Letters to the Editor

Sandy Tillman

Coaching is a thankless job

We were saddened by the school board’s decision to not renew the high school girls basketball coach’s contract and the dismissal of a coach with 20 years experience and a consistent winning record. While we have no knowledge of the conflicts that moved some parents to write letters criticizing this coach, we are well acquainted with Vashon’s culture in youth sports. This is such a thankless job, we are amazed when anyone is willing to coach, much less be dedicated to turning out a winning team.

High school sports require discipline, teamwork and adherence to rules. Winning teams are produced by challenging players to reach their potential while working toward a common goal. It is a shame that the response to this conflict resulted in losing this talented coach.

There is a very instructive booklet by Bruce E. Brown titled “The Role of Parents in Athletics” about parents who find themselves solving their child’s athletic-related problems and how this robs young people of the opportunity of learning how to resolve those problems. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been an invited speaker at Vashon about the appropriate role for parents of athletes. 

Brown tells us that the ultimate responsibility for taking action should be with the player.  Another consequence of parent involvement in coaching is scaring off potential coaches. In a small community, we see what could happen to others if a harsh word is spoken to a player.

The value of team sports and the lessons learned on the playing fields will teach our kids what it means to have others count on you for results. We do our kids a disservice by not preparing them for competition, and we ought to be better role models at conflict resolution.

Rita Santiago-Allman

Tillman made a difference

It saddens us to think that Sandy Tillman will no longer coach girls basketball at Vashon High School (VHS). Between the two of us we spent almost 10 years with Sandy as our basketball coach, and now, almost five and seven years after playing high school basketball for Sandy, we consider it one of the most valuable and influential parts of our high school experiences. 

Sandy spent hours upon hours in the gym not only for VHS but in support of Vashon Island Junior Basketball (VIJB), molding and coaching players to achieve their potential. She always coached with passion and inspiration, constantly pushing us to fulfill our potential on and off the court with a commitment that will never be replaced.

Sandy’s enthusiasm and loyalty to the success of Vashon basketball are something we will always cherish. Sandy in-spires camaraderie in her players and demands a high level of performance from them, which we often found unmatched in other girls sports at VHS. Throughout college we also found that our high school experience was unique to Vashon and Sandy Tillman.  She organized trips, fundraisers and dinners all to benefit her players and Vashon girls basketball.

From Sandy’s hours spent with VIJB to the countless hours at the high school, she truly knows what it means to be a coach. Because of her, our high school basketball experience is something we will never forget.

Alice Serko (Class of 2003) and Lorean Serko (Class of 2001)

VES gym

Old gym holds a lot of memories

“Hey, Mom. Don’t let them tear down the old gym; it was my salvation when I was in middle school. There were dances and movies on the weekend, and the indoor space was well used and appreciated. You must preserve this building!”

So relates my 36-year-old daughter who went through her angst-filled early teens here on Vashon in the 1980s. She reminded me that the old gym was a haven for kids on this Island, especially for younger teens without a lot of other options — i.e., driving a car. She remembers fondly the gatherings of friends there and the wonderful programs made available for kids her age.

There is an effort afloat to save the old gym (once part of Vashon Elementary School, which has been torn down). If you have stories of your use there and fond memories of activities within, please contact me by e-mail at kdbunnell@hotmail.com or call me at 463-5631.

Katie Bunnell

Glacier Northwest

Glacier should restore Portage

I propose that glacier Northwest undertake a benevolent posture by assuming a substantial percentage of the cost (some say user fee) of restoring Portage to an open channel. This requires a bridge, road revision work, bulkheads, etc. Then nature could clean out and return our harbor to a pre-connected more pristine state.

The main commercial user of Portage is Glacier Northwest, other than occasional Engels or Country Club deliveries. The most obvious footprint is traffic, road deterioration, pollution and noise.

I also propose that Island companies and work forces (architects, construction companies, planners, etc.) be used for this project. We have the best! Also Glacier be given the contract (at a discount) to provide sand, gravel, cement and needed supplies for this project. We could save a lot — less pollution, less traffic and more goodwill — by including Glacier in this project.

Fix Portage. Cleanse the harbor. Let Glacier give back to the community. This is probably too simple and transparent for politicians, lobbyists, cronies, et al. It’s just a morning-coffee, kitchen-table plan to save the world.

Scott Strong

Glacier’s taxes should go up, too

All Vashon property owners are as shellshocked as I am, with our 2008 land value assessment increase from the King County assessor — increases in the 100 percent to 200 percent range! I believe in fair and true taxation.

I would like to know from the county assessor why one of our largest landowners, Glacier Northwest, which owns some of the largest waterfront property on the Island, has no increase in land value for their property assessment.

Glacier not only poses the largest single threat to Vashon’s natural resources, it now also appears that fair and true taxation does not apply to all landowners on Vashon.

Steven J. Geringh

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