Letters for the week of September 15-21, 2004 

Your depiction of Scott Cory was inaccurate -- and watch your tongue. Last word on the Castro mural; plus, the wrath of a liberal-hater.

"A Long Way to Fall," Feature, 8/25

If this is struggling ...
Thanks for the article on my son, Scott Cory. I wanted to take a moment to clear up a few items.

I think the article was trying to say that Scott was a talented athlete as a child, and may or may not be a talented athlete as an adult. I'm not exactly sure if that was the point or not. If it was, then that is true. Anything can happen. But Scott doesn't seem to be "struggling" too hard as puberty hits. Scott's fourteen now. He just returned from a month in Peru. He climbed an extremely difficult route (13a) at 17,470 feet. Scott is the youngest person to climb this level of difficulty at this altitude in the entire WORLD. If this is the author's definition of "Is Champion Climber Scott Cory Losing His Grip on Greatness?," then Scott is all for not being "great."

If the author would have asked Scott how he felt about competitions, he would have put a different spin on the story. Scott does enjoy competing. He definitely enjoys the friendships he has developed over the years with the other climbers, which is what brings him back to USA Climbing every year. But, given a choice of climbing activities, he would rather be outside climbing any day. As for the climbers he competes against, they are all very talented at this age. One thing is very different, though. The majority of them only climb inside a climbing gym, and train solely for competition climbing. Only a handful have ever even climbed outside. None have ever big-wall climbed. If Scott stopped all other aspects of climbing, and just focused on training in a gym for competition climbing, who knows? He might just be back on the author's track as being the best.

This year, he trained for the Yosemite double, USA Climbing competitions, and slab climbing in Peru all at the same time. While he wasn't thrilled with a seventh-place finish at Nationals, he had a lot of other things to focus on. Yes, he came in seventh. But, as Scott pointed out, he had never won the event anyway. How many athletes in any sport have never placed lower than seventh each and every year they compete? He doesn't believe his competition career is in a downward spiral because of one route in one event. He did just win the Regional Championships, after all.

As for his sponsors dropping him because he didn't win a comp, or because he is not the talented little boy he once was, what rubbish. If the author had asked, he would have found out that Scott's sponsors put absolutely no importance on competitions. What they expect from Scott is simple. Climb, have fun, set a good example, keep pushing the envelope, and, of course, stay in the public eye. They are very pleased that he continues to do all of the above. So pleased, in fact, that they continue to try to sign him to multiyear deals.

Scott's friendships with his adult climbing partners really are just that: True friendships. There ARE sleepovers with foodstuffs involved. Whenever we travel to similar events, we share hotels, even hotel rooms, just for the fun of being together. Scott attends their weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations. They're friends. I know it sounds odd. Climbing is a weird sport where skill is what brings people together, not age. Scott's trip to Peru was with two climbers who are thirty years older than him. They were completely happy to travel for a month with their fourteen-year-old "friend." They are already planning their next trip.

Scott is trying to live as normal a life as possible. He is not home-schooled, and has regular-age-based friendships. He sees his classmates at school and on weekends. He talks to them by cell phone and on the Internet when he travels. He does spend a lot of time in adult company, but there is definitely a mix. The author makes him sound like a poor, deluded little boy who has no real friends and his "perceived" climbing friends are not really his friends at all. Not an accurate depiction of his life.

Lastly, the author bills Scott as a good athlete, says we're good parents, says Scott loves climbing, and is a great sport. Again, if that makes him appear to be "Losing His Grip on Greatness," we'll take it.
Jennifer Cory, Brentwood

And don't forget charity
Why not mention what Scott has done for charities on his climbs? Or that if he spent every hour that he spends raising charity money climbing in Yosemite or South America instead of practicing on indoor climbing venues for personal reasons that he would probably blow the competition away?

The genetics part was absurd and meaningless and definitely not very important in the context of the article. Seems as if the author is almost wanting Scott to fail. Why? Is the author thinking about raising the money for charity himself?
Shawn Dassie, Pleasanton

Watch your language, too
Was it really necessary to use the word "fuck" in a story about a fourteen-year-old kid? It really stuck out, in a bad way.

Don't you think a lot of kids will pick up the magazine just to read an article about another kid? Is it required that they wade through text like that to enjoy the article?

If you were reading your article to a classroom full of kids, would you want to read that aloud? Maybe you don't care, but I do -- so I thought I would let you know.
Matt Collins, Oakland

"Portrait of the Times," Feature, 5/26

Mystery of the mural's history solved
My brother, Jim Castro, was present at the unveiling of the bank mural of his great-great-grandfather, Victor Castro, in the Mechanics Bank in El Cerrito in the mid-'60s.

The mural was originally 32 feet long and ten feet high. It covered the entire east wall of the bank. The mural was executed by Scenic Backgrounds Studio of Hollywood and was designed and painted over a six-week period by the company's leading artists, William Tury and Wilbur Farrell.

The architectural firm of Barbachano, Ivanitsky, and Associates, Inc. of El Cerrito conceived the idea of the mural. They also prepared the research material and aided and supervised the components.


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