Lasting lessons

I don't know what coach John Thompson, of Georgetown, said to his players after their unexpected loss to Villanova in the NCAA championship game. But the camera, which often captures some ugly emotions in the heat of athletic competition, offered some hints. His players' faces registered the agony of defeat. One memorable camera shot (not more than a few seconds) showed Thompson settling his players down on their bench, pacing almost at a Massamino clip in front of them -- something one rarely sees him do, even in the heat of a game. Perhaps two minutes later, there was another camera shot, as the Villanova celebration was still at high noon of emotional intensity in center court. The Georgetown bench, with superstar Pat Ewing in the center, was applauding the conquerors in their unforgettable moment of glory! This was an incredible spectacle. John Thompson has always considered himself a teacher above all, like one of his legendary predecessors, John Wooden. But he doesn't teach only basketball; he teaches manners and grace under pressure. He teaches lessons that will last for the rest of the players' lives. The victor, Rollie Massamino, is cut out of the same mold. John V. Moen Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu

I strongly agree with Curtis J. Sitomer's column ``Teaching reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic with care -- not clout,'' March 21. I think the idea of corporal punishment in schools is appalling.

Victims must feel that they can't trust or confide in most teachers and administrators. Corporal punishment must make them feel degraded and shamed, and lead to a loss of pride and self-confidence. It will be harder for students to learn if this positive sense of themselves is damaged.

This abuse of students should not continue. Teachers and administrators should be able to discipline their students without violence. There are other ways to handle discipline problems: after-school detention, temporary suspension, or even cleaning up school grounds.

I hope the influence of POPS (People Opposed to the Paddling of Students) thrives. Sarah B. Lightfoot, age 13 Seattle

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