With help from many, Warrior Runners provided needed outlet

I would like express my gratitude to Jeff Skoug, Sue McDade, Bill Frederick and the entire recreational team at the Waunakee Village Center for their collaboration and hard work to help us provide a safe, meaningful, and encouraging resource for our program, Warrior Runners.

With their unyielding assistance and careful planning, we were able to complete a six-week session for middle and high school distance runners this summer. Our enrollment for this session was the most we’ve ever had within our program — 30 athletes. The early planning was a bit daunting, balancing our current health guidelines, WVC’s facility-specific guidelines, and the numbers we had enrolled. In the end, I feel that this was the best session ever and we could not have done this without their help and support.

I also want to express gratitude for the coaches for this summer, Emma Bertz, Evan Voge, and Cade Hottman. They were our dynamic, power team who are ready to take on the world this fall through their college endeavors. Working with them since early June has been a breeze, and having them take over and lead and take ownership of their respective teams with their positive coaching, knowledge, and encouragement made this session a win-win-win for all those involved.

Lastly, as a coach and parent, I saw the impact firsthand that the last few months have had on our children. Being out of school this spring could have easily blended into a summer of isolation for them. Not only are they dealing with the loss of social connections, routine, and structure, they are dealing with instability and the uncertainty of what will happen next. With Warrior Runners, we provide athletes with the opportunity to better themselves and improve as runners, but specific to this summer, the program provided them with an outlet for the mental challenges they are also experiencing. They want certainty, stability, and an outlet. In a small dose, this program gave it to them. Having them leave with smiles after our latest session was a testament to the program’s success.

We are very fortunate to have a strong community and support system to be able to provide resources such as these. The WVC and their staff are all-stars in this community.

Thank you,

Heather Martens-Raffel

Distance Coach

Defining the words

We are besieged by issues. They touch us emotionally and move us to action. We are human and have humanity. Ideas lead to actions and actions have consequences.

Words communicate these ideas like racism, but you and I may not mean the same thing by it. Merriam-Webster has three definitions for racism:

1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

2a: a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles

b: a political or social system founded on racism

3: racial prejudice or discrimination

Today we could add fourth: to disagree with Black Lives Matter the organization. This is not a dictionary definition. It is just some people’s idea of racism.

I am not racist (in the dictionary sense) but I disagree with Black Lives Matter the political party. I agree with “black lives matter” the phrase. In fact, I think all lives matter, but some folks contend that this statement is racist.

Words mean different things to different people. To me the phrase (all lives matter) means, that I oppose violence against all people no matter who perpetrates it. I believe the police exist to protect citizens of all races. I reject the inherent supremacy of one race over another. The phrase includes the idea that all people are entitled to equal justice under the law and no one is above it. All people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and race is no modifier of that.

Black Lives Matter, the “movement” claims to be Marxist, anti-capitalist, anti-nuclear family, and anti-police (Their platform and interviews with their founders are available online). I disagree with all those points and more.

I also believe All black lives matter: the black children shot in Chicago; the black federal officers gunned down in Oakland; the black men who died in Seattle CHOP; and the 14 black citizens that have died directly or indirectly linked in the rioting across America. Say their names. Because lives matter even when it does not move your political narrative forward. I denounce the hypocrisy of Black Lives Matter.

We need to have a conversation, but first we need to define our words.

Leonard Allen

Care for others, wear a mask

I have been saddened over the past few months to hear the vitriol and anger around masking and frankly the politicizing of what is a public health and medical intervention. We live in a country where freedom is valued, and I will agree that it is important, but at times we need to give up some of our freedoms for the good of our country and our fellow citizens.

Every time I hear someone say that mask mandates are a violation of their freedoms, I want to remind them that their mask is protecting everyone around them. Their choice to not wear a mask hurts others. The freedom of all of our neighbors to be safe from SARS CoV-2 and COVID-19 must be balanced against the freedom of people to choose what they wear and whether they mask.

As a physician I am proud to be in a county that has required universal masking. I am proud to work in a healthcare community that requires universal masking. I am proud every time I shop at a store that requires universal masking. I am also proud to wear my own mask to show those around me that I value and respect them enough to protect them. By sacrificing a tiny bit of my own freedom, I am protecting the freedom of others be safe from infection.

To those who question the effectiveness of masks, compare the rates of COVID-19 in Dane County where we have universal mask requirements to the rest of the state. We are seeing reduced numbers of new cases and reduced 14 day averages while statewide case counts continue to rise. Mask mandates work!

Finally, school has been a hot button issue and as a parent of an elementary school aged child, I am frustrated to see people making choices that have had the consequence of challenging our ability to safely open schools in the fall. To those who want to know what they can do to help with the pandemic, wear your mask! That one small intervention can make a huge difference to the prevalence of this virus in our community and enable us to safely open schools and progress to a more open economy.

While I can’t wait for a time in the future when universal masking will no longer be a necessity, for now I will continue to wear my mask to respect and protect the freedom of all who I interact with to stay safe and healthy. I value your health and safety, I hope you can value mine.

Matt Swedlund

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