CHEERS to all the volunteer baseball officials and coaches throughout our region who are just embarking on a new season of youth tryouts, practices and games. The emphasis here is on the word “volunteer.” These extraordinary individuals don’t get paid for their labors and aggravation, except in the satisfaction they derive from giving hundreds of kids a chance to learn and have fun. And who knows — maybe one of them in 10,000 will learn the lessons well enough and have sufficient talent to wind up in the big leagues. Many of these volunteers are attracted to the avocation by virtue of having a child in one of the leagues. Many, though, are inspired just by the opportunity to help youngsters have fun and pick up, we hope, the fundamentals of sportsmanship and the value of working as a team.
And, while we’re at it, we’ll remind spectators again that the stress in watching these sports should be on encouraging the players to enjoy themselves while learning some worthwhile lessons for life — the emphasis is not and should not be on winning at all cost. If the umpire makes a disagreeable call, or even a plainly wrong call, it’s very bad form to argue and shout derisively. Most of these umpires are paid a small amount — surely not enough to be subjected to open hostility over a ball/strike or out/safe decision in a children’s or teenagers’ game. Let the kids bask in the enjoyment of their game and give the coaches and officials their measure of satisfaction for the good that they’re doing.
JEERS to people who don’t clean up after their dogs in Burlington’s waterfront park. On a recent visit, one of our editors noticed that the grassy area there is disgustingly littered with decomposing canine feces that detracts greatly from the beautiful grounds and view of Lake Champlain. Burlington has an ordinance that requires dog owners scoop poop and also promotes a Scoop the Poop Campaign aimed at raising awareness about the health risks connected with dog droppings and runoff into the lake. Thousands of dogs are registered in the city, and it’s clear many enjoy the park — though their owners clearly don’t appreciate the space enough to keep it clean. Why does the Press-Republican in Plattsburgh care about that park across the lake? We include Burlington events in our arts section, and many from here visit that city. We wish dog owners there would remember that others walk and even picnic on the waterfront — please make it a habit to scoop the poop.
— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at firstname.lastname@example.org.