A Murrayville resident shares his perspectives on the news of the day (Langley Advance Times)

A Murrayville resident shares his perspectives on the news of the day (Langley Advance Times)

LETTER: Langley letter writer says sad news reflects society after months of COVID

Looking through the page of the local newspaper gives resident pause

Dear Editor,

I was in journalism school when I first heard the famous quote from Earl Warren, former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

“I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishment; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.”

As a sports writer I used to hold this quote tight to my chest, thinking that the feel-good stories of the sporting world somehow provided more for our communities than just their entertainment value.

In the March 25, 2021, edition of the Langley Advance Times I was taken aback at the news in the first few pages.

The front-page story relayed updates to the government’s efforts to get COVID-19 shots to first responders.

But it turned dark after that.

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It wasn’t until page 14 that I saw something that triggered some optimism for me and my family.

Brent Larsen, a “parent and coach” and also former school trustee candidate, created an online petition to pressure the public health officer to let kids play organized sports games again.

While I have no illusions that this online petition, with a goal of only 700 signatures, will actually garner change, I am ecstatic to see other community-minded individuals standing up for the physical and mental health of our youth.

We are just recently starting to hear from major media that, perhaps, pandemic-related restrictions have had negative effects on the well-being of our children.

Sadly, this is something that has been known for a year, but was ignored in the government’s narrative, because of the tunnel vision of SARSCoV-2 mitigation. There is ample observational data to show that non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as closing businesses and restricting activities, do not significantly decrease respiratory disease transmission or infection rates.

However, there has been some optimism recently, with the public health officer hinting that children may be allowed to play meaningful games again, and I think a lot of parents and young athletes are crossing our fingers.

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Over the years I have grown more aloof to sports as entertainment, finding more joy in helping coach youth sports than watching the pros.

And that’s why I feel Earl Warren’s quote is as relevant as ever.

Let’s go to page 3 of the recent issue of the Advance Times. It’s filled with examples of vandalism.

Though there is absolutely no way for me to know, I’m going out on a limb and suggesting these may be related to the way we’ve isolated our youth over the past year and given them minimal activity outside of school and home.

Our kids have energy they need to burn, and if not guided towards character-building activities, well, most people reading this have been teenagers themselves, or raised them too, so you know what a lack of direction can do to a young mind and idle hands.

Perhaps, now more than ever, we need sports in our community, because it will help keep the pages of our newspaper free of “man’s failures.”

Alex Joehl, Murrayville

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