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Letters / Our readers speak out

Ernst taught many valuable lessons

Now that winter has passed I need to reminisce about retiring wrestling coach of 45 years Albert Ernst. I am a recently retired teacher and high school coach of 33 years but still volunteering. I had the opportunity to coach with Bert for five years when he needed an assistant beginning in 1980. I was a green horn back then. Bert was a 6-2, 270-pound hardnosed, chiseled in stone, intimidating fairy tale-like character. He had a tough outer shell but was caring. He also had many past injuries but still got out on the mat. I didn't know it then that I would take so much from my coaching experience and use it in my coaching and my life. Take my word for it I learned that its more than about all the W's, state championship wrestlers, undefeated teams and No. 1 rankings. It just took awhile for it to sink into my thick cranium.

Rules were very black and white. Practices were very organized and very rigorous. He believed in hard work, discipline, repetition and success will be your reward. Bert had a never-give-up attitude and that nobody is better than you. He really stressed this point. He put his heart and soul into every practice. Nobody would be more prepared than our wrestlers.

It really hits home now when I see some of the wrestlers we coached back then today. For the most part they are happy, successful, confident and at the top of their game. They carry the same attitude as they learned 25 years ago. In fact I might be seeing things but I think their still wearing their wrestling shoes. Now think of all the wrestlers he has coached. Bert has touched a lot of lives along the way. I am so grateful and blessed for him crossing my path in my life.

Thanks for the great ride and memories. Now put his old tattered shoes in the hall where they belong.

John Chiarmonte

North Tonawanda


Catholic school teams: Either in or out

A few weeks ago I attended a couple Far West Regional Boys Basketball Games between Sections V and VI. Niagara Falls (Class AA) and East Aurora (Class A) are excellent teams who played wonderfully but unsuccessfully at Buffalo State College that evening; however, both were up against two Catholic schools from the Rochester-area (Aquinas and Bishop Kearney, respectively).

My question is this: Why are we playing against Catholic schools in the state public high school playoffs, while our own local Catholic schools are playing in New York City against other Catholic schools? Not only is this a matter of inequality and unfairness, it also borders on the unethical. This nonsense has to end now; either [allow] all Catholic and private schools in the state of New York to compete against each other or else bar them from competing in the public high school tournaments altogether. This is worse than comparing apples with oranges; it is more like watermelons with tomatoes.

Jim Antes



Coverage of Bonnies good like teams were

The News sports staff rose to the occasion and did a magnificent job covering the odysseys of the St. Bonaventure men's and women's basketball teams.

The coverage was thorough and well informed and the graphic displays exciting and equal to the extraordinary accomplishments of the Bonnie teams. Thanks to Bob DiCesare, Amy Moritz, Bucky Gleason, Rodney McKissic, Mike Harrington and Jerry Sullivan for their exceptional reporting, commentary, blogging, live chats and tweeting and ditto to those responsible for the graphics, layouts and photography.

Teams like this don't come along very often and The News rightfully and appropriately chronicled their stories in the most impressive fashion possible. Well done!

Bill Collins



Free-agent signings stir Fandemonium

With the big signing of defensive players Mario Williams and Mark Anderson the Buffalo Bills defense has gotten more than just a pulse.

The addition of these two players alone has the teams' heartbeat racing to new levels. Things are looking up for the Bills and Fandemonium could be back at One Bills Drive again.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park


Finance Bills' stadium with certain conditions

I've swallowed hard but finally came to the conclusion that both Erie County and the state should fund the $100 million to rehab the stadium, even though we've cut funding for things that are needed more.

However, two tight strings should be affixed to our $100 million offer: A 20-year lease that would make it prohibitively expensive for the Bills to break the lease and the Bills agreeing to waive TV blackouts during the lease.

If we can get these two provisions into a new lease the political support will follow.

Cheryl Cranston

West Seneca

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.