Our cover story on Harvard hockey received cheers and jeers. We also heard about stemming prostitution and understanding Asperger’s.

November 1, 2009

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The Ice Men Studieth Regarding “Brains on Ice” (October 11): Many of our nations’ colleges use athletes as high-priced entertainment and abandon them once their value is diminished. Many come with dreams of greatness and pro careers and endorsement deals, and leave after a year or two not having attended classes and never having received a degree. However, schools like Harvard and Yale and coaches like Ted Donato and Keith Allain, both graduates of their respective schools and both with NHL credentials, present their recruits with the chance to play Division I sports and attempt an NCAA title while still going to class and graduating with a degree.

Brian R. Cook / Duxbury

Your article neglected to mention my brother Robert McManama, Harvard class of 1973, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He and another brother, George, Harvard class of 1970 and also a hockey player, were members of the cast of Love Story while at school.

Janet McManama Lineha


Nathaniel Popper’s puff piece on the constantly underachieving Harvard men’s hockey team appears all the more maddening in light of his failing to note the admirable accomplishments of the Crimson women’s squad over the past decade, which include one national championship and five skaters winning six player-of-the-year awards.

Mark S. Sternman

Kennebunk, Maine

No to Prostitution I appreciated the article “Dear John,” by Catherine Elton (October 11). I work with victims of trafficking and understand the desperate need to address the demand side of prostitution.

Jennie-Joy Telfer / Yei, Sudan

Our Songs Reader Paul Thomas Sarno need not fret (Letters, October 11). Arlo Guthrie’s beautiful ode “Massachusetts” was not forgotten; in fact, in July 1981, it became the official folk song of Massachusetts. I know this because my late father, Bernard Davidson, joined Guthrie’s civic ranks when his own love song to his home state, “Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land Is Free),” was signed into law as the official patriotic song of Massachusetts in 1989.

Susie Davidson / Brookline

Meatball Times Two I enjoy reading Robin Abrahams’s Miss Conduct column. But I can’t get over her answer on “The Meatball No-Shows” (October 11). She says it’s OK for people to cancel going to a neighbor’s for dinner (with 15 minutes’ notice!) just because another couple dropped in unannounced at their house at dinnertime. That is just plain rude. They could have easily told their unexpected guests, “We’d love to have a pizza with you, but we already have dinner plans with our neighbors.”

Robert E. Coates / Dover

I thought Abrahams was right on with her advice regarding the dinner no-shows. I have one additional comment: Perhaps when the letter writer’s neighbors called to say that unexpected guests had arrived, she could have extended the invitation to include those guests. If there wouldn’t be enough spaghetti, they could still order pizza to go along with the meal (since it was “informal” anyway). Who knows? Her neighbors may have hoped the invitation would be extended and may have felt that it would be rude to bring up the subject themselves. If not, the neighbors could have politely declined.

Alba Binney / Framingham

A Bright Light Thank you to Christopher Wood-Robbins for sharing his experience as an adult who has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (Perspective, October 4). I am a parent of a 13-year-boy with a similar diagnosis. I have always been fond of adults with quirky personalities. Perhaps this is why God sent my son to my family. Further research, coupled with the recent (and explosive) numbers of those diagnosed, shall force the neuro-typical population to better understand and appreciate the “Aspie” population. Think of how boring our world would be if we were all cookie-cutter perfect.

Grace Blake / Stoneham

Wood-Robbins is to be commended for his brave and honest account of his struggle with Asperger’s syndrome. Reading his story has shed much light on this syndrome and given simple, direct advice on dealing with it from both sides of the coin.

Catherine Ruggiano / Hanover

Thank you for shining a light on a forgotten population: adults over age 30 with late-diagnosis Asperger’s syndrome. These adults -- such as my sister Elizabeth -- who did not get the benefit of a youthful diagnosis need to be recognized, counted, and helped. Current studies and assistance programs are neglecting a large population of underemployed or unemployed and emotionally suffering adults. We need more doctors who are able to recognize the signs of Asperger’s in adults and help them get treatment, and more programs for all of these people.

Tina Hillson / Weymouth

My 101/2-year-old son was diagnosed at 7 with Asperger’s. Schools have no idea how to handle these children. Their solution is to put them in a special-education classroom with children who have severe learning disabilities. This makes no sense to me, since my son has above-average intelligence and has no problem understanding his schoolwork. The Massachusetts school system really needs to create an appropriate program for these children that includes social-skills training.

Andrea McCullough / Wilmington

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