One of our most divided months between readers whose attitudes about competition and winning are poles apart.  In addition…coaches, officiating, and appreciative ‘snark’ over climate change.

As ‘cabin fever’ sets in, the emails have set sail for PPM from far and wide – and in particular, over the nasty fascination people have with playing (or preparing) to win:

“I’m writing about an article you posted some time ago (someone shared it with me) where you said that it’s a waste of time to play if you don’t win. That’s the most idiotic thing I think I’ve ever read. You really need to reconsider that statement.” … Jason Liles

(Ed. Note: It took some time but I think I found the column you refer to, and what I’ll share with you now is…you should read more carefully. For in fact what I wrote was, “it’s a waste of effort, time, and opportunity if you don’t PREPARE to win. There’s a world of different between the two, and I think that speaks for itself. No apology needed.)

“I notice that you rarely cover games between teams with losing records. Is there a reason for that?” … Jeremy

(Ed. Note: The name of the game is readership, and readership is usually dictated by games between competitive entities. I don’t think we’re alone with what we choose to cover.)

“Again I point out that your choice of content deals almost entirely with those schools and communities that are privileged, and hold their winning traditions highly as a symbol of superiority. Sadly, you choose not to acknowledge so many others for whom simple participation is such a more powerful example of winning on a personal basis. As the culture changes, along with demand for a long-due change of media attitude, I will share that your publication is a front-runner among those totally out of step.” … Syl

(Ed Note: Dear Syl, if you’d like to open that can of worms more publicly you might share more about your own personal choice of schools and universities. In the meantime, enjoy the matchless view.)

“Seriously, can anyone who ever played say that there’s anything that can take the place of winning?”  … Ken Motycka (The Plains, Oh)

Former Shelby County Leaguer, Nate Ruhenkamp, took the time to expand on the community’s appreciation for competitive success:

“We just came out of the holiday season, and while we count our blessing I’m sure one blessing none of us are counting is how fortunate our area is for amateur sports. Having grown up in Fort Loramie, I can say that plain and simple, we are used to winning, but at what point do we become immune to it? Do we already take it for granted because we lose sight of what goes into all those wins?

We are spoiled by how much we win. Over the years, we have been bred to expect winning. Doesn’t matter the sport, doesn’t matter the school, doesn’t matter the gender. Every gym in the area is filled with banners from league titles, Nowadays, if you don’t win it’s a failed season.

We are spoiled by coaching. Our area is fortunate to be home to some of the best coaches in the state, including multiple coaches inducted into their respective hall of fames at the state level. The names that come to mind right away include almost too many to mention. That’s how spoiled we are.

We are spoiled by competition. Ask any coach who gets beat by a team from our area and they almost all say the same thing, “we have not played that kind of competition all year.”

We are spoiled by support. The fans, the facilities, the tradition, the alumni, the schools themselves. None of the wins we have become accustomed to experiencing would be possible without the support from families and coaches and communities that have literally poured blood, sweat, and tears into building these programs.

Having spent the last 8+ years living in Cincinnati, I have come to know all about the GCL (Greater Catholic League) and all their wins and state titles, and their famous alumni – the fruits of living in the big city, so much as to have many take it for granted.

And yet, I know people from our area at home will never take high school sports for granted. Because? They will never become numb to the thrill of winning. Nor should anyone.” … Nate Ruhenkamp (Cincinnati)

As a regular feature on Press Pros we offer profiles on those coaches in the area recognized for their impact and commitment on the athletes and communities they serve:

“As a regular reader of Press Pros I wanted to share my enjoyment of your December 4th article about Jackson Center basketball coach, Scott Elchert.  In particular, I point to the quote from the district’s superintendent, who said, “He’s a breath of fresh air in a time when everyone is so worried about being politically correct, and Scott knows how to walk that line. He demands discipline, but to be quite honest, when you run a disciplined classroom, and a disciplined practice, there’s so much more that gets done.”  Well done, Coach.  It’s a shame that more communities cannot appreciate that in many instances the old ways are still the best ways.”  … James Bradley

“I’d like to speak for one local coach who has transformed a program from no respect to a well disciplined group of young men.  Jeff Lisath is someone who has gained the respect of the Northridge community. He has changed the way basketball is played and the way the community looks and thinks about the program. Coach Lisath is calm and quiet on the sideline and takes no negative actions or talk from the team. He can change a player’s actions and attitude with a look of approval or not, and each team member has a responsibility whether playing or sitting. For some of these young men, he is the best thing that has ever happened to or for them. He is a gentleman, leader, coach, father figure, just a first class human being.”  … Mike Mescher (Dayton)

On our January 17 feature on officials, and what modern culture’s demand to manipulate any kind of authority:

“Please don’t take the words of a whiner like Mick Cronin for the gospel.  He should clean up some of his own issues before be blames the officials.”  … Jas. Clegg

“What you didn’t say is what needs to be said, regarding officials and those in authority.  That too many put their egos above their abilities.  There’s no excuse for someone not to simply sign the official scorebook, as they’re requested to do.  But some don’t and say, “You don’t need to know my name.”  That’s nothing more than refusing to take responsibility in writing, and it’s hard to respect that kind of authority.”  … Jeff Klein

“Your reference to former NL umpire Doug Harvey was tremendous.  What he said about managing the game is the essence of officiating in any sport.  Very enjoyable read.”  … Matt Fairchild

“Wow.  Doug Harvey.  Cool!”  …  Bruce Childs

In the midst of last week’s sub-zero cold snap, we expressed the frustration of many over the argument about climate change, global warming, and the future of the planet:

“AMEN.  I’m tired of hearing it, too.”  … John Gephart (Ft. Loramie)

I checked for the so-called facts you quoted, only to find that there are so many ‘contradicting’ facts on both sides of the argument.  So, where does the science end and the BS begin?”  … Bob Schneider

“Always, always, always trust the US government and your local politician running for office.”  … Tom Killilea (Columbus)