Letters, Monday, August 20th, 2012

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Don’t give me a sporting chance

SO the Olympic legacy is to be more sport in schools. This overlooks the fact that for many children, school sports are a nightmare.

The overweight kids, the butter fingers who can’t catch a ball, the shy ones who don’t want to go in the showers, those who can’t run for whom cross country races are a sadistic torture.

Not only was I useless at games, but I had a bully of a PE master who treated me like a punch bag.

There’s the humiliation of always being picked last for someone’s footy team, even if it was my best mate, he still considered me hopeless. It didn’t matter that I knew all the rulers of England from Aldred the Cake to Lizzie Windsor, or that I was bound for university, I was a moron out on that field.

Whenever I hear of a child having a serious accident in games lessons, I remember the time I got a smack on the head from a cricket ball. From that I learned that cricket is a game where the ball is to be avoided at all costs. Try to catch it? You must be joking.

I recall a rugby match where Big Mick came thundering towards me on the try line. “Tackle him” everyone shouted. I neatly sidestepped him and waved my arms about while he scored. After all, I argued, I come to school to acquire the knowledge and skills to make me an economically viable unit in our capitalist society, not end up in Accident and Emergency. “You just lost us the match” our captain accused me. “On yeah? What about the other 14 in the team?”

The ethos of Victorian public schools was “Mens sana in corpore sano”. Echo readers who studied Latin will know this means will know this means: We honour those who excel at sports, not in the classroom.

Yes, Lord Coe, sports lessons are character-building. As you can see, I grew up a well-balanced individual with no anger or resentment.

Jim Ridler, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Visionary hope

World Vision, a charity I support, has recently published a report stating that millions of people in West Africa are now living through a permanent food crisis, putting a generation of children at risk of death and disability from malnutrition.

Drought and hunger can be slow, silent destroyers of childhoods and trap communities in a seemingly everlasting hunger cycle, but it is clear there are no quick fixes.

World Vision is trying to break the hunger cycle by working with local governments and communities to put in place long-term plans to help families prepare for the future and running appeals to raise money and awareness.

The money raised in World Vision’s West Africa appeal will help families today, tomorrow and the day after. I encourage everyone to support their work, find our more and get involved in an attempt to break this deadly hunger cycle. Doing this before August 31 will also mean every pound donated will be matched by the UK government, making every gift go twice as far.

Mrs Patricia Janes, Fulwell Road, Sunderland

Make it a fair cop

IN November we will be asked to vote in the important election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for the Northumbria Police area. I had hoped the debate would be a positive and honest one based around the respective plans of the candidates. However it has not got off to a good start.

Already Labour is reverting to the scare stories and alarmist claims they used in the local elections, unfortunately with some success.

In the St Chad’s Ward, Labour delivered leaflets claiming “front line policing slashed. Steepest rise in crime rates for over a decade”.

Meanwhile, senior police officers are at pains to stress and have done so in briefings, that they now have more front line officers operating and crime is falling.

If Labour can show that the senior police officers are wrong, let them prove it. If not, let us have the type of honest debate this election deserves.

Keith O’Brien, St Chad’s Crescent, Middle Herrington

Could it be magic?

I’M 62 and to keep myself on my toes, I’ve been making things out of cardboard.

My hobby is magic tricks, I love magic. I’m getting into the way of making my own tricks like Temple Clock Tower Production Tricks. Other production tricks that I’ve made are box production, ghost tube trick. That one I’ve made from a Bisto gravy box. The best for last is the famous production trick, the square circle production, and now I am making Blofeld’s volcano from You Only Live Twice. For that I’m waiting to get replies from libraries by photo printouts of the inside of the volcano.

I’m starting to make Little Nellie the Giro Copter. This is my sixth attempt and I’m putting this on the back seat for the time being. Another I’m making is also from You Only Live Twice. It’s the helmet that Bond wears with a camera on it. This is just one of my few hobbies.

Edwin Robinson, Zetland Square, Sunderland