Youth sports officials are targets of harassment and disrespect. It needs to stop.

Youth sports officials are targets of harassment and disrespect. It needs to stop.

I, along with so many other people, love playing sports. Throughout my childhood, playing youth sports was the one constant. I learned teamwork and leadership skills that have shaped me into the person I am today.

But there’s a danger facing all youth sports right now that, if not rectified soon, could lead to its death as we know it: the shortage of youth sports officials due to abuse from parents, players and coaches.

I have seen more abuse instances than I can count, as I’m in my 10th season as a USA Hockey official. I’ve had water bottles thrown at me, people following me to the parking lot and even people threatening my family.

While the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois and USA Hockey have implemented zero tolerance policies, it has not done enough to curb the abuse we officials face.

Just as a bystander watching age 10 and under games, I’ve seen parents, with a beer in hand, going ballistic at officials who are just 14 to 16 years old. Coaches also throw tantrums, directing their anger at these young kids. Then, there are the players. I’ve had 12-year-old kids telling me I “f—king suck.” The respect for authority has completely disappeared.

SEND LETTERS TO: To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

These issues are destroying the retention numbers of youth sports officials, leaving fewer and fewer people sticking around long enough to reach the higher levels. This pushes the inexperienced officials to games they are unqualified for, and leaves the lower-level games without officials.

With unqualified officials on higher-level games, the risk of dangerous plays going uncalled increases, alongside the risk of harm to the players. Then the lower-level games just don’t get played, and our kids can’t play the sports they love. And too many instances of officials quitting on the spot or not returning for a second season is killing youth sports as we know it.

I want the next generation of athletes to make lifelong friends, build essential life skills and physical wellness like I did. If we continue on this path of abusing officials, youth sports as we know it will die.

Alex Crowe, Aurora

Misconceptions about right-to-die legislation

As a physician, I feel it is critical to address inaccuracies and unsubstantiated concerns cited in a recent op-ed about medical aid in dying legislation that is pending here in Illinois. It is medically incorrect to equate suicide by people with unresolved mental health issues with mentally capable, terminally ill adults (not children), who typically have exhausted all treatment options for an incurable disease and just want the option to peacefully end unbearable suffering in the last days of their lives.

U.S. medical aid in dying laws are not comparable to Canada’s euthanasia law, which does not require self-administering the medication and is not limited to mentally capable, terminally ill adults. The Illinois End-of-Life Options for Terminally Ill Patients Act includes a dozen safeguards modeled after the practice of medical aid in dying over the last quarter century in 10 U.S. states. In each of those states, there has never been a single substantiated case of the practice involving coercion, including people living with disabilities.

For example, a Journal of Medical Ethics report about the Oregon Death with Dignity Act concluded: “Rates of assisted dying in Oregon… showed no evidence of heightened risk for the elderly, women, the uninsured … people with low educational status, the poor, the physically disabled or chronically ill, minors, people with psychiatric illnesses including depression, or racial or ethnic minorities, compared with background populations.”

In addition, a federal court recently dismissed a lawsuit claiming California’s revised medical aid in dying law, which reduced its waiting period from 15 days to 48 hours, coerces people with disabilities into using this option. The ruling concluded: “… a terminally ill patient’s decision to request aid-in-dying medication — and accordingly, to not participate in or seek the benefits of other public health services — is voluntary.”

Finally, there is no financial incentive for insurers to coerce patients into utilizing medical aid in dying, because they already stopped receiving expensive, extensive or intensive treatment, and typically are enrolled in relatively inexpensive hospice care. That’s why a New England Journal of Medicine study concluded there are no substantial cost savings for choosing medical aid in dying over other end-of-life care options. The legislation specifically prohibits insurers from denying or altering health care benefits based on aid in dying care.

That’s why I proudly support the Illinois End-of-Life Options for Terminally Ill Patients Act.

Diane Schaar, M.D., Burr Ridge

Bears, Sox owners should leave taxpayers alone

The McCaskeys and Reinsdorfs once again have their hands out looking to hard-working Illinoisans and Chicagoans to subsidize their multi-million dollar enterprises. I am against cronyism and corporate welfare, but these two take the cake. Worst of all, they do not need our assistance (for which we get nothing in return) to build their fantasyland entertainment districts. Whatever money a politician would offer them would be better spent on small businesses, which truly form the engine of our economy.

Let the Bears and Sox take on the risk themselves, and they can keep all the profits from the marks paying 10 bucks for a squishy hot dog and 15 smackers for a flat beer after they’re in for several hundred just to get a good seat at the new parks. No tax dollars should be used to line any McCaskey and Reinsdorf pockets.

Adam Price, Wheaton

Source link

News Sports