Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7: Sniglets On Helen Thomas, Baby Boomers, Sportsmanship and John Wooden

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Where to start......

Start with Helen Thomas, whose stellar career of more than a half-century as a journalist covering the White House ended with comments that were at least, misguided and at most, anti-Semitic.

Thomas has retired, undoubtedly under pressure from Hearst, her most recent employer, after statements last week to - ironically, at a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House - that Israel "should get the hell out of Palestine" and that Jews should "go home" to Germany, Poland, America "and everywhere else."

Thomas, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, had broken gender barriers and, in these eyes, had always demonstrated fairness and professionalism in her coverage of the White House. Who knows what made her cross this line?

The fact that she did - and the result - are tragic.


The press coverage that has followed the separation of former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, has suggested that Baby Boomers are seeking something else later in life, etc., when they part, and that's a good thing.

Here's a Generation X-er with parents married more than 57 years (kina hora) with a somewhat different view: It's giving up. It's throwing in the towel. It's saying you're not interested in the long haul.

If that's the way the Baby Boomers really think - that impermanence and "whatever feels good" are productive ways to live - maybe it is time for some different ideas. Theirs seem to be ruining everything from the environment, politics and business to family life.


The Poor Sport of the week is Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. Boo to him for taking unsold tickets from the May 29 game against the Phillies - the one in which Roy Halliday of the Phillies pitched a perfect game against the Marlins - and selling them at face value so he can tweak the Marlins' profits and attendance figures.

Bud Selig, the man who occupies the commissioner's office, should have called Loria out on that. It's basically a legal form of scalping. And it sure isn't in the best interests of baseball, sportsmanship or the Marlins' efforts to gain fans.


Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, Tigers (and former Marlins) manager Jim Leyland and umpire Jim Joyce win the Great Sports of the week award.

Joyce botched a call at first base in the Tigers-Cleveland Indians game last Tuesday, officially costing Galarraga a perfect game. To his credit, Joyce admitted the mistake. To their credit, Galarraga and Leyland reacted with grace.

Should instant replay have been a factor? Perhaps it's time for Selig to consider expanding the technology to situations where something like a perfect game is on the line.


Speaking of sportsmanship, John Wooden, who died at age 99 last Friday, had it in droves - as well as intelligence and integrity. It was more important to Wooden for the basketball players he led at UCLA - who included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor in school) and Bill Walton - to be good men, rather than champion athletes.

The New York Times obituary of Wooden indicates that he carried a piece of paper from his father that read: "Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day."

Fine advice, taken by a fine gentleman.

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