Friday, April 1, 2011

Sports Favoritism in Easton: Why Don't Chanelle and Abbey Get a Parade?

 Abbey Shaffer                              Chanelle Price

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As evidence of Easton's unhealthy obsession and prioritization of boys' football and wrestling over all else in the Easton Area School District, Ed Sieger reports for the Express-Times that Mayor Panto has organized a parade and named a day in honor of national wrestling champion and Easton High School grad, Jordan Oliver.


The Mayor justifies this by saying that "Jordan Oliver's gold medal at this year's NCAA wrestling championship was no doubt an impressive athletic feat but not the sole reason the city wants to honor one of its own...If he was a national champion and not a great person, he wouldn't be getting a parade."


But track and field star Chanelle Price, Gatorade's Athlete of the Year 2008, got no such hooplah, even though the criteria for these awards is based on academic excellence in addition to athletic accomplishment,
according to the Gatorade panel:


"Price has maintained a 99.28 average in the classroom, placing her in the top five percent of her class.  Easton Area’s Homecoming and Prom Queen, Price donates her time as a Special Olympics volunteer and as a local Vacation Bible School counselor.  A member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Key Club, she also participates in multiple community-service initiatives as an inductee of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society."


Then there's this year's Abbey Shaffer, Easton High School grad and NCAA III national pole vaulting champion for Moravian College. Where is her parade?


I am not saying this to take away from Oliver's accomplishments--the community should be very proud of him and the positive attention his achievements bring our town. But we should be just as proud of these two female athletes who have done the same. And nobody should be getting a day named after them, for Pete's sake. Mayor Panto also said, "It's very rare when a member of our community reaches national stature." But apparently, Easton has so many terrific athletes of national calibre, that if we were to give them each a day to celebrate in their honor, we would be partying in the streets all year. We should honor them, write articles about them, throw a one-time party for them--a one-time parade even--pat them on the back and say, "great job--you make us proud!" But please, can we stop with the statues to people who are not dead yet, and special days for national champions of boys' sports while we ignore the girls? This is 2011, isn't it?


All of this bears directly on heated debate over budget cuts that our school district will have to make this year. While the district threatens to fire 215 teachers, no mention has been made of cutting the sacred cow of sports programs yet. While principals have been made to parade their meager budget before the board and demonstrate how they have reduced costs for books and supplies to $125/student, no one seems to care about the money we blow on boys sports programs. It was all the girls could do to get a lacrosse team approved last year, and it was only approved because residents brought to the district's attention that they were not in compliance with Title IX, and therefore setting the district up for potential lawsuits. Yet we boys sports are multiple teams deep. 


When I was growing up, we had one varsity team, and one JV team in each sport, period. Here, coaches and parents cry that boys will get in trouble if we don't provide coaches and programming for multiple JV teams. What ever happened to boys practicing and working out on their own, striving to make the team? Now it seems, that instead of students making the team, the district is literally making teams for them, despite their level.


And how much does a runner or a pole vaulter costs our district, compared to a football player or wrestler? Not a lot of gear involved in track and field. These young women have striven, achieved, and all at very little impact to the district's budget. Where is their parade?

37 comments:

noel jones said...

I want to be absolutely clear, that I am excited and proud that Easton has a new national wrestling champion in Jordan Oliver--I just want to see male and female athletes treated with equal respect in this town. A parade? Sure! A official day named after a nationally ranked athlete--no. Easton is far to good at sports to treat all champions equally in that regard.

Congratulations to Jordan Oliver--enjoy the parade!

Anonymous said...

Just to clear up some inaccuracies in this post.
There is ONE varsity wrestling team.
There is ONE JV wrestling team.
There are TWO junior high wrestling teams. They are the Red team and the White team.
It has been this way since I graduated in 1979.
NO teams have been added to allow athletes to compete that couldn't make the above mentioned teams.
And to add, I have no hard data to back this up, but I'm sure the cost of a wrestler is very comparable to a track and field athlete. Actually since the wrestling team has such a tremendous booster club for support I'm going to guess it's less cost for the school district.
This area is a hotbed for amateur wrestling. I'm a huge wrestling fan and a big supporter of Jordan Oliver. I do have to admit that even I think the parade is a bit over the top but I am proud to have another Easton wrestler get an NCAA title. That's only been done by one other wrestler in Easton's history, Jack Cuvo.

Untouched Takeaway said...

Noel:

I have to concur with Anonymous 11:12AM.

I'm originally from the South, and thought *we* were rabid with our sports (Florida-Georgia game, anyone?) But I've never experienced anything at the high school level like wrestling and the dreaded P'burg-Easton games.

Jordan Oliver has overcome a lot of personal tragedy as well, and I think the accolade is pretty well-deserved.

UT

noel jones said...

Thanks for the posts--this is a great accomplishment for Jordan Oliver and the town should be proud of him. I just think that the town should also be incredibly proud of these young women, and that we've got too many great athletes coming out of Easton to make town heroes out of them all.

As for the depth of the JV teams, I remember being at a school board meeting not too long ago where the wrestling coach was appealing to have a second JV team (funded by the district) even though he already had residents that that raised the extra money for the club in the community. I think it is admirable that the community raised the money--I think that's what the fans of those sports should do if they want to see more athletic programs out there for kids than the usual varsity and JV team, rather than asking other taxpayers to pay for it. It was aggravating that the coach was pressuring the school board to fund it as a "team" with taxpayer money--he didn't even want to accept the idea of the board approving it as a "club" and said it would be demoralizing to the kids that were on a "club" instead of a "team."

noel jones said...

p.s. it was the sense of entitlement of this coach that bothered me--the way he felt certain that taxpayers SHOULD fund another JV wrestling team, and the way he tried to make everyone feel guilty if they didn't agree, as if all these boys were going to get into trouble if we didn't have another team for them to play on, and it would be the fault of the taxpaying residents who were trying to find ways to cut the budget, not add to it.

In my opinion, funding for scholastics (in particular, literacy) should come before funding for sports.

I also remember when Dr. Duffy, the director of guidance counseling for the EASD, got up and spoke at length about how they were counseling young kids to get into sports early so that Easton's high school teams would be even more competitive when they got there. He spoke only briefly about counseling with regard to academics, and that was to say that we shouldn't encourage all kids to go to college, that some kids weren't well-suited for that, but they might be suited for sports and trades. If that's school counseling, who needs obstacles?

At some point our district is going to have ask themselves the question: could it be that we have been in Corrective Action for years because we prioritize sports over academics? Coaches over teachers? The EASD is talking about firing 215 teachers this year--I haven't heard a word about firing coaches.

I have spoken to some high school students about this--athletes at that--and even they said they thought the school focused too much on sports over academics. Then again, there was a student who proudly spoke up at a school board meeting last year to defend spending on sports, by saying "at Easton, we're not so good at school, and we know it, but we're good at sports!" to which a large contingent of students in the audience spontaneously CHEERED. Like it was a good thing.

We are sports-crazy in this town--and not just sports-crazy, but macho-boy-sports-crazy. We love to watch boys going at it physically--but not girls. And not track and field. There must be violent testosterone involved to be worthy of attention. All of our attention. Who needs books? We've got sports!

If we teach our kids that sports is the most important thing in the world, how are we preparing them to be financially successful in real life? When will they learn to read well, support themselves on a career path, to self-educate, to vote, to be entrepreneurs?

In my opinion, the most important things that kids can learn in school are:

1. reading and research skills (so that they can continue to educate themselves throughout their lives)
2. home economics (so they can balance a check book, maintain and protect credit, budget their expenses and live within their means
3. history (so they don't repeat it) & political science (so that they know how to take an active role in their democracy instead of letting politicians and corporate interests run away with our country)
4. critical thinking (so that they can exercise REASON and not be manipulated by obfuscation, ad hominem propaganda and group-think)
5. how to be an entrepreneur (so that they know that they have that option, instead of waiting around for someone to "create jobs" for them.
6. civics (so they know how to behave respectfully in public and take care of a shared environment).
7. basic math (see #2), and
8. basic science (so they know the physical laws that govern our lives, why you don't leave the gas stove on, why nutrition is important, etc.) I had an Easton high school student ask me once--in complete seriousness--if rocks were alive.

This is what I see missing in Easton (and a large percentage of the country these days) and as far as I'm concerned sports should be a low priority to be funded after our youth are performing well in more important areas.

Anonymous said...

Again, just stick to the facts please.

There is ONE JV team. What coach of any sport would not be an advocate for his sport and want more participants????? He wouldn't be much of a coach if he didn't do that.

There has always been "club" teams in almost every sport, from the high school level and down.

I do agree, all the athletes that achieve any type of national title deserve some sort of recognition. But it just isn't going to happen.

Try to put away your bias and hope for everything to be equal for a moment and realize that because of the following that amateur wrestling has in this area, that a national wrestling title carries a bit more weight.

Kind of the reason more people follow the NCAA men's basketball tournament instead of the women's. The men's game is just more popular.

Just let the young man have is day and be glad he is sharing it with so many of the youth programs.

noel jones said...

yikes. no need to abuse punctuation. take a chill pill.

so now "hope for everything to be equal" is a "bias"? interesting...

sounds a lot like "shut up, you're outnumbered, and i don't want to think about whether it's fair or not."

the beauty of having a forum like this is that everyone (including me) gets to voice their perspective.

i'm glad at least that I can put up the pictures of these young women so that they get a little bit of attention for their accomplishments while Easton gives a parade to (and names a day after) a male wrestler.

when you say "let the young man have his day" you mean 'have his day' literally.

let's give them ALL a day. Chanelle Price Day, Abbey Shaffer Day, why not?

or we can all just pipe down as you suggest, roll over and accept the fact that Easton doesn't respect the accomplishments of women as much as it does the accomplishments of men. sure. no problem. while we're at it, i guess we should all just stop fighting for equal pay for equal work, and start faking orgasms again.

Anonymous said...

Sal Panto says:

"let's give them ALL a day. Chanelle Price Day, Abbey Shaffer Day, why not?"

In 2008 along with Ms. Jeanne Brown and I organized the "Greats of Eight" in Centre Square. It was a great day with representatives from Forks and Palmer Township here as well to honor their outstanding scholar-athletes. This class had not only 8 great athletes but 8 excellent students as well. They were honored for their ability to not only devote time to their chosen sport but also to the most important part of school - their education.

There is no doubt that each of these young ladies will be honored at some point. I have followed Chanelle's career but was not aware of the accomplishments of Abbey.

Saturday is the result of many individuals who called me to ask for a celebration for Jordan. But these two fine young ladies are equally deserving. Their time will come I am sure.

Town heroes are an important part of any small town where everyone knows everyone. These young athletes are a role model for so many of our youth, just as Larry Holmes and Bobby Weaver were to Jordan. Highlighting the positive accomplishments of youth members of our city is rare, we normally only read about the ones in trouble. This is an opportunity to showcase the good.

I am more than interested in a celebration for Abbey or Chanelle for the same reasons Jordan, Bobby and Larry had a celebration -- excellent role models and they deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Geeze, over react much??

Please re-read the above post.

Nowhere does it say to pipe down, roll over, etc.

Of course everyone respects what these young ladies accomplished and how they continue to excel in class and in their athletic pursuits.

And they did get press and recognition for their accomplishments. And they received the most important thing, above and beyond all of the cheering, a free college education.

And so he gets a day named for him. Do you really think that on April 9, 2012 everyone in Easton will remember it's Jordan Oliver day. It's ONE DAY.

How someone can spin something so negative from this is beyond my comprehension. I can assure you I won't respond to any more of this ridiculous nonsense.

noel jones said...

Mayor Panto, thanks for posting--I'm glad you intend to honor these young women--after all, our girls in Easton needs positive role models as much as our boys do.

Anon, you apparently suffer from the opinion that a woman taking someone to the mat for saying things like "Try to put away your bias and hope for everything to be equal" is a negative thing.

I know plenty of good dads out there with daughters who want to see their girls honored by this community as much as the boys in their classes. And plenty of moms who want to see their daughters treated with more respect than they were when they were girls.

Chanelle Price and Abbey Shaffer have brought Easton positive national attention and are great examples to other Easton kids, and we should all appreciate them for it...and Jordan Oliver too. I hope the weather warms up for his parade this weekend.

Anonymous said...

"Try to put away your bias and hope for everything to be equal for a moment and realize that because of the following that amateur wrestling has in this area, that a national wrestling title carries a bit more weight."

Above is a quote from my post. I was refering to the sport of wrestling being more popular. Read it again, it has NOTHING to do with being bias against women and/or what they might accomplish on an athletic field or off.

I have ZERO bias against women and resent being made out to be some mysoginistic creep. My point remains the same. Wrestling is a very poular sport in this area. That is the probable reason that Jordan's accomplishment received more attention.

YOU made my post into something it is not, bringing up things like faking orgasms, equal pay, etc.

I'm actually ashamed of myself for wasting so much time responding to your nonsense and actually taking the time to read your blog. I promise you none of that will happen again.

Anonymous said...

this is amazing that the city tries to recognize one of its own and people find fault. Heck there is probably 100 others that deserve to b honored in some way for some achievement. And what's the fuss about a day in honor of Jordan? Does it get him any special priveleges? No its just a honor the mayor bestows. Let's worry about the big issues like 200 teachers being laid off or taxes going so high more poeple will lose their homes. More people will be homeless, hungry and all the other problems facing Americans today. this is just an opportunity for residents to feel warm and fuzzy for a short time.

noel jones said...

No worries, Anon--since you post "Anon," like most who are uncomfortable owning their words.

What "bias" then? You stuck your foot in it and didn't like the result. If you want to take your ball and go home, that's ok.

to the last Anon--either you're the same Anon, or you are someone who has jumped on and never read this blog before, otherwise you would know that we spend A LOT of time talking about the 215 teachers being threatened with firing, union disputes, fracking for natural gas, local elections, etc.

it's interesting that the mayor can post and have no problem saying that these girls are great and should be honored too, but the Anons come out of the woodwork to get upset with me for suggesting girls and boys should be honored equally, or no one should honored at all.

the mayor mentioned that the honor was in response to people calling him and requesting it--that's an interesting point, and more to my point that Easton is so crazy about boys sports that people will go out of their way to call the mayor to get a boy a parade and a special day named after him, when no one called in for the girls. or maybe the fans and supporters of the girls just never thought that anyone would be thrown a parade for such a thing. i know that it was a surprise to me.

so now that we are going to give parades to all Easton athletes who achieve national recognition, i hope that the parents and friends of female athletes in Easton will start calling the city to request parades.

or maybe it's a better idea to honor the accomplishments of our youth in one-time group events, like the Greats of 8 event in 2008 that Mayor Panto mentioned...

Cathy said...

Noel, I liked your point list on what education needs to be for citizens living in a democracy.

Re: Name days and parades. Why not a parade every year to celebrate outstanding athletes and scholars of EASD. A parade down Northampton Street and around the circle would allow the community to come out and applaud. I am saying this with the utmost sincerity and would look forward to it. And yet, I must also say that it would be a first for many of us over-school-taxed property owners to actually SEE the children whose education is putting us into debt. I remember hearing parents at school board meetings say that if school programs are cut their kids will end up "on the streets of Easton." Whats wrong with being on the streets of your community? Many property owners have been working hard to improve this community. Most of us, if not actually ALL of us, appear to be over the age of 45. Yes to parades! but how about a yes to showing up and helping us? The justification for property owners paying taxes for education orginated in a community where the kids once lived, learned and stayed. There was a return on the tax dollar - it was an investment by the community in the community. Now the school isnt even in the community, rather EASD is its own "community." One that is happy to live off Easton property owners but kind of doesn't "get" that it owes us something in return.

noel jones said...

Cathy--that's an excellent idea. I hope the mayor will consider it--one annual parade to honor outstanding athletes and/or artists who also maintain academic excellence and are engaged in their community. The kids from the Freddies should be included in this. Why not one big day a year when the whole town comes out to applaud our most accomplished youth? Great idea.

Anonymous said...

Jordan Oliver just won the most difficult-to-win individual championship in collegiate athletics.

He deserves his parade...period.

Oliver is one of the best athletes we've ever had come from this area, and on top of it...he's a phenomenal kid.

I swear people will find reasons to complain about anything these days.

Rhouc said...

Anon 12:49 why do you so emphatically feel that your values (this particular sport) are more important then what others value (academics, service, art)?

You have a bullying tone. Are you proud of that?

Anonymous said...

You are asking for something that is already given. Each of the two young ladies you mentioned have already been recognized for their athletic achievements by being placed on the Easton wall of fame, as Jordan had been as well. Some accomplishments are greater than others and winning an NCAA wrestling title is a little more prestigious than a Division III pole vault title. I certainly do not want to take anything away from what Ms. Schaeffer has accomplished however you are not comparing apples to apples.

To say that Easton puts "too much emphasis on sports" is crazy. The education a high school student gets is dependent majorly on what that student and their family put into it. A student that finishes first in his or her class at Easton has just as many options as on that finishes in a similar position at any other school. I am a graduate of Easton High School and happen to perform very well in college and beyond based on the education I received at EAHS. I have a young daughter and my wife and I could have chosen to buy a home in any school district we wanted, but we decided to live in Easton because that is where we are from and that is where we want our daughter to go to school. The sense of community that exists at Easton is a very important characteristic of our town. Right, wrong, or indifferent this community has been built in large part based upon our success in athletics. There would not be an Easton-Pburg rivalry if it was not for the football teams in each community. I believe strongly that the experiences a high school athlete receives on the field are just as valuable as the ones they receive in the classroom. The same can be said for band, theater, or any other extracurricular program a child might decide to take part in.

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting that the mayor can post and have no problem saying that these girls are great and should be honored too, but the Anons come out of the woodwork to get upset with me for suggesting girls and boys should be honored equally, or no one should honored at all."

So your saying two wrongs would make a right? Apparently someone made and effort to have Jordon Oliver recognized in this way. Maybe just maybe if you and others would do the same..

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, I've read all these posts. Not one of them states that the girls shouldn't be honored.

Seems like the original author and some others need a lesson in reading comprehension.

noel jones said...

Anon 2:41--no, no one has come said it in that way, they are just protesting emphatically the fact that I brought the inequity up, which is the same thing. So as long as you're considering "reading comprehension," see if you can manage to take in tone, inference, omission, obfuscation, sarcasm, and any other number of nuances of reading comprehension that go beyond sounding out words and knowing their definitions.

Why do people enjoy getting so snarky? Your comment contributes no new points to the discussion.

Mike said...

Noel Jones, I agree that all these athletes deserve their day in the sun. However it seems to me that the Rosado family and the Easton Wrestling community did something about having a parade for one of our outstanding student athletes. Perhaps, instead of complaining about Jordan having a parade you should take the bull by the horns and step up. I nominate you to organize a parade for Channel and Abbey, I can assure you that the Easton wrestling community will be there.

noel jones said...

Rhouc--thanks for posting with a moniker.

Anon 1:16--no need to be Anonymous with points like these--you are speaking from experience and your opinion as someone who has grown up here and decided to raise your child in this district is valuable in this discussion.

It is absolutely ok to disagree with me and other readers on this blog, and everyone should feel confident owning their words.

I disagree with you about the honors already being given to these girls, as they have not gotten a parade or a day named after them, so it's different treatment for different athletes that have achieved national status.

Anon 12:49--you said:
"Jordan Oliver just won the most difficult-to-win individual championship in collegiate athletics. "

Harder than the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Award? Chanelle Price was selected from hundreds of thousands of athletes for both athleticism and scholarship.

Anonymous said...

And going off on a tangent and talking about faking orgasms isn't snarky?

And what have you contributed to an obvious celebration of a young man's accomplishment?

Just because some people called the mayors office asking if they could celebrate his accomplishment you twisted and turned it into some bias against someone or something else.

So.......using that logic, every time there is a parade, day, etc to honor someone or something whomever or whatever is left out, that has to be bias against some group, person, people, etc.

Why can't it just be a celebration for that one thing or person?

Do you or anyone else honestly believe that anyone thinks what these young ladies have accomplished isn't worthy of a parade or celebration just because they are female?

Have you contacted their families?

Maybe they'd rather not have that sort of thing. Or maybe they would. And if they would, do you honestly think they'd be denied because of their gender?

As a previous poster mentioned, this being such a hot bed for wrestling contributed to this. Why would that bother you? It's a popular sport in this part of the country. Go to a local wrestling match some time and experience for yourself.

noel jones said...

Mike--thanks for posting with your name.

This suggestion falls under the "don't criticize the people getting paid to handle these things unless you're willing to do the job yourself for free." Which has never made sense to me, but it seems to be a prevalent attitude in Easton.

As the city has organized for Oliver, the city can organize for Price, Shaffer and other athletes, if this is what the city is going to start doing. I am doing what I can by raising awareness for these young women here, but do not have free time to run around organizing parades for people. There are people getting paid to do that (with taxpayer dollars) apparently.

I would much rather see one annual event that honors all athletes, artists and scholars from our school district who have achieved national status each year. We have too many great kids coming out of Easton each year to honor each individually with a parade. I wasn't suggesting two extra parades seriously--it was my way of saying "what's good for the goose is good for the gander," or that male and female students should be respected equally for their accomplishments.

I think Cathy's idea for one event is a great one.

noel jones said...

Anon 4:45--you must be the same Anon from earlier as you are misusing the term "bias" again. You never answered the first time what "bias" you are referring to.

And yes, suggesting we all go back to faking orgasms too, is snarky. There's only so much snark that can get tossed out before it starts coming back.

I have said from the beginning that I congratulate Oliver and we should all be proud of him--to suggest otherwise is a mischaracterization and obfuscation of the points presented. Something the other Anon might be able to grasp this time around when he takes a swipe at "reading comprehension." Oops. I'm getting snarky again...

I like the post of from the former student who lives here now and is raising his kid here. We disagree but he managed to rely on the strength of his points, rather than getting upset with me for having a differing opinion, or wasting a comment trying to insult me for expressing it. Although he did refer to my point of view as "crazy"...I will assume this was simply an expression of his passionate support for the wrestling program ; ) At least he knows how to debate effectively.

Please y'all--take a moniker if you're too scared to post your names. At least then it's easier to follow the thread. But really--what's the harm in standing by your words if you believe in what you're saying? And if you don't, why say it at all?

I think everyone has made their points here--I'm content to let this one rest.

Anonymous said...

I agree, taking a moniker certainly makes it easier to follow points of view and who's posting them.

But it doesn't reveal who they are in real life, unless the moniker is a full name, like yours.

Anonymous said...

Is Cuvo going to be at the parade?? He was a 2 x national champ and it'd be a nice gesture for him to be there and celebrate!! Did he have a parade in the '80's??

noel jones said...

Good question--if the mayor is still reading, maybe he can let us know...

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the young ladies from Easton. There were probably 104 people who saw Abbey win her national title. There were over 104,000 that saw Jordan. And at $150.00 per ticket average, versus free entry to watch any girls track and field event. There is no common ground here. Thank you Noel Jones for brining the young ladies to our attention. (not that i needed it, Price lives next to my father) but reality is this, bring in money , get attention. Girls sports do not bring in money to any school. Unless you are Stanford Girls basketball, or Connecticut Girls basketball, it really doesn't show up on the radar. It doesn't take away from what they have done in anyway. Chanelle Price will be an Olympian, and she will represent our counrty very well in the near future. We will have many parades for her down the line i am sure. Both girls make us very proud, as do many other girls in the school, but our wrestling and football teams are on the national radar every year, that's why there is so much attention paid to them.

wrestling fan said...

They had a parade for Bobby Weaver when he won an Olympic gold medal.

But that was probably just because he was a male athlete. If it was a female athlete and won 10 gold medals Easton and everybody else would ignore it.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the City of Easton in recognizing Mr. Oliver's achievements, and would hope they would do the same for the two female student-athletes you mention, but only if they were actually Easton residents. If they do not live in the City of Easton, then I believe their Township, or maybe the School District should be responsible. I do not think the City of Easton should spend time/money organizing an event for non-residents. Now, if they are residents (and I do not know if they are or not) then the City should look at ways to recognize them as well.

Rising Sun said...

If I may, I am a big wrestling fan, ex-wrestler, and an ex-track runner, and Moravian grad. Jordan deserves his parade, so do they. A couple of things though:

-There have not always been two junior high wrestling teams. I went through between 1996-1998 in junior high, we had one.

-It's not any harder or more impressive to win an NCAA wrestling title than it is to win a track title. It's really, really hard to do both. Don't try to draw false, unnecessary distinctions, to those who have.

-Wrestling is more popular in this town, and Jordan is possibly the best athlete in this sport that the town loves, ever.

As I said above though, I'd love to see them all get parades. I think the national success of our great athletes should be used as one more example of why we shouldn't destroy our athletics programs to balance the budget. These kids are doing the town proud. The teachers, administrators, and board, should look at more ways to handle their problems. The state, and our governor in particular, should be more creative in his cuts.

noel jones said...

Rising Sun--thanks for posting--good points

skinnerman3 said...

In my next post is the letter that I sent to the Mayor the Monday following Jordan's championship. This was followed up by many phone calls to his office supporting my request for a public celebration. You will find that my request was not just for the championship, it was also for the meaning and inspiration of accomplishment and hope for the community and citizens of Easton...Jordan was simply the ambassador to the message.

skinnerman3 said...

Hi Mayor Panto…

As a lifelong Eastonian and Easton Wrestling fan, I am proposing a parade to recognize Jordan Oliver’s accomplishment of a National Title as part of the MOOSE initiative by your office.

Jordan has been an inspiration to many through his years at Easton High School. The buzz surrounding this young man has never ceased, and he has single handedly brought Easton to national recognition in his sport. Over the past few weeks, the buzz regarding his National Title has been stirring everywhere that I have been. Even people that do not follow the sport entered the conversations. This is certainly an uplifting and motivation for not only the entire city, but the entire Lehigh Valley area.

As a previous teacher and Mayor of this great city, I imagine you can completely appreciate the passion and intensity that we have for our sports…especially wrestling and football. Jordan not only exemplifies the persona of Easton, he has achieved the goal of success that we all dream of. This would not only provide an opportunity for the citizens and fans to celebrate his accomplishment, but also act as a motivation to the youngsters in our community. Seeing someone local that is a good person and student accomplish the goals that they set out to at a national level and be recognized for it at home would inspire kids to work hard and succeed. I have been bringing my five year old son to matches since he was six weeks old. He grew up watching Jordan, and I have used this as a teaching tool to let him know that any accomplishment is achievable if you work hard at it.

I apologize if I have rambled through my plea, but I am passionately in favor of having such an event in Easton. I see so many sad stories in the news and would love to see the greatest city in the country celebrate as one…not just for Jordan’s accomplishment of a National Title, but also what it represents to the people of our prideful community…an uplifting, inspirational sense of hope for success and accomplishment.

Jordan certainly deserves this for his accomplishments over the past six or seven years…he carried Easton in his hands and the Lehigh Valley on his back this weekend while earning his title. Now it is time to give something back to him.

Thank you for your consideration…

Sincerely,
Richard Ehrhardt

skinnerman3 said...

Noel,
While I completely agree with your assessment that each successful student and/or Easton citizen should be recognized, the reality is that it is not possible to do so at a city wide level. Just as with anything in life, we naturally look to where the light is shining. In other words football, wrestling, and boys athletics will typically stand out...not necessarily because of the school district or local officials, but because of popularity within the community...hence where the light shines.

Believe me, in no way am I taking anything away from these girls or any other student achievements. The school, district, and community have various avenues of recognition for each event. Any recognition outside of the norm typically comes from public opinion or initiation. Unfortunately that does not transpire into equality across the board and often generates debate any unrest of some.

Life is not equal, and sometimes our passion is not necessarily the passion of the majority. In this case, there were many requests made to honor Jordan. These came from people like myself that were outsiders to the system...simply looking to have a public recognition to a young man for not only his athletic accomplishments but for his positive impact on the community, his peers, and his sport.

Why not have parades for these young girls? Good question. My suggestion to you is to gather other individuals that will support your sentiment, document found reasoning for the public recognition, and pursue your goal through the available channels. If there is public and community support, I am sure that you will be successful.

I wish you luck in your pursuit...I will always support the recognition of greatness, athletically or other as long as it is accomplished by good people and done so in the correct manner. While Easton does have a heightened passion for Football and Wrestling, I do not agree that it is necessarily unhealthy. These sports are prioritized based on popularity, just as with anything in life. Easton School District pushes for participation in all activities, not just boy’s athletics. Does greater public interest transpire into an unhealthy environment? I don't believe so. We do not know enough of the determining factors on the decisions that are made. What financial impact do these sports have on the school? Are the funds shared across all sports? How much is funded by the school per activity, and how much is raised externally through boosters or fund raising events? What are the statistics of interest level in the activities that are cut?

As a parent of children that will enter the Easton School District I feel confident that the correct decisions will be made, and that there is an available forum within the system for parents or citizens that disagree to express their opinions. I will teach my children to pursue the activities of choice, dedicate themselves to whatever they do, and support them in their journey. Athletics, art, music, whatever they choose...I will teach them to reach for the stars and dream their dreams, but not to expect that the scales of equality will ever truly be balanced...that is not human nature and must be understood. Football, wrestling, and boy’s athletics will most likely rule our community for some time, but it is each citizen's right and to diplomatically attempt to attempt to tip the scales in their direction. The realization is that it may not happen... sometimes accomplishment is in the fruit of the efforts, not in the results.

Congratulations to Jordan for his well deserved recognition as a great young man and community role model. The Easton community spoke, and accordingly the Mayor listened. This is what makes our system of democracy so great...the voice of the people and the ability for those voices to be heard.

Good Luck in Your Pursuit!

Rich