Homework: Student Voices September 08, 2008

Seventh-graders at East Middle School are joining their Grand Valley counterparts in expressing opinions on societal issues. Today four young writers focus on sports issues. Molly Findlay and Kalen Potter comment on the controversy over Jericho Scott, a young baseball player who has been called dangerous because he can pitch at 40 mph. Moriah Rayment and Andy Bowen express their views on ways to improve the Olympics.

Young pitcher banned for wrong reasons 

• Would you deprive a 9-year-old boy of the sport he loves? Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old baseball pitcher in New Haven, Conn., was banned from playing in the Youth Baseball League of New Haven (YBLNH) because of his proficient ability to pitch. I disagree with the parents and YBLNH. No one should be banned for being excessively advanced. Haven’t you always wanted to be the best you can be? There are surely other solutions than banning him: move him into a higher age range, enroll in travel ball, and many other alternatives. Even if he refused the opportunities, he should still be allowed to play. He is an accurate pitcher, so he wouldn’t hit the batter, which is the biggest worry. That isn’t even a very reasonable explanation. With every pitcher comes the same risk that the batter will get hit. That also is one of the risks that come along with playing baseball. This boy could have a future in major league baseball. Without realizing it, the Little League could be discouraging the next Babe Ruth. Nobody has the right to shatter the dreams of others, especially not a Little League to a 9-year-old boy.

Molly Findlay, 12, East Middle School

Give Jericho a sporting chance

• Why on earth would anyone take away a 9-year-old child’s dream, squash his hopes, and disapprove of his talent when he is an amazing young pitcher, likely to have a successful baseball career ahead of him? Jericho Scott will not have a chance to use his abilities and won’t be able to improve his skills. Plus, if he isn’t allowed to play, he will feel like nobody wants him to play in the future, and he will be discouraged. If those parents are afraid of their child getting injured, they should deal with it, because they took that risk signing their kid up for baseball in the first place. Why not just set Jericho in a higher league if he’s that good at pitching? So, let the kid have fun and let him participate in baseball.

Kalen Potter, 13, East Middle School

Biased Olympic judges hurt athletes

• Some may think that the Olympic judging is not a world issue. It is, because it involves almost every single country in the world. Biased judges not only hurt the athletes who are deducted points and lose the medals they should have gotten and earned, it also hurts the athletes who are being favored by the judges because they can physically get hurt by attempting stunts that are too hard.
You want proof of these biased judges? Just two examples are in gymnastics. 1) Nastia Liukin did a perfect vault and got a three-tenths deduction. Then one of the Chinese gymnasts went up and took a meter step, which is worth a three-tenths deduction. She only got a one-tenth deduction. 2) Nastia Liukin and one of the Chinese gymnasts got a tying score, but they gave the gold medal to the Chinese on the uneven bars.
The Olympic directors can fix this problem by getting unbiased judges for each event. Everyone will be judged fairly, and the wrong countries won’t be getting medals just because they got on the judges’ good list.
Biased judges are unfair to all the athletes and should be stopped. If we work together, we can help stop this unfairness.

Moriah Rayment, 11, East Middle School

Bring lacrosse back to the Olympics

•  Everybody loves the Olympics. Many of the events are very exciting. But to me, there is something missing. That something happens to be lacrosse. Back in 1908, lacrosse was cut from the list of Olympic sports due to lack of popularity. I think that it is a very fun sport to watch. It combines the brute force of football with the hand-eye coordination of basketball.
One of the main reasons lacrosse is no longer an Olympic sport is because it is not popular in enough countries. It has not been until recently that lacrosse has gained popularity. To help make lacrosse more popular in your area, you can start a club. Once more people are interested in the club, petition your school board to get lacrosse sanctioned as a school sport. That is how lacrosse rose in rank here in Grand Junction. If many more people make these efforts, lacrosse will become more popular nationally, then internationally. Then comes the time to propose to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make lacrosse part of the games. The IOC requires that the sport be known in at least 75 countries to qualify for men’s summer events and 40 for women’s.
Some might argue that you should not introduce a sport until it is largely known in other countries. I argue that introducing the sport to the Olympics before it is popular helps to boost its popularity because the games are so widely watched.
There are some benefits to having lacrosse in the Olympics. For one, it will add some new culture to the Olympics. Secondly, people across the globe will be able to experience a great sport that was invented right here in the U.S. Third, lacrosse is a team sport. This allows for more participants than an individual sport. Lastly, it is great fun and fitness for all ages and skill levels.
In conclusion, I believe that if shooting or horseback riding can be part of the Olympics, any sport, including lacrosse, can.

Andy Bowen, 12, East Middle School


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