Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on recent sports articles.

To the Sports Editor:

Re “Glory to Georgia, in a Northern Accent,” Jan. 8: You reported that the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” originally implored, “Let us die to make men free.” But it’s important to note that Americans no longer buy that counterproductive martial fatalism. As Gen. George S. Patton famously put it: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” That’s why singers of the “Battle Hymn” now frequently rise up to healthy revisionism: “Let us live to make men free.”

Steven T. Corneliussen

Poquoson, Va.

Lessons From Figure Skating

To the Sports Editor:

Re “Nathan Chen Leads Olympic Figure Skating Team; Ross Miner Is Bumped,” Jan. 7: At a moment when Tonya Harding, triple Axels, and the sport’s elitism permeate popular discourse, Jeré Longman’s poignant piece seems timely indeed.

As a longtime competitive figure skater and a university English professor, I find Longman’s article relevant to one of my current college courses, “American Sports Stories,” which looks to literature and culture to reflect upon the relationship between art and sport.

Longman makes the persuasive point that, while figure skating is not without bias, the current International Judging System strives for the “right balance between athleticism and artistry.” Similarly, humanities professors work to design rubrics that quantify more subjective disciplines like literature and writing.

Longman’s article reinforces the valuable life lessons that can emerge from the world of figure skating. These lessons enhance my work to prepare students for a 21st century world, which, despite its increasing reliance on numbers, is largely unquantifiable.

Cara Erdheim Kilgallen

Trumbull, Conn.

The writer is an assistant professor of English at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

To the Sports Editor:

Members of the selection committee of U.S. Figure Skating need to get their heads out of the snow and have the top finishers in the national championships qualify for the Olympics and world championships.

Judging the merits of these athletes’ performances is arbitrary enough, but to then use an even more nebulous formula to determine who should represent their country is absolutely unfair to the competitors, their families, and coaches.

Ross Miner’s performance was amazing and inspiring and should have placed him on the Olympic team. His coach was on point that U.S. Figure Skating manipulates the system to choose its own favorites.

U.S. Figure Skating would have us believe that its committee can predict future performance when there are too many stories of previously unrecognized athletes who achieve greatness against all odds. These athletes deserve the chance to become Olympians to compete just like those who qualify by placing at the championships of swimming, track and field, and other disciplines. In sports we know too well that “on any given day … ”

John Bonacorsi

St. Petersburg, Fla.