Valley News Forum for April 2, 2023: MVCS forfeit a missed opportunity

Published: 04-02-2023 6:19 AM

MVCS forfeit a missed opportunity

Once upon a time, during that mythic age when Americans were known as gracious winners and even more gracious losers (back before the touchdown dance), children were taught good sportsmanship.

That is not what the Mid Vermont Christian School girls’ basketball team learned when they forfeited a playoff game against Long Trail, a team with a trans player. Does it matter if the trans player is a “biological boy”? Probably not! What does matter is the purpose of high school sports — teaching participants not only the skills of the game but also the skills that will help them navigate adult life. The most important skill is being able to work with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of situations, filled with variables we can’t control.

The recent article about the World Athletics Council decision to ban transgender athletes from international competition (“Trans ban hits the oval,” Page B1, March 25) reminded me of my time running cross country under the legendary Paul Potter of Stevens High School. Stevens had both a boys and a girls team, and the teams trained together. During the 1970s many of the schools in our conference did not have girls teams, so we girls simply ran in the boys’ races. What we did not do was take our “ball” — our running shoes — and go home, complaining that life was unfair or that we should have the chance to compete on a “level” field — if such a thing exists in cross country or in real life!

All of us runners treated each other as teammates — as equals. The boys cheered on the girls as much as the girls cheered on the boys — and we girls knew exactly how rare that was. The Long Trail trans athlete is running uphill all the way, with few people to cheer for them. The parents, coaches and administrators at Mid Vermont missed the opportunity of a lifetime — not the opportunity for their team to advance to the finals, but the opportunity for the members of that team to learn how important it is for all of us to support one another, not in spite our differences, but because of them.

Patti Arrison


Conservative leadership lacking on the most important issues

When will conservative voters realize that Republican politicians and conservative media aren’t addressing serious issues? Anti-woke, “parent rights,” critical race theory, cancel culture are emphasized to get conservatives excited but are ultimately empty issues. The truth is that in the real world, most people agree that it’s important to balance politeness with free speech, and it’s important that children be taught appropriate truths in schools where they feel safe. It’s like the Wizard of Oz — there’s a little man desperately pulling levers behind the curtain!

On several important issues, conservative and liberal politicians are in agreement. Both are largely in agreement to support Ukraine, compete effectively with China, control inflation and avoid failure of our banking system.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Where conservative leadership is missing and desperately needed is on other important issues. On these issues, conservatives are against things but what are they for? The effects of climate change are becoming more obvious with each passing year — what is the conservative solution? Border security without an immigration policy has failed for decades — what is the conservative solution? Deregulation of banks, railroads and industry monopolization has failed — what is the conservative alternative?

It seems that the important issues don’t motivate voters the way fake issues do, but ultimately it’s the important issues that matter. Here’s hoping that serious conservative politicians and media return to the forefront and the empty windbags that are currently prominent fade into history.

David Allen

White River Junction

Fixing debt-limit gridlock

I may have a solution to the debt limit crisis. Each congressional representative should pledge to vote to raise the debt limit the same way they did in 2017, 2018 or 2019 when the debt increased by $7.8 trillion, the third-highest increase relative to the overall size of the economy in American history (per the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center). Only Abraham Lincoln, who had to finance the Civil War, and George Bush, who started two wars, had a greater increase.

When Republican presidents ask for debt ceiling increases they get votes from 65% of the House and 74% of the Senate Republicans on average. Pledging to vote the same way as they did in the past will move us beyond this crisis. If this proves difficult, Republicans should pledge to vote for the debt ceiling increase in the same manner they voted for the $3 trillion tax cut that arguably benefited the wealthiest of the population and contributes to our current debt crisis.

The full faith and credit of the United States is too precious a gift from our forefathers and all subsequent generations to be squandered for some vague notion of political advantage.

Craig Young