A Sporting Chance
As a lifelong Red Sox fan and a director of the Miramichi Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, I enjoyed David Marlin’s “The Splendid Fisherman” (Connections, April 10). But there’s more to this than nostalgia. Once one of the most prolific Atlantic salmon rivers in North America, the Southwest Miramichi River salmon run is now a fraction of what it was in Ted Williams’s days. Atlantic salmon are now an endangered species in the US, and owing to climate change, the threat to survival is creeping inexorably north into Canada. So, Marlin’s story should remind us not only of Ted’s glory days on the river, but that the river itself and the salmon that inhabit it may have seen their glory days unless we can stem the climate change and biodiversity loss that threaten them.
Reading this reminded me of meeting Ted Williams, maybe 30 years ago at a builders association meeting. Ted was a spokesman for the Citrus Hills development in Florida. His mission was to convince the members of the benefits of living at Citrus Hills. He mingled with the crowd, telling stories and answering questions. When I got my chance he treated me as if I were the most important person in the room. I asked him what his favorite sport was. His response: “I like fishing, golf, and baseball — in that order.” He was larger than life. I did not bring a baseball but he autographed my business card. I’m still looking for it.
Rye, New Hampshire
“Then there is the fact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many unknowns surrounding the virus’s long-term effects. Several researchers ... have raised the possibility that the so-called TikTok tics could in fact be a post-viral symptom or result of brain inflammation brought forth by the coronavirus” (“Social Anxiety,” April 10). Seems like a reasonable hypothesis, but it would be extremely simple to determine if there’s any correlation — so why haven’t these experts done that?
posted on bostonglobe.com
It is amazing how many people — professional and not — are so eager for a label and cause (even when medically unproven) they can use to condemn others’ behavior that they either don’t understand or deride. Glad to know there are some doctors who are taking this seriously. I also know people who turned to social media as a pain reliever for their depression and ended up worse. There may very well be some kind of connection, though what comes first is often hard to say. Either way, it’s a serious medical problem, not a joke.
posted on bostonglobe.com
My son had a strange habit when he was small: He used to wave his hands frenetically when he was fascinated or interested in something. A friend’s child, in another country, had the same behavior. They have both grown out of it. They weren’t copying anyone, they were each experiencing some sort of excitability that made them move that way. That being said, young people learn how to act from copying others — in fact, we all do. Things we see and hear get into our consciousness and we adopt them, sometimes because we admire them, sometimes because we find them fascinating. For example, vocal fry in young women. These habits make us belong to a group, they bond us with others.
posted on bostonglobe.com
“Can We All Admit T-Ball Has Been a Bad Idea?” (Perspective, April 24) brought back memories of my 5-year-old son (now a college pitcher). We brought him to play in his first T-ball game and after it was over, he promptly quit, saying he would wait until he could play “real baseball.” The kids in the outfield were less interested in catching a ball than finding a worm.
When my kids were young, I did not sign them up for T-ball as I thought it was a useless activity. Instead, I spent time with both my son and daughter teaching them how to catch, throw, and swing a bat. We moved to the suburbs, where I was delighted to find that they had a baseball league starting with 6-year-olds that emphasized the basic skills, and gradually introduced some controlled games. I have always been surprised that in the United States, which is so competitive with sports — and baseball being our national pastime — that nobody ever saw the light like Japan and Taiwan did to teach kids basic baseball skills at a very early age instead of having them picking daisies in the outfield.
Steve Calechman could not be more correct. It would be wise to follow his points and adapt, improvise, and overcome this boring game.
Oh, boy. I laughed out loud throughout this piece. My only experience with T-ball was when my 5-year-old son and his friend joined. Besides their boredom, after two “games,” two fathers got into a fist fight about whose son would pitch — in front of the children! We never went back.
Regarding “Can We All Admit T-Ball Has Been a Bad Idea?” my initial reaction was a resounding NO. Granted, the last T-ball game I watched was probably the last one I played in, which was in the late 1950s. It is likely the game I remember and the one Mr. Calechman describes share a name, but little else. But the notion that T-ball was a bad idea deserves at least a mild rebuttal. T-ball was seen as a more constructive, engaged alternative to baseball played by 8- and 9-year-olds. It was devised as a way to produce batted balls, baserunners, and fielding plays. Though I agree that T-ball for 7-year-olds (and younger) is flawed, I do think there is a role for T-ball of some sort as a preparatory step for Little League.
Many years ago when we were little tykes, we played whichever sport was in season. We organized the whole thing. Once adults took over our sports, our interest declined as they vicariously relived their childhood by giving us constant advice that was often flawed. Good on Calechman for having the children’s interest at heart.
Orange County, Florida
Calechman is right on the money about T-ball. Perhaps he could throw in a “free play session” for the last half-hour of every game. Or an alternative to T-ball altogether, like renting the field to play Capture the Flag every week, or whatever physical game the kids want to make up the rules for. Give them a little guidance at the beginning, and then let them run with it. It would also solve the problem of the umpire shortage and parents fighting on the field. Sadly, I don’t see this society returning to kids roaming the neighborhoods freely any time soon; we can at least give the kids this.
I laughed so hard, I cried. I think Calechman’s point is well taken. My little one is too young for T-ball, yet my instincts agree with the rationale that kids need more play. NPR recently had a great article about measuring outcomes for preschoolers and how some data are showing that those in a less structured, play-based model were performing better in later grades. Let our kids be kids!
Many of Calechman’s complaints about T-ball could be applied to any sport that 5- or 6-year-olds participate in. Most kindergartners are simply not developmentally ready. T-ball is meant to be adapted to accommodate their physical, cognitive, and perceptual abilities. It’s unfortunate that Steve did not receive support from the league when he tried to restructure sessions further to help engage the kids. This inflexibility is an example of a culture where many adults want kids to start activities at an earlier age because they think it will give them an advantage. However, that line of thinking backfires since kids (and coaches, teachers, and parents) only get frustrated when the skills are being taught in a way that is simply not accessible.
Thirty-some years ago, I was given custody of a team of boys and girls to play a game that vaguely resembled baseball and softball. Very early on, we realized hitting the ball off the tee provided little challenge. Cajoling a mom or dad to lob the pitch underhand to the kids worked better. Who strikes out their own kid? Everybody got on base, whether the ball was caught or not, or whether they ran to the right base or not. On one occasion, a ball was hit to our youngest player, and instead of throwing to first base as I implored, he waved the ball over his head and yelled, “Look, Mommy, I got the ball!” We pretended to keep score and somehow every game ended in a tie. The parents would wrap up their cocktail hour on the sidelines as the opposing squads lined up to slap hands. Maybe the author is correct that no tears would be shed if T-ball were canceled forever, but what is wrong with letting the kids run around, swing a bat, throw a ball, catch a ball, wear a cap and T-shirt, and eat pizza together afterward? “Hey, Daddy, did we win?”
Dennis N. Ricci
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