Coaching abuse common

at the high school level

The events at Rutgers University shed light on the physical abuse of student-athletes by coaches. However, a far more insidious and pervasive abuse is occurring at the high school level.

Children are routinely exposed to mental and emotional abuse by high school coaches who place winning and their records above the mental well-being of their players. These coaches believe that the win-loss outcome of their season is far more important than the process of participation, character development and safety.

When winning is the No. 1 priority - in some cases the only priority - coaches do significant, long-term damage to young, impressionable children.

This damage manifests itself in many ways. Some players lose their enthusiasm to play, quit the team or want to quit because they become demoralized.

Abusive coaches play head games with children, pitting one against the other. They rarely use praise or positive feedback. They are bullies who create an environment where children are afraid to make a mistake.

Abusive coaches run up scores, demonstrating poor sportsmanship and failing to develop their younger players by keeping starters in the game long after the outcome has already been decided.

Does this sound like your coach? The problem is compounded when school leaders, tasked with overseeing these programs and protecting our children, are complicit with the abusive coach. Their only measure of success is wins, and they ignorantly equate wins with good coaching. The abuse is complete when parents are unwilling or unable to speak out to protect our children.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men." Are you willing to remain silent?

KARL KRUGER

Mullica Township

Pleasantville Greyhounds

have made us all proud

Regarding the April 28 story, "P'ville makes history/4x800 squad 1st local team to win Championship race":

As a former member of the Pleasantville High School Greyhound track team for four years from 1969 to 1973, I want to say "booya!" to the relay team for winning at the Penn Relays.

I ran in the Pennsauken relays, and we finished with a bronze and a silver medal. I ran in back-to-back races with one race separating them. I ran so hard I threw up between races and then ran the second leg, which was the 440, where we earned a silver medal.

These young men won the gold and deserve praise not only from all us Pleasantville grads, but also from all of South Jersey. They worked extremely hard and are dedicated young lads and a credit to all of track and field, to Pleasantville High and to all of New Jersey. Go, Greyhounds!

DAVE LEOPOLD

Absecon

Farmed deer will lead

to canned hunting

An egregious bill, A507, has been sent to the floor of the New Jersey Assembly. It is sponsored by Assembly members Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam, both D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Marlene Caride, D-Bergen, Passaic. The bill will establish a licensing program in the Department of Agriculture for farmed deer. It is illegal to sell deer parts in New Jersey, so these deer will be raised solely for the purpose of killing them.

Farmed deer are usually raised and fed by hand. They lose their fear of man and their instinct to run and hide. When these defenseless animals are fenced in, they become quite easy to kill. In fact, many canned-hunting operators have a "no kill, no pay" policy.

Besides the moral and ethical implications of this practice, it is alleged that high-density populations can lead to surging disease rates of tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease.

Many ethical hunters are outraged by this practice because it eliminates the "fair chase" aspect of hunting. I don't consider this to be hunting at all; it's simply killing.

Please call your representatives to voice your opposition. Our political system doesn't work because special interests call the shots, not us. We can change that.

RICK O'BRIEN

Edison

We need crime control,

•ot more gun control

Why is it that some people do not see that gun control aimed at law-abiding citizens is not going to stop criminals from acting criminally?

These horrific mass shootings have some people ready to abandon the Constitution, calling it "antiquated." Really? The same out-of-control federal government that couldn't stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev after a heads-up from Russian intelligence is going to make us safe from gun violence by doing universal background checks? LOL.

While hideous, mass murders make up a small percentage of gun violence. It is the steady drip, drip, drip of daily shootings in our cities committed by criminals who miss their target and kill innocent victims that has to be rectified. We don't need more laws when the laws in place are not enforced. We need mandatory long prison sentences and federal penalties for gun crimes.

Why do you think the electorate needs the Second Amendment? Not because there are too many guns, but because there are too many criminals on the street with guns.

Last week, the New Jersey Senate introduced its gun-control package. Oppose any anti-gun legislation that only punishes law-abiding gun owners and ask them to instead support real solutions to crime and mental-health issues.

DAN RENZULLI

Little Egg Harbor Township

Now we can get back

to political correctness

Regarding the capture of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber:

We got him. Now we can put our heads back in the sand now and concentrate our efforts on rooting out the real threats to our nation - like the tea party, the National Rifle Association and Christian extremists.

The fact that these groups have not been found to be behind such man-made disasters as the Boston bombing only indicates a failure on our part to scrutinize them thoroughly enough.

Chasing down a couple of mischievous kids is surely beneath us. Their parents swear they're just a pair of all-American youths, faithful Muslims, pure as the driven snow and that they had nothing to do with the "incident." They were framed in an act of religious intolerance. The evidence was planted, the film was Photoshopped, and they shot at police only in self-defense.

Thankfully, the administration took quick action to spare the survivor any further interrogation, since the intelligence the FBI might have gleaned from him could only serve to cloud the issue and widen a witch hunt.

All our questions can be easily answered by our cultural awareness specialists. They will tell us this is all our fault. We are intolerant and insensitive. And for that, we will continue to pay with lives and limbs - another mandated expense, like taxes and Obamacare.

KEN ELLIS

Ocean City

Christie may be popular,

but his policies hurt N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie wants us to give him four more years. His overall favorability rating is 64 percent, but only 42 percent on the economy, 37 percent on his tax plan and around 50 percent on his budget, crime and education agendas.

He came into office blaming the state's poor economy on pubic workers while ignoring the country's worst recession since the Great Depression. Public-sector employees, generally well-educated, earn at least 10 percent less than private-sector employees, according to studies. Christie proposed 33 pieces of legislation to weaken unions, cut benefits and reduce the number of workers. As a result, national educational rankings dropped and public safety declined.

Privatizing the lottery nets Christie $120 million up front from Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group that will help close a budget hole and jeopardize 60 state employees' jobs. Once again, Christie plans to appropriate Clean Energy Program funds from next year's budget, bringing the total he has taken in this way to $800 million. These fund diversions have caused our energy efficiency ranking to fall from eighth to 16th nationally.

While his tax cuts for business have done little to reduce unemployment, he proposes another $2.3 billion tax cut for 2014, resurrects tax cuts favoring millionaires while vetoing a minimum-wage increase. And he slashes health care for women and children as well as funds for education.

Let's not mistake popularity for worthiness.

NICK REINA

Milmay