Regarding “Is ending kids’ tackle football the answer?” (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 12): The essayists list their considerable credentials to bring authority to make their case. They are correct when they infer that “scientific proof” is lacking to absolutely link tackle football to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But then they shed their professionalism and take an editorial posture. Tackle football as a remedy for the sedentary lifestyle of American youth? Really? How about low-risk sports such as running, swimming or baseball? Tackle football “is the number one participation sport among high schoolers in America.” Really? Half of the high schoolers in America (girls) don’t participate. They speculate that children might seek “risk-taking behaviors if football were not an option.” Really? (Would the opioid epidemic be worse, were it not for tackle football?)
I will engage in a little editorializing myself. Despite lacking definitive scientific evidence, common sense tells me that two bodies weighing 250 pounds, hurling themselves at each other repeatedly, can’t be head-healthy — notwithstanding protective headgear. Additionally, tackle football is a violent sport. It appeals to our darker instincts — like boxing.
It is my hope that a century after the discontinuation of tackle football, historians will look back at this bizarre activity — much as we look back at the Roman gladiatorial circus.
Richard Masur, M.D., Minneapolis
The writer is a retired general surgeon.
Minnesota skier Diggins is also a champion for saving our snow
Like many of you, I have been glued to my TV and computer following the Olympics and the great Star Tribune coverage of our home-state hero Jessie Diggins from tiny Afton (“After taking sixth in cross-country sprint race, Jessie Diggins primed for best medal chance on Thursday,” StarTribune.com, Feb. 13). Her story is one of grit, determination and inspiration to do something that our country has not done before: win a women’s cross-country medal. The other piece about Jessie not as well-known is her fierce determination to save her sport and winter from the ravage of warming and shorter winters. Have you noticed the brown hills surrounding the cross-country venue in Pyeongchang, South Korea?
In a recent interview, Jessie was asked, “What do you say to those who say, ‘You’re just an athlete, stay in your lane’ ”? Her response: “I’m also someone who lives on this planet. I think you need to be able to stand up for things you believe in, and saving winter is something I believe in.”
Solving this problem is requiring all of us to ask the question: What’s my role in keeping Minnesota cold and snowy? It’s a matter of regional identity, and every day more and more people from all walks of life are taking action. Asking the question of ourselves and our elected officials is essential. Action now saves money and recovery efforts tomorrow.
Thank you, Jessie, for lighting the fire of pride and patriotism in the Bold North. You have three races left. Bring home a medal and the real prize: a future of skiing on real snow and keeping winters cold and snowy.
Paul Thompson, Edina
The writer is founder of Cool Planet Skiers and a regional coordinator for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
TRUMP AND FEDERAL SPENDING
About that infrastructure plan and those work requirements ...
President Donald Trump’s plan to pay for new roads, bridges, waterways and other public works projects includes $200 billion in federal money, with the rest of the $1.5 trillion coming from the states, localities and the private sector (“Trump sends large infrastructure plan to Congress,” Feb. 13). That’s about the same amount of money that he gave to big corporations, which they do not really need.
Norman Holen, Richfield
• • •
So, Trump wants to institute work requirements in return for food stamps, housing subsidies, Medicaid and other federal programs (“Trump budget openly embraces red ink,” Feb. 13). According to businessinsider.com, Trump has spent 33 percent of his presidency at a Trump property and 25 percent of his time at one of his golf resorts. Perhaps we should institute a work requirement for being president.
Christopher Dobson, Hudson, Wis.
Universal preschool? First we need to target the neediest kids
The commentary “How the U can help improve early childhood education” (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 12) advocated for universal preschool education, regardless of family income.
That would be nice, if fiscally and politically feasible. However, subsidizing the 4-year-olds in all Minnesota families of all incomes would cost the state about $900 million per biennium. With state finances tight and many competing needs, that’s likely not a realistic possibility.
Given that state resources are limited, our leaders have to choose which Minnesota children to help first. Currently, about 35,000 low-income children under age 5 can’t access high-quality early education programs. These children must be our first priority, because they can’t access quality programs without help and they’re most at risk of falling into Minnesota’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gaps.
Ericca Maas, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director of Close Gaps by 5.
THE NATION’S GUN LAWS
What’s next for state reciprocity
Now there are people who want to have their state’s looser gun laws apply when they bring their guns into our state (“Tell the Senate to reject ‘concealed carry reciprocity,’ ” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 13).
So what’s next — allowing people to drive the higher speed limits of their home state while driving on our highways?
Jerry Leppart, Eden Prairie
More memories of Morningside
The Star Tribune article about Morningside’s Westgate Theater and brief history of that charming village brought back a wave of memories (“Reel stories: When a Twin Cities movie theater vanishes, it takes neighborhood history with it,” Streetscapes, Variety, Feb. 10). I grew up in St. Louis Park, on a street bordering Morningside. I’ll always remember the great films that the theater featured, especially British comedies. You mentioned “George,” the one-man Morningside police department. That would be George Weber, and it was “Mr. Weber” to everyone, especially us youngsters. The sight of his old Packard squad car informed us all that law and order were being maintained. I was “arrested” by Mr. Weber for giving Jimmy Ryan a ride on my bike’s handlebars! After a brief scolding, I was released. The hub of commercial activity was W. 44th Street and France Avenue S. Carlson’s Odd Shoppe, two barbers, Cheever’s, George Rhoady’s and the little luncheonette adjacent to the streetcar tracks. We’d spend hours there, perusing the comic-book rack.
Jerry Grehl, Harmony, Minn.
It’s ‘Midwest’ – just ask Dylan
I was surprised by the Feb. 13 letter writer’s assertion that before the 1990s, Minnesota was commonly held to be part of the Northwest (“When we were the Northwest,” Readers Write). I was alive before then and don’t remember ever hearing that. But I’ll defer to Bob Dylan, child of Hibbing and Duluth, whose 1964 song “With God on Our Side” contained the following lyric:
“The country I come from/Is called the Midwest.”
Paul Chillman, Richfield