Errors are part of baseball - and life

I watched the final inning of Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga's perfect game, which ended with two outs on umpire Jim Joyce's blown call ["Forever imperfect," News, June 4]. Of course the Monday morning quarterbacks are screaming that Major League Baseball should use instant replay to help umpires on these important close calls.

I disagree; the game is too long to begin with. Plus, the real beauty of baseball is the human element of it. Do outfielders catch every fly ball or make perfect throws? Do infielders field every ground ball? Do hitters hit every time up? Do mothers and fathers make perfect calls with regard to their children? Do children make the right decisions in life? No, errors are as much a part of the game as they are a part of life. What's important is how you respond to these bumps in the road.

In this case, we saw two individuals handle the error by choosing to be professionals and move on. Both Galarraga and Joyce should be commended and held up for all from Little League to the majors to see, as examples of sportsmanship and forgiveness.

Stephen Vella


Districts share ideas, but bullying runs deep

In a recent letter , a writer suggested that Long Island superintendents meet with upstate school leaders to exchange ideas. While a laudable suggestion, I'm sure that I speak not only for myself but for my colleagues as well, when I say that the sharing of information has been ongoing for quite some time.

The West Islip school district has investigated and implemented myriad programs drawn from all over the country. This year alone, our long-standing Bullying Awareness Committee - made up of teachers, parents and administrators - paid an exploratory visit to Garden City Middle School, to observe the mentioned Olweus program in action.

However, schools are but a microcosm of society at large, and our efforts to teach students civility and "hands-off" behavior are stymied by the role models the children see daily. For example, it is especially disheartening to watch the recent marketing campaign for Volkswagen, wherein individuals punch their companions whenever a car of that brand passes by. In one commercial, children in the car happily urge their parents to drive down the street a second time, so that they can witness the punching again.

Children learn not from what we say, but from what we do. As long as we support talk shows, other programming and advertising that glorifies incivility and bullying, both schools and families will be fighting an uphill battle.

Beth Virginia Blau

North Bellmore

Editor's note: The writer is superintendent of West Islip Public Schools.

Focus heroin efforts on prevention

There is no denying the growing heroin problem on Long Island ["More seek help for addiction," News, June 1]. As a state-certified health teacher, I am very aware of the growing number of teens using heroin in our area. Your article did a great job of highlighting our area's need for increased treatment programs, but prevention programs must also be stressed. It seems that Long Islanders are dedicated to trying to fix an existing problem, yet often forget that prevention education would inhibit many teens from even trying heroin in the first place.

Wouldn't we rather spend our money on empowering our youth with the skills necessary to refuse drugs, rather than scramble to pick up the pieces after they're already addicted or overdosing?

Jenny Caruso

Lake Ronkonkoma

Reward rule followers, not rule breakers

I read with disbelief that two school districts were sanctioned for the amount of tutoring made available to suspended students with disabilities ["Hempstead, Freeport rapped on tutors," News, May 31]. Why do these rule breakers, who have already disrupted other students and interfered with their education, get more funding than everyone else? It is past time to reward good behavior, not bad. It does not matter how much money you throw at these rule breakers, very few will turn around. But every dollar you divert from the rule followers leaves gaps.

Let's show parents and students that we actually value education. When you get suspended, it may take you longer to graduate; you may get left behind and not graduate with your class. This would be a direct result of your actions.

Currently we tell students that if you act up you get private tutoring, you can sleep late at home and show up at the library after school hours for an hour or two and laugh at your peers sitting in class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The best instruction we can give students is to teach them that there are consequences to their actions.

Maria Shields

East Northport

We need more than a leader to fix this crisis

Regarding your editorial "This crisis needs a leader" [May 30], is it a leader the public is seeking or a daddy to make us feel better? You say the public wants President Barack Obama to act aggressively in the Gulf oil spill - to do what? From what I read, he sent the Coast Guard to investigate almost immediately and we have scientists researching, but this is all after the fact.

For years we allowed private companies to be poorly regulated. This crisis and the financial crisis are two examples of regulation gone bad, yet we still hear cries for limited government. Now we have learned we are vulnerable; our worst nightmares can come true. It would be nice to think that from this disaster we will rise to a new awareness about protecting our planet.

Instead of pointing fingers at one president who can't really do much, we need real solutions. Do we want more government regulation and more government control in this area, or alternative, clean, safe energy sources? Or do we just want a daddy to tell us all is well when it isn't?

Vivien Pollack


Legal action won't stop the leaking oil

Watching the coverage of the BP oil spill ["Feds open civil, criminal probes into Gulf oil spill," News, June 2], I am reminded of the movie "Apollo 13." With the lives of the astronauts hanging in the balance and no answer in sight, there's a scene where a gentleman comes in with a cardboard box filled with odds and ends. He dumps it on the table and explains that they must fix the problem using only these items - and that is exactly what they do.

Legal action will not stop a single drop of oil, but alternative suggestions might. Why not get people at other oil companies, think tanks, MIT, the Navy - somebody - to start attacking the problem instead of trying to tie up BP with legalities? We have some of the best minds in the world right here in the United States, and that is where the solution can be found, not in a courtroom.

Lynne Lyons


A last word on BP

Broken pipeline. Burgeoning peril. Biggest polluter.

Bungled procedures. Buck passers. Beyond plausible.

Befouling our planet.

How? Why?

Begetting profits!

Barbara Cousins


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