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Let them lose PDF Print
Monday, March 25, 2013 8:50 AM

“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

 

Wilma Rudolph - multiple Gold medal-winning Olympian

 

 

 

The sound you may have heard echoing out of the Times Bulletin office earlier this week was our head exploding.

While this opening statement is hyperbole, of course, one of our greatest pet peeves recently made itself known again. It is the notion of either including everyone in awards or doing away with them altogether, just so someone’s feelings are not hurt.

David Fabrizio, the principal at Ipswich High School in Massachusetts, on Wednesday announced he was canceling the school’s long-standing tradition of Honors Night. The event recognizes the academic achievements of students at the school. In a letter to parents, he said his reason for the decision was the realization that not winning an award might be “devastating” to some students.

This follows only a day after a report that revealed that elementary school systems in Kingston, South West London and Surrey in England have enacted “best friend” bans. The school officials’ reasoning in this case was that children should not need to suffer the “pain of splitting up with their best friend.” Also, some children may not make close friends and they would feel left out. So at these schools, all children were told to play in large groups only.

Excuse us while we tape our head back together.

There have always been winners in life. In fact, life is based upon winning. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution sat upon a foundation of certain genetic traits being passed down to offspring by the winners, those people/animals who stayed alive.

But even more important than winning is losing. Yes, losing. Look again at the quote by Wilma Rudolph at the top of this editorial. Notice that she put more emphasis on what came out of learning from losses than from winning races.

Another world class athlete thought the same way:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

This person was cut from his high school varsity basketball program as a sophomore and instead was sent to the junior varsity squad. In his place was named another sophomore, a classmate, by the name of Leroy Smith. While Smith went on to play NCAA Division I basketball and later have a solid professional career in Europe, the speaker of this quote used that stinging rebuke of not making the varsity to fuel his passion for decades.

He was so good on the junior varsity team that the varsity players used to sneak out of the locker room before their game just to watch him play. He later said that when he needed extra energy in a practice or game - even on through college and the NBA - he would close his eyes and imagine Leroy Smith. When his fame grew and he later needed to check into hotels under an assumed name, he checked in as Leroy Smith. When he left basketball for a brief career in baseball, his farewell speech said that everyone should have the “opportunity to play - no matter who, _______ or Leroy Smith, it doesn’t matter.” When Nike later launched a marketing campaign for this player, his nemesis on the court in the commercial was named Leroy Smith.

This person used the snub in favor of Leroy Smith to send himself to athletic heights that no one else has ever achieved.

This person was Michael Jordan.

We fully understand that not everyone can be a Rudolph or Jordan. In fact, that is our point.

Because the vast majority of us will never achieve the highest of the highs, we need to learn to deal with defeat, learn how to suffer through rejection, and emerge on the other side with the focus and the drive to be the best that we can possibly be in our lives. That is why it drives us mad when we hear about participation trophies in little league or certificates for everyone who shows up at the local science fair.

Last June, David McCullough made headlines nationwide when he spoke at the Wellesley High School graduation ceremony. He told the departing seniors, “You are not special. You are not exceptional. Contrary to what your U9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card… no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you, you’re nothing special.”

McCullough went on to say that it had become an epidemic of thinking in America that just taking part in an activity was worth accolades. He went on to say, “I said ‘one of the best’ so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition. But the phrase defies logic. By definition there can be only one best. You’re it or you’re not.”

Yes, there have been, and always will be, winners and losers in life. And, yes, life is not fair when some people seemingly skate through easily to accolades while others work tremendously hard to just miss an award. But how much better is it to learn that lesson as a 12-year-old little league baseball player or a 14-year-old trying out for band than to wait and learn it as a 25-year-old at a job. There is a reason why we have so many young people who can not handle less than stellar reviews. It is because we have taught them growing up that just participating is good enough.

We need to stop depriving our children of these valuable learning lessons. Sometimes - no matter how hard it is - we need to let them lose.

 
Off the Table PDF Print
Monday, March 18, 2013 9:28 AM

BY MURRAY COHEN

Herald Publisher

“Off the Table.”

That’s what those who oppose increasing taxes for millionaires and billionaires have been saying and continue to say as the nation tries to stop the deficit bleeding.

There is no doubt that billions could be cut from expenses but fixing the deficit problem also calls for getting the taxes of the upper 2 percent of earners back where they were during the Clinton era. I never heard one word of hardship from the upper 2 percent during Clinton’s term in office regarding the taxes they were paying. Instead, then as now, most of the increase in wealth was happening with the upper 2 percent — certainly not the poor and the middle class.

President Obama has faced stone-walling Congressmen for the past five years who have refused to permit millionaires and billionaires to have their taxes make a substantial contribution to the solving of the deficit problem.

I challenge one of these Congressmen to put forth their views to a group of veterans of the Iraq War. I challenge just one of them to make one of these obscene “Off the Table” speeches to a group of veterans who have served in Afghanistan. None of them would ever have the stupidity to do such a thing.

Keep in mind that while the nation was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — also fighting two wars and world-wide terrorism — the opposers of even modest tax increases for millionaires and billionaires were holding their ground. No increases for the wealthy. No increases for the very wealthy. No increases for the ultra-wealthy.

In this, I stand with Billionaire Warren Buffet and many like him who have common sense to realize just how obscene is “Off the Table.”

As for those Congressmen who feel that none of the very rich should contribute — at least modestly — more to balancing the budget, perhaps it is time for all of them to find another way to make a living.

+++++

While I am writing this; don’t you think it’s time that China, with its billion-plus people, buys as much from the United States as we buy from them? And, don’t you think your local Congressmen can become more influential in seeing to it that this is what happens in the future?__PUBLIC__

 
Time for a change? PDF Print
Friday, October 19, 2012 12:19 PM

Almost four years ago, despite our differences — in politics, religion, and ideology — this country elected Barack Obama. The evening of his election was an historic moment for all Americans. We were proud to be Americans. It was a warm night, candles were lit, people were holding hands and tears were shed. This great country stood up and did something that many believed impossible — we elected a black American man to the most important and powerful position in the world. We believed, or wanted to believe, that this relatively unknown, highly charismatic, outsider had the hope and audacity to reach across race, religion, national origin, and yes even political affiliation and was going to heal this great nation.
This man, our president, made many promises. He told us that he would cut the deficit in half, he would have unemployment down below 6 percent, he made commitments about improving family income, reforming Medicare and Social Security, and reforming immigration, just to name a few. My area of expertise is recruiting and selecting top performers. I can tell you that people make all kinds of claims when they are interviewing and that politicians make all kinds of promises when they are trying to get your vote.  I have a golden rule that has served me well and it goes like this — “When all else fails, believe the observable.” Put aside the way they look, their eloquence, their ability to convince and persuade, then observe what they have actually done because there is no better predictor of the future than to examine the past.
So let’s examine how President Obama has performed over the last three-plus years. Unemployment was at 7.8 percent and it is still at 7.8 percent; not below 6 percent. The average unemployment rate over that time is 8.98 percent — the worst record in recent history. The real unemployment rate is 14.7 percent — 23 million Americans out of work.  Many have given up hope. The federal deficit was at $10.6 trillion and it is now at $16.1 trillion. This is a national tragedy. I can go on and on — median family income down $4,300 per family, gas prices at $3.75 a gallon up from $1.86 a gallon when Mr. Obama took office; 47 million people are on food stamps up from 32 million, no reforms of immigration, Social Security or Medicare.
America can do better. As I travel the world, people of other countries ask me: “When is America going to get their act together and help pull the world economy together?” My answer is Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney is a hardworking, compassionate, principled, articulate leader that has a proven record of success. He wants this success for all Americans and has a plan to help us get there. Why is it that he is often vilified in the media for being successful? When did Americans decide that it is a crime to be a success? Is it okay for Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump and the Kardashians, but not for a presidential candidate? This just is the media imposing their political agenda again.
Sure, President Obama inherited a tough economy. But nearly four years have passed and we’re much worse off than when he took office. Someone once said that “you cannot talk your way out of what you behaved your way into.”
Enough enchanted speeches already. President Obama’s had his chance and I believe that it’s our duty as American citizens to replace this president on Nov. 6 and quit just hoping for change. It’s time to ensure a change with our votes on Election Day. My suggestion is to take a hard look at the last four years, turn off the TV, avoid the negative ads and vote with your head and not just your heart. Or just consider if you would replace an employee whose own record is so poor that he has to keep blaming his predecessor rather than to take responsibility for his total lack of ability to accomplish the goals that he was hired to accomplish — no matter how much of our money he has spent trying?
The time for trying is over, it’s time for doing; it’s time for Mitt Romney.

The Perrys will host Mitt Romney in their home on Saturday when he visits Perrysburg.

 
Four more years PDF Print
Friday, October 19, 2012 12:18 PM

My vote this year again will be for Barack Obama for a second term in office.
I wish more had been accomplished during the past four years but what has been done, especially in an economy that was in total collapse when he took office, is breathtaking.
He would almost earn my vote for the killing of Osama Bin Laden, something the George Bush administration  couldn’t accomplish. It was Obama that got the job done. Just as he promised.
Ohio, with its big stake in the auto industry, must be grateful for the skillful way the Obama administration saved General Motors and Chrysler. Mitt Romney - at the very least - gave no support for this. And it’s not just GM/Chrysler he saved. It was hundreds of suppliers to these companies, whose bankruptcies would have impacted  the economy of scores of communities in Ohio and the Midwest.
Romney said on his first day in office, he would have repealed Obamacare. Tell that to the millions of Senior Citizens who have benefited, tell it to the many families who can still keep their children on their health plan for several more years. Obamacare must be amended to make it more friendly to the medical profession, but all the good stuff in it to see that the middle class doesn’t go broke over illness should be retained.
As for a “voucher” system for Social Security and other benefits, which Romney-Ryan espouses, although we have much reforming to do, that’s a no-go as far as I am concerned. You are pitting millions of people out there against insurance companies who have the expertise to out-maneuver them. Social Security must be reformed but a voucher system is a threat to all of the middle and lower classes.
It is unacceptable to me that people earning millions of dollars a year should be paying no more-or even less-than their secretaries. And Romney-Ryan are pledged to give the millionaires and billionaires a tax break even with the current deficits and other challenges. They’ll make up for it, they say, with ending, “loopholes.” At every step of the way, brilliant attorneys/lobbyists who earn more in an hour than the average reader and advertiser of this newspaper make in a week, will be building giant walls to stop them. The major “ loopholes”  that would be ended would be those benefiting the average citizen.
I have been disappointed in Obama. I had hoped the Asian wars would have been over within his first year. I had hoped for an immediate clamp-down on tax benefits for moving American production overseas. I had hoped for the deficits to be reduced or eliminated despite the irresponsible mess left behind.
But, given the challenges he has faced and partially overcome after eight years of Bush’s gross mismanagement, I believe Obama deserves another term in office.
In the past four year, we have seen:
— Reversal of the 800,000-a-month losses in jobs in the private sector;
— Return of a good measure of the respect for the United States among many countries since the debacle of the Bush administration;
— Passage of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act;
— Achievement a new treaty with Russia to limit warheads and launchers;
— Keeping American troops from being involved in the Syrian Civil War;
— End of torture policies, which according to the Geneva Convention were illegal;
— More financial possibility for students to get through college;
— Tripling of AmeriCorps;
— More protection for credit card consumers;
— Reduced oil imports and the probability the USA will be a natural gas exporter; and
— Payroll taxes reduced.
(Another view of the election  is presented today by my friend Jim Perry of Perrysburg, a former Delphos resident who is a long-term director of Delphos Herald, Inc.)

 
What the duck? PDF Print
Monday, September 26, 2011 6:56 AM

I’m sure you all read the council story in Wednesday’s paper and perhaps the duck issue caught your attention.
I have lived on the east side of the Miami-Erie Canal for nearly my entire life. We didn’t have ducks when I was younger. Muskrats – not ducks.
I’ve heard the whispers on how they came to be here. You know it only takes two. They’re kind of like rabbits or gerbils. The numbers can add up quickly.
Over the years, they’ve moved from one end of the canal to the other and everywhere in between. It doesn’t take much for them to settle in.
I’ve fed the ducks and given stuff to others to feed them.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having the ducks in my backyard — on the canal — in Delphos.
I’ve had them nest in my yard, make themselves comfortable in my flower beds, cover my yard with feathers and chase each other around in the spring when they’re feeling frisky.
I’ve waited patiently for them to cross the road. If it was a mama with babies, I sighed and said, “Aaww.”
Then those babies grew up and so did every other mama duck’s babies and pretty soon, here we are with a whole lotta ducks.
Now they just kind of take over. They go where they want, do what they want and leave a mess behind.
A few summers ago, we couldn’t even use our backyard because of the feathers and duck doo-doo.
They trampled everything in their path to our bird feeder and ate our tomatoes.
No matter how much you like them, there are just too many.
I don’t like the options I heard and I hope a few more will be explored.
I had someone stop me while I was walking Ringo Friday and tell me they would hate to see the ducks go to a soup kitchen or the likes or be dispatched, the term that was used. I gotta tell you, it kind of freaks me out more. There are at least 140 of them.
Left unchecked, there will soon be 200 and I’m not going to insult your intelligence by not realizing you know where this is going.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want 140 of anything in my backyard and that’s just this year.

 
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