs to help stop dog fighting among urban teens as well as other similar programs.
We shall see if Vick follows through with these programs and continues to rebuild his career and life.
I feel Vick can only help the Eagles become better, and I do not think there is a more capable coach in the NFL to help him do this than Andy Reid.
Reid understands what it means to get a second chance as two of his children have needed such forgiveness. I understand that cruelty to animals is completely immoral and again I do not condone this activity, but I believe in second chances and forgiveness, especially after Vick has paid for his crime.
The prison system does rehabilitate criminals at times, and I think Michael Vick has been rehabilitated.
Frank A. Pulcinello Sr.
He's getting off easy
The Eagles can spend their money as they please, but I am just so glad I have never been an Eagles fan.
Yes, everyone does deserve a second chance. Can Vick give all the maimed, tortured and killed dogs their second chance?
Sitting in a prison is easy punishment for his very cruel offenses. A man who would do such things needs professional help.
He is likely to be just as cruel to humans, and I think this has been proven. Go Steelers!