A Balcony View:

As a writer, I rely on the occasional catch phrase to emphasize my point. One of my favorites is with all due respectwith all due respect.

The power of that simple four-word phrase to render an entire opinion inept never ceases to amaze me. I can sit silent for hours listening to the passionate argument of someone and by uttering my favorite catch phrase it’s as if the opposing point of view never existed at all. A few examples:

Last weekend, a report by the Sunday Times of London revealed that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in the United Kingdom confessed to throwing out data on which the theory of global warming is founded.

The loss of that data prevents other scientists from checking it to determine whether, in fact, there has been a long-term rise in global temperatures during the past century-and-a-half. This revelation was originally leaked on the Internet.

As expected, those who delight in debunking and denying the theories of global warming have had a field day, twisting this information into a rope that they no doubt intend to use when they hang every liberal conservationist.

With all due respect, having spent the last two years in La Crescenta, I fail to see how this new information suddenly makes all the other evidence of global warming inconsequential.

There were times in August and September when I could have sworn I was living on the surface of the sun. Early morning walks on New York Avenue often felt more like midday treks across the Sahara. It seems bizarre to believe that a report found online can instantly make us reconsider the reality of glaciers and polar ice caps melting away.

And speaking of the bizarre, I have never understood the window display at Faye’s department store.

The corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard has got to be one of the most expensive pieces of retail property in all of the Crescenta Valley. With all due respect, I just don’t understand how it’s even possible that flannel pajamas and cotton ankle-length nightgowns can be popular enough in 2009 to remain permanently on display. Yes. I may very well be underestimating the allure and popularity of ’40s-era lingerie. Nevertheless, it does remain one of the great curiosities of our area.

And as far as curiosities go, I submit the latest USC-UCLA football game as yet another good use of the axiom, “with all due respect.” For the record, having grown up in Southern California, I am decidedly partial to one team in particular. And I understand that rules regarding sportsmanship are often thrown out the window where rivalries like this are concerned. Mascots are hung in effigy, and statues are vandalized in the name of school loyalty.

But with all due respect, I think it shows a real lack of class for one school to purposely embarrass another long after the outcome has already been decided. I can assure you I’d feel that way regardless of which school was the culprit of such unsportsmanlike behavior.

So with all due respect, USC Coach Pete Carroll’s decision to run up the score against UCLA did nothing but cheapen and diminish an athletic event. There’s no need for it, and no amount of cliché spin or sports rhetoric should ever justify it.

On the upside, it did give me a greater appreciation for something I recently saw on a much smaller playing field in La Crescenta.

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter’s soccer team was soundly defeating a lesser skilled opponent. Late in the game our coach pulled all the players away from the defensive zone in order to give the other team a chance to score, which they eventually did.

With all due respect, letting another team leave the field with their dignity intact is better coaching. It teaches better ethics on both sides of the field.

With all due respect, maybe Carroll could learn something from the AYSO. But that’s just my opinion.


Get in touch GARY HUERTA is a Crescenta Valley resident and author. He is Senior Manager of Communications for DIRECTV and a copywriting professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Gary may be reached at garyrhuerta@gmail.com.

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