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Let them lose
Written by Kirk Dougal   
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.

Don’t turn a blind eye
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:41 AM

There were several dicey items in the news this week.

The Steubenville rape trial was rather disturbing. I followed the case a little and found the whole thing a wake-up call. We are teaching our children to be callous toward their fellow human beings. We are losing our compassion - our empathy. We are losing what makes us human; what separates us from all other mammals.

Others stood by as a young woman was dragged from party to party and assaulted and videoed (went viral) and photographed (shared a lot). Not a single person tried to stop what was happening. No one stepped forward and said this is wrong. They used their smart phones and shared and tweeted and made the poor girl’s experience public and more humiliating and more horrifying.

Theories support the mentality of her fellow partiers. When there are numbers of bystanders, no one does anything because they think someone else will or that it must not be that bad if no one does. Everyone is waiting around to see what everyone else is going to do so no one does anything.

After she was violated and degraded, then some were upset with her because her attackers were football players. It’s a football town and the people were crazy about their football team. They were heroes. They were just boys being boys. Aw shucks, they were just havin’ a little fun. They didn’t know it was wrong.

And that’s what got me the most. “They didn’t know it was wrong.”

How is that possible?

If you’re not familiar with the case do a little Googling and catch up and come back and we’ll talk.

If our teens are this disconnected what is our future? Are they so desensitized they can’t see how horrific and heart-wrenching this case is? How did such a cruel and degrading act become something that’s OK. They posted pictures of it like it was Grumpy Cat or whatever.

I don’t know any woman who has heard this and not shuddered at the thought of what happened to that girl. None of the girls who witnessed something at those parties that night came forward. Now it has been reported the victim and her family are being harassed through the same media that help convict her rapists.

Just saying the word is uncomfortable.

If it hadn’t been recorded in some manner, the victim may have never reported it. Those young men and their peers would still think it’s OK. Some still do.
Social media has proven to be a double-edged sword - it taketh and it giveth. It’s a blessing and a curse.

We obviously need to have our young people put down their phones and other gadgets for a second and plug back in to their families, their role models and their support systems. We need to have them look us in the eye and we need to make sure they get it because right now, they aren’t batting an eyelash.

Off the Table PDF Print E-mail
Written by Murray Cohen   
Monday, March 18, 2013 9:28 AM


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?

I’m callin’ a do-over
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, March 16, 2013 2:14 AM

My husband and I have a crane critter gittin’ fixation. If there’s a crane machine in the vicinity, we’ve already checked it out, looked at the prizes, investigated how intricately they are entwined and if there are any parts that could come off and choke our little guy.

Yes, they are for Ringo. You didn’t think they were for us, did you?

We always either stick in a dollar bill or load in four quarters because it is rare to get one on the first try. The second try is usually way better than the first.

he definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome. Crazy, right?

When we were children and dissatisfied with the outcome of a game, we would often yell, “Do over!” We would then repeat whatever we did, hoping for a different outcome. Of course, that didn’t always happen and everyone knows you only get one do-over so you better make it count.

In golf, a do-over is a mulligan. As you can guess, a mulligan is not “legal” in the rules of golf. You are supposed to take the shot where it lands — good or bad. At some charity golf events, one can purchase mulligans as an additional fundraiser and since everyone is on the same page, it’s OK. It’s not OK to tap the ball onto the green with your toe or give it a toss from the other side of a tree.

He doesn’t charge by the hour
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, March 09, 2013 2:23 AM

A friend’s comment on Facebook spurred this John Tesh digression.

She said her therapist weighed 5 pounds and was covered in fur.

Amen, sister.

What is better than coming home from a hard day at work and seeing that little guy or girl that is so happy to see you? Nothing. Well, maybe a few other things but not here.

Who better to pour out the frustrations of the day to than someone who is always going to agree with you? This is a no-brainer.

We’ve already been over the obvious benefits of having a dog. They are great companions. They like to play. They love unconditionally. They don’t want to borrow the car. They won’t be going to college.

Pets, including cats, ferrets and hamsters and such, can lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home. Researchers say heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease - lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels - than non-owners.

The benefits, both physical and emotional are proven.

What they do is steal your heart and make it so you are just as excited to see them when you get home.

I love to bury my face in Ringo’s neck when I move in for a hug. It’s so soft and feels so good. He’s the perfect size for hugging. Unfortunately, he has to be in the mood for hugging.

Jodi Arias update.

How interesting is it that Arizona is one of the few states where during a trial, the jury can ask questions of the defendant as well. I was unaware this was even an option and in the good faith of seeing justice prevail, I think it should be allowed everywhere.

How many times have you seen an interview with a juror after a trial and they had questions that weren’t answered and sometimes not even addressed? Well, in Arizona you get to at least attempt to find your own answers. I think during a trial, especially one as serious as this one, the jury should have as much information as possible.

Jodi Arias has been on the stand for weeks now. I think it’s been too long and I agree with the analysts who think all that face time with the jury will foster an attachment and they won’t be able to put her on death row. They may not like her and they may not believe her but she’s become a fixture in their lives. I don’t think they are going to be able to give her the death penalty.

I can’t believe I have let myself be caught up in this. I’m afraid I am going to be on jury watch with the rest of the HLN nation. I can’t even believe I’m writing this but it has me sucked in. It’s a train wreck. I can’t look away.

Where’s Ringo? I need a hug.