Ski team deserves more recognition

In previous issues of The Times there were several articles recognizing the Tualatin High School ski team. Now, with its best season ever, there has been no such recognition.

It is the opinion of many that ski racing is just as much of a sport as basketball, football or any other popular sport. We train just as hard as other athletes and are required to be just as athletic. Members of the ski team are actually forced to work harder for their sport than members of school-funded sports. If anything, the dedication of our athletes deserves recognition.

Unlike ski racers from Lake Oswego High School and other 6A schools we compete with, our team fund-raises and pays more than most other sports just for a chance to participate. Our parent volunteers donate whole days just to allow us the ability to race. With nine members of the ski team we have anywhere from four to 10 volunteers each race.

Another setback we face with our school's failure to recognize our team, is in pre-season preparation. Members of Lakeridge High School have the advantage of a dryland coach, which was hired by the school.

Despite these obstacles, both Tualatin High School's boys and girls teams qualified for the state championship, which was the first time the girls team has ever qualified. Among our individual standings we had junior Marcus Neff finish seventh overall (giant slalom and slalom combined), and sixth in slalom. Also junior Kirsten Pierce finished fifth overall and fifth in giant slalom. The girls team was also tremendously assisted by junior Keslie Jones 10th place finish in slalom season standing.

With natural and raw talent the Tualatin High School ski racing team needs support and recognition from their school in order to become even better.

I ask, would high school football and soccer teams have such great success without the support of their community?



Keep bullfighting out of the U.S.

KPTV showed a video of a bullfight in Peru recently. It was being promoted because a young boy was the fighter and he was supposedly seen as brave. There were other adults around to help out.

I want to express my point of view since the TV reporter expressed their point of view that the young boy was such a brave boy.

I see nothing brave about bullfighters. They are people who choose to put themselves in a situation that intimidates an animal into defending itself. They are throwing spears in the back of the animal, which causes it to bleed. As it bleeds it becomes weaker. After it bleeds out, it becomes too weak to fight. 

If a person were to cut their self and not stop the bleeding, they would become weaker. The bull sees something waving in front of its face so it is probably defending itself. Bulls don't eat meat so they are not going to attack, but they will defend themselves when they feel they are in danger.

There is nothing brave about a bullfighter. They are people who have trapped an animal and forced it into a position of trying to defend itself.

I hope bullfighting doesn't become acceptable in the United States.



Smoking rules will let us breathe easier

Four years ago it became illegal to smoke in public places in Ireland, including all pubs, bars and restaurants. My wife and I were in Ireland that year just before this law was going to go into effect. Most bartenders and pub and restaurant owners were crying doom-and-gloom and saying what a debacle this non-smoking law was going to create as smoking and drinking Guinness beer in Ireland has gone hand-in-hand for what seems like an eternity.

The doom-and-gloom is over, the businesses on the 'Emerald Isle' have survived, and I understand many are doing better than ever.

In Oregon, it will become illegal to smoke in virtually all public places as of Jan. 1, 2009. It is better for businesses to jump on board earlier than later. Why wait to the last minute and spring it on your smoking clientele?

Let's face it, not smoking in public places is good for everyone - especially the employees of these establishments.

We have known for more than a half-century that there is a correlation between smoking and lung and heart disease, not to mention cancer. We have also known for more than 20 years through extensive medical research that there is a correlation between second-hand smoke and non-smokers contracting smoker diseases.

I think most folks would agree that breathing clean air is better for your heart and lungs than smoke-filled air. The sooner existing businesses jump on the bandwagon and adopt non-smoking rules the better. What possible logical reason is there to wait until the last minute, especially when the new law makes it inevitable?

The state campaign, 'Why Wait' is right on the money. Breathe easier everyone, better times are ahead for your heart and lungs.



War more costly than dollars spent

The consequences of the war in Iraq grow greater with each passing month.

This war, soon to be 5 years old, is now the second longest war in the history of our nation. The war in/with Iraq will soon be the costliest in our history. Our nation is now spending more than $780 million a day in this seemingly endless war.

Not only are the costs so expensive in terms of lives, deaths, injuries, dollars and destruction of cities, towns, villages, neighborhoods and refugees, but the psychological, social, political and spiritual damages and casualties are greater and greater as each day goes on.

Some time ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned about a nation losing its spiritual soul, and Dorothy Day sought for most of her life to warn us of the danger to the human psyche of war making.

The consequences of the present Iraq war become more and more serious, with ramifications that will take a generation or more to heal and bring wholeness to the human family.



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