Forum, Feb. 7: America Needs Its Pastime More Than Ever

Tuesday, February 06, 2018
America Needs Its Pastime Now

I absolutely loved the editorial “Our Game, Ourselves: America, as Reflected on the Gridiron” (Feb 4).

If baseball is what we were, maybe we should try to recapture some of that. Though neither baseball nor our country will ever be perfect, there are a number of features of the game that, if they were to seep back into our lives and our country, would make it a better and happier place.

Baseball is far more multi-cultural than any of the other major sports and, though it took time, baseball now seeks out, honors, celebrates and benefits from players of all ethnicities from all over the world. It is far less violent than the other major sports. Serious injuries from contact on the field are rare in baseball. Until recently, the rules allowed runners going home to crash into the catcher with the hope of knocking the ball loose. When a star catcher missed much of season, the rule was changed.

Controversy was minimal (the steroid era notwithstanding), and baseball does not need or celebrate violence. And because the game is less violent, players stick around longer and we get to know them more as people.

Possibly most of all, baseball is slow. Maybe, as a nation welded to our technology, slowing down occasionally might not be a bad thing.

Pitchers and catchers report in a week.

David Liben


Patriots Don’t Match Yankees Yet

Paul Newberry’s column (“Respect Them, Even If You Despise Them,” Feb. 3) caught my eye. As a Jets fan, I do despise the Patriots, but I also respect them. They are a great football team, and it’s fair to call them the best we’ve ever seen.

But to call them “the greatest dynasty in any sport” deprives the Yankees of the same respect demanded of the Patriots. The Patriots, in their 57-year history, have made it to the Super Bowl 10 times. The Yankees, who have been around exactly twice as long, have been to the World Series 40 times — and have won it 27 times. The best streak the Patriots could muster, surely a sign of a “dynasty,” was back-to-back wins in 2003-04. The Yankees have three back-to-back streaks, and streaks of three (twice), four and five.

Newberry attributes the Yankees’ success to the fact that they played in a less competitive era, so let’s look at the two teams’ records since 1960, the year the Patriots began playing. During that span, who’s been to the final game almost twice as many times? (Hint: They wear pinstripes). Who’s won the final game almost twice as often?

The Patriots, sadly, are a great team, and in their brief history they have accomplished a lot. But to match the Yankees, the Patriots will actually have to increase their winning percentage dramatically in the next 57 years.

Until then, it’s not disrespectful of the Patriots to admit that the Yankees have been the far more dominant team.

Jonathan Spector


Get Ready to Party at Occom Pond

This year’s Occom Pond Party is coming Saturday, from noon-3 p.m. Fun events for the whole family include skating, roasting marshmallows and viewing the snow sculptures. There are also lots of games and competitions for kids of all ages, along with an ice slide for the little ones. This free community event is put on by Hanover Parks and Recreation.

If your family is new to the area, this is a great time to come out and meet people. If you’ve been here a long time, of course, it’s a good way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.

Many thanks to the Hanover Rotary Club, which provides food and drink, and to all the volunteers who help pull the Pond Party together.

Hope to see you there!

Joe Montibello


Harmonious Idea for Valentine’s Day

The North Country Chordsmen, the not-for-profit local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, is announcing availability of Singing Valentines for delivery on Feb. 14, anywhere within a 40-mile radius of Hanover, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For a fee of $55, a formally attired quartet will appear with the sender’s personal Valentine message, a silk rose, and some chocolates to sing affection to the chosen recipient. We also supply a photo of the occasion. We sing in individual homes, in stores, in large and small work settings, offices, restaurants, small and large parties, school classrooms and many other venues.

This is a wonderful way to say “I love you” to a dear one, or “Thank you” to work or team colleagues, or to a professional whose services one values. We have sung to men and women, children and parents, office staff, financial consultants, schoolroom teachers, doctors and dentists, hairdressers and others.

To order a Valentine, call 888-293-9191, write to nccvalen@gmail.com, or put “North Country Chordsmen” in your browser and click on “Give a Singing Valentine.”

Bruce Pacht


Write-In for Hartford School Board

I am announcing my candidacy as a write-in candidate for the two-year Hartford School Board seat held by Nancy Russell.

For those who do not know me, I am a parent of two seventh-graders at Hartford Memorial Middle School. It is my belief that Hartford’s school system is failing miserably to provide our students with a high-quality education.

In the 2016 town report, the School Board reported that Hartford High School did not make adequate yearly progress in reading for all students and did not make adequate yearly progress in math for all students.

The School Board has a track record of asking Hartford voters to approve higher and higher budgets, but I do not believe that Hartford students are seeing any educational advantage from those rapidly increasing budgets.

Our school system is broken largely due to a School Board that fails to respond to the needs and voices of our community and does business through unwarned, closed-door meetings, like the recent one held over the track issue.

I urge Hartford voters to vote “no” on the proposed school budget and to vote for me as a write-in candidate for a two-year term for School Board. Please allow me to be Hartford’s voice of change. I will work to bring back the affordable, high-quality education and athletics programs on all levels that Hartford used to be known for.

Peggy George

White River Junction