Recent letters to the Mirror from Ed Leipold and Beth Ann Carnevale use the inflammatory terms "bias" and "bigotry" when trying to excuse the advantages private schools enjoy when competing against public schools in statewide competitions.
These terms do nothing but obfuscate the actual situation.
The situation is fairness in athletic competition; it is not a religious controversy, as they are trying to portray it.
Private schools, whether they are religious-based schools as mentioned by Mr. Leipold and Ms. Carnevale or are teen rehabilitation schools such as George Junior Republic and Glen Mills School or are other types of private schools such as Scotland School, can attract student-athletes from huge areas, while public schools must use student-athletes from within defined geographical boundaries.
Since Leipold and Carnevale have mentioned Bishop Guilfoyle, let's use it as one example.
Over the years, BG has attracted athletes from at least three counties - Blair, Cambria, and Centre - to play on its athletic teams. One recent BG girls basketball team boasted players from at least five different school districts, a virtual all-star team.
Now let's look at Williamsburg, where I am a resident. If you draw a circle with a 4-mile radius around Williamsburg, that's where all the members of an athletic team must live.
It is obviously unfair for a small school with such a limited geographical base to have to compete for statewide recognition with one that can attract players from multiple school districts and counties. This situation exists all over Pennsylvania.
It has nothing to do with religion or teen rehabilitation. (I am not suggesting that BG is a teen rehabilitation school). It has everything to do with fairness in competition.
Mr. Leipold and Ms. Carnavale's inflammatory terms criticizing the letter suggesting that private schools should compete for statewide recognition with other schools that all enjoy the same advantages of attracting athletes were blatantly without merit.
Also, to address Ms. Carnevale's off-the-topic comment about being proud of her children's Catholic education: I think she should be proud of her kids, just as we parents of children who attend public schools are proud of our children.
To reiterate: Coach Kevin Kodish and the Karns City superintendent's letter was not religiously motivated.
Rather, it was written to point out the unfairness that exists because of all types of private schools' ability to attract athletes from such wide areas, while public schools must rely on student-athletes from within certain, often small, geographical boundaries.
Frustrated Pirates fan
Cory Giger recently asserted that the Curve might beat the Pirates a few times in a 10-game series.
I agree, and would further assert that this hammers home the central problem the Pirates now face.
Their best players are routinely traded or, if young, are left to languish in the minor league system to develop while fans are forced to watch an inferior product.
Consider the impact this philosophy must have on team morale. When a better player is forced to sit in the minor league system while a lesser player takes up a roster spot in the big leagues, it has to anger the young prospect who has worked tirelessly to earn a place in the major leagues.
This might be good for Curve fans and those who follow the minor league team in Indianapolis, but it is absolutely terrible for Major League Baseball. After 18 losing seasons, Pirate fans deserve better.
There may be no quick fixes to the long-term mismanagement of this once-proud franchise, but if the best players are not in the team's lineup from day one, the current ownership should sell the team to someone who will reward skill and ability.
I'd like to see a winning Pirate team at some point in my lifetime.
Coder was tough, gentleman
Chuck Coder, who passed away recently, was the 1948 Joe Cohen Blanket Award winner and the captain of the Altoona Mountain Lion football team.
Chuck played fullback and linebacker. In the history of the school, at 170 pounds, you wouldn't find a tougher, more rugged kid than he was, and he was a gentleman.
He was a good guy who will be missed.