Letter: As a country, we need to learn from our mistakes

Posted 9/4/20

What do Vince Lombardi and Arturo Toscanini have in common? Lombardi was the revered football coach and Toscanini the great orchestra conductor. If you had attended their practice sessions and listen …

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Letter: As a country, we need to learn from our mistakes

Posted

What do Vince Lombardi and Arturo Toscanini have in common? Lombardi was the revered football coach and Toscanini the great orchestra conductor. If you had attended their practice sessions and listen to each one repeatedly lambasting his charges, you might well have wondered, “what does Lombardi have against his team?” or “what does Toscanini have against his orchestra”?

The answer is: nothing.

What they were doing was making their charges great. The football players and musicians knew this well. While they may not have liked being corrected, the results were undeniable. They gloried in their success.

The running back Willie Wood said that Lombardi was “perhaps the fairest person I ever met.” One musician under Toscanini recalled performing the Schubert Ninth, “It was a heavenly experience. After the concert I just couldn’t bear to go into the subway; and so I walked for blocks and blocks to my home with the sound of the performance ringing in my mind. He was a great teacher.”

If any person — a kindergartener, a middle school basketball player, a medical student or any adult in any station of life — wishes to do well, it is necessary to continually face mistakes and address them. This is life. Only those who do nothing make no mistakes.

With this in mind, I wish to thank Jean Sharac for her letter of a few weeks ago reminding us of the our failings as a country. A s group, we the people of the United States have done some things well and some things badly. As the most powerful country in the world, we have a high responsibility to acknowledge our missteps and be willing to correct them.

We’re not doing very well so far. Vince Lombardi and Arturo Toscanini, we could use your help.

David Ellis
Portsmouth

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