To the Editor

Learning Boxing Under the Eyes of "The Greatest"

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the May 8, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Last year in this space we made a horrible mistake:

In the course of inviting writers to submit their work for our annual

Summer Fiction issue we made a passing reference to the highly popular

HBO television series, "The Sopranos." The popularity of the

series, we guessed, might be due to the fact that people still enjoy

a good story and the Soprano family certainly had no shortage of good

stories to recount.

That triggered (no pun intended) a fusillade of submissions dealing

with crime and violence. Our initial readers, faced with the difficult

task of cutting a stack of roughly 100 submissions down to a printable

number of 40 or so, were so shell shocked by the violent themes that

they suggested the entire issue be dropped from our editorial line-up

in 2002.

Fortunately time heals many wounds, and certainly this one. We now

look forward — positively look forward — to our sixth annual

Summer Fiction issue. The publication date is Wednesday, July 24.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 28 (see page 39 of this

issue for details). As always, we remind prospective contributors

that this is not a contest, and that we are not trying to rank order

the work from best to worst. Rather we are seeking a representative

and entertaining sampling of the writing being created by our

colleagues

in the greater Princeton business community and our neighbors in

central

New Jersey — in short the people who read this paper.

If we play favorites it is in the direction of our readers. The

never-before-published

short story writer who works at the Carnegie Center may well be chosen

over the veteran writer from northern New Jersey who heard about our

issue from his nephew and wants to add another publishing credit to

his resume. So, to tip the balance in your favor, please include with

your submission a brief biography and resume information.

Another factor to be considered: Simple fairness — every year

someone who has patiently submitted works in prior years but has never

been published gets the nod over someone whose work has been

previously

published.

After it’s all over we will greet all the writers — published

or not — at our annual Summer Fiction reception in August. The

time and place of that event has yet to be determined, but we can

safely say it is one of the highlights of the social season in

Princeton

in August. We welcome and encourage your submissions, and look forward

to meeting you in person. As our call for entries on page 39 says,

allow your imaginations to soar.

Top Of Page
To the Editor

Bart Jackson wrote an article about my participation

as a speaker with the Special Libraries Association this past month

("Tracking Through the Invisible Web," U.S. 1, April 3). I

just fell across your website, and the article, and am glad I did

so.

Mr. Jackson eloquently put into words what I often fumble in

explaining.

Thank you very much. This article made me look good and feel great

about the work that I do. It is much appreciated.

Cynthia Hetherington

Hetherington Information

Services, Elmwood Park, NJ

Top Of Page
Learning Boxing Under the Eyes of "The Greatest"

My two kids are learning the art of boxing, under

the watchful eye of Muhammad Ali.

That’s right, Muhammad Ali, the onetime champion of the world,

arguably

one of the greatest sports heroes of all times, the Vietnam era

conscientious

objector and civil rights era black activist turned peaceful Muslim.

My kids, ages 10 and 8, are learning a little boxing, and it’s all

happening right under Ali’s eyes.

In the old days it wouldn’t matter who was watching over the kids

when they strapped on the pair of red Everlast gloves (youth size)

and started throwing lefts, and rights, jabs and upper cuts, and

various

combinations thereof into the heavy bag (40 pounds, just right for

kids). But in the old days you could play guns with BB rifles that

really shot, you could get into fights with the kids on the other

side of town, and you could do a lot of other things without your

parents.

Today it’s different, of course. Parents no longer sit back and let

kids set their own agendas for life and leisure; instead they

intervene,

through carefully orchestrated sessions of pre-school, school,

after-school,

play dates, play groups, and — if necessary — play therapy

under the direction of a trained psychologist. Some people are

beginning

to call it "push parenting" and it’s become such an obsession

in certain chic centers that Princeton freelance writer and National

Public Radio correspondent Ralph Schoenstein has written a book about

it: "Toilet Trained for Yale." (He appears Tuesday, May 21,

at Barnes and Noble to discuss it.)

So when the bright red boxing gloves came out of the gift wrap at

my son’s eighth birthday party, some of the mothers there raised their

eyebrows. "Are we encouraging violence?" one of them asked.

Others volunteered that — given the energy of young boys —

a martial art of some sort might be an appropriate choice of physical

activity, but only in the proper context. Context? One parent

explained

that her elementary school son was participating in a new wrestling

program directed by the head coach of Princeton University’s varsity

program. Another parent had enrolled her son in fencing — again

taught by someone from the university. Tae Kwon Do was another

preferred

activity, and one in which the children no doubt absorbed eastern

wisdom even as they shed their western pudginess — win, win.

I knew that — if I wanted to escape the opprobrium of the push

parenting crowd — I would have to do better than put my kids in

front of a punching bag and tell them to beat the stuffing out of

it.

Last Saturday, May 4, the opportunity presented itself.

The Princeton Young Achievers was holding a benefit art auction at

the Third World Center on the Princeton University campus. The benefit

was run by one of those auction houses that specialize in selling

art at a profit to also raise money for the sponsoring charity —

win, win. And there, between Norman Rockwell’s "Bottom of the

Sixth" (a plate-signed offset lithograph, one of who knows how

many) and Vincent Van Gogh’s "Pont de Langlois" (offset print,

one of who knows how many), rested "Ali Over Liston"

(autographed

photo, forensic verification of the signature, one of who knows how

many).

The auctioneer said that the photograph — a color print of

Muhammad

Ali towering over the fallen Sonny Liston at the moment of Ali’s

stunning

upset knockout — was even more valuable because Ali had signed

it "Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay." I knew that the photo,

taken by — I believe — a Life Magazine photographer, was one

of the subject photographs in a recent HBO documentary on sports

photography,

and the delicious irony for the photographer was that he not only

captured the view of Ali relishing his triumphant moment, he also

captured one of his arch-rivals in the photography business, visible

on the other side of the ring, framed by Ali’s legs and obviously

missing the action. Win, win.

Now Ali, in spirit, at least, looms over the heavy bag as my boys

take turns slamming those bright red gloves in whatever combinations

they see fit. The boys can dream they are champs or just contenders.

They may also learn something about history. Or they may just learn

that fighting with your hands is plain hard work.

In the meantime our family has made a small contribution to the

Princeton

Young Achievers (609-924-5601), a group that supports children from

lower and middle income families who might otherwise be unsupervised

in the time between the end of school and the end of the work day

for the parent or parents. Far from push parenting, this is practical,

common sense support for parents and children in need. So to a small

degree Muhammad Ali is now watching out for these kids, as well. Win,

win.

Rickard K. Rein


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