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Thannks for helping make our youth basketball program possible

To The Daily Sun,

Last weekend, the City of Laconia's Lou Athanas Youth Basketball League (LAYBL) concluded its local recreational league schedule with a series of divisional playoff and championships games. Hundreds of hoopsters played in front of their families, friends, and other fans on both Saturday and Sunday. There were many close and exciting games, several of which were decided by only a few points or less.

For over four decades, girls and boys from first grade through high school have played on LAYBL city and travel teams. The effort to provide opportunities for Laconia's youth are possible because of a collective community effort. Parents and family members buy equipment for players and bring them to practices and games. Community members donate hours of time to coach teams, referee games, serve as board members and divisional directors, keep the book and the clock at games, and sell tickets and concessions at the year-ending regional tournament that we host every year. Several businesses pay money to sponsor teams.

The Laconia School District and the Parks and Recreation Department provide gym times for practices and games. The LAYBL experience is possible because our community comes together to commit time and resources for our youth.

Some 260 children played basketball on LAYBL teams this year. When B-team sports were eliminated after significant cuts to the school budget were made last year, the league and the community filled the gap by creating more opportunities young athletes. A full-season schedule of practices and games were put together for both girls and boys in grades 7 and 8. There were a total of five travel teams for over 50 elementary and middle school boys and girls. To make this happen, people volunteered hundreds of hours of time to organize schedules, coach, and referee games. The fact that these people did so for no compensation is yet another example of this community's commitment to its youth.

Though the recreational league games are over for the season, the regional tournament sponsored by LAYBL begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 26. Come see our teams and others from around the state in grades 3 through 8 play games in our city's gymnasiums in a double-elimination tournament. This is another great event made possible because of a cooperative effort and the work of volunteers who love kids and the community and understand the benefits of having youth play team sports.

Thank you to all of the organizations and people in our community who helped us make this year's LAYBL season possible.

The LAYBL Board of Directors

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Let's teach kids that sex crimes are real threat, even outside bathrooms

To The Daily Sun,

This is in response to the responses to the letter "Bigotry or Biology." I don't have a child in the Gilford public school system myself, but neither do those loudest about this issue. I think I found a solution that both sides can get behind.

There needs to be compromise from both sides. I think that we should allow children to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. In order to ward off those pesky child molesters, I say that we arm children and teach them how to defend themselves. Now I know the leftist whackadoodles will find a problem with it, so let me clarify. I am not saying give all the children guns. Maybe the fifth and sixth graders, but anything younger than that will be taught with melee weapons: morningstars, blackjacks, switchblades, madballs, etc.

We can even teach them the power of a roll of quarters in a tied sock. We teach them to defend themselves, so when inevitably a pedophile comes lurking, they are prepared to set an example to the other pedophiles. We could institute a mandatory training in the morning, in a similar vein to how Spartans trained their kids. Normally I would suggest teaching them martial arts, but the practicality of hands that small being able to ground-and-pound is minuscule.

Or we can be adults about this and just talk to children. Maybe address the fact that sex crimes are a real threat, even outside of public bathrooms, and teach that the chances of being attacked or molested in a public bathroom are a fraction of the probability that they or someone they know are already being abused at home. But talking to children is hard, and they aren't really mature enough to comprehend the nature of it. So let's give them weapons and the opportunity to lure in molesters by the bunch and deal out some sweet street justice.

Ben Lassen


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