Publication:Johnson City Press; Date:Aug 30, 2009; Section:Opinion/Editorial; Page Number:2B

Football does play important role in education

    This is in response to a letter to the editor written by Hank Nystrom, who stated that we don’t need a new football stadium in Johnson City. While I agree with him about that, his reasoning for not wanting a new stadium was very upsetting. He stated that if the only way a kid could go to college was a football scholarship, then maybe he should not be going to college. He stated that football is not important to education.

    He also stated that you should not waste your resources on things that do not make a marked contribution to the student’s ability to make worthwhile contributions to society as well as earn a welfare-free living. And that football has no real value other than exercise and learning how to play together. Evidently, Nystrom does not live in the real world.

    My husband was in the eighth grade, making poor grades and getting ready to drop out of school. His principal, Zeb Presnell, talked him into going out for football. This changed his life. He stayed in school and his grades improved. He didn’t miss a day of school from ninth grade to 12th grade. After graduation, he received a full football scholarship to college.

    This was his only chance for a college degree since his mother was very poor and could not possibly help him and there was no one else. But guess what, he got the same education as a student who paid for theirs or as one went on an academic scholarship.

    Nystrom asked the question, what will a kid do after he does this, meaning after playing football. Well sir, my husband came back to his community and he did make a contribution and he did earn a welfare free living. He was a teacher and football coach for 35 years. He was head football coach at his high school. He was also the vice mayor in his hometown and after that the mayor. And he has influenced more lives than you can ever imagine. So don’t ever say that football is not important to education. WANDA MAY

Johnson City

Christians and Roe

    After hearing from the young woman at Congressman Phil Roe’s town hall meeting Monday night, I am no longer holding back my anger at the right-wing, so-called Christians who continue to support Republicans like Roe because he’s “pro-life” and to claim moral superiority over those of us who work for health care for all. Are you even hearing yourselves? Roe and all the Republicans you “Christians” vote for support our current health care system, calling anything else “socialism,” as if this were an unspeakable evil.

    You continue to support a system that will, if left in place, without a shadow of a doubt kill this innocent 26-year-old divorced mother of two young children. Our current system will not provide her with the care she needs to stay alive. She is going to die young and leave behind two devastated children, all because you stubbornly cling to your “prolife” candidates and their pro-big business religion.

    How can any of you call yourselves “prolife” when this young mother’s blood is going to be on your hands? She has done nothing wrong. She has worked until she could work no more. Yet you are willing to allow her to die for the sake of your precious ideology. You are not Christians, because you do not worship Christ. You worship capitalism. You value capitalism above this woman’s life. And make no mistake, you will be personally responsible for shortening her life if you continue to support our current system.

    I dare say that the Christ you claim to worship is quite upset with you, since you are blatantly ignoring his clear teachings on how to care for the poor and the suffering among us. I guess you’re only Christian as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you. I will never know how you sleep at night. AMY WILLIAMS Elizabethton

Inadequate health care

    I attended Rep. Phil Roe’s town hall meeting Monday. It was interesting to find that those who believe in a socialistic system cannot be debated or influenced by contradictory evidence.

    There are many sad cases of suffering due to unavailable or inadequate health care. They are found in the group of uninsured and in those forced to be insured by the existing socialized medical coverage (Medicare).

    I know of several cases where Medicare fell short of quality care. We have examples of how single-payer (why are they afraid to say socialized medicine?) systems work both here and in other countries. Unless you still believe in Santa Clause, you will find that such a dream is not affordable.

    When other systems ran out of resources, rationing of care began. They reasoned that it is a waste to treat the elderly with expensive procedures when the probability of success was low. They failed to grasp that each attempt made an improvement in the learning curve. Either the procedure that failed today will be available to the next generation or we can try to match the life expectancy in Russia (65 ... Go get them Michael Moore). DON WHITTAMORE

Johnson City