- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

Noble: Samantha Larson, who became the youngest American to climb Mt. Everest.

And if conquering Everest weren’t impressive enough, Miss Larson, 18, can claim another title: youngest person to climb the “Seven Summits,” or the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents. She began climbing mountains in middle school with her father, David, who completed the climbs with her. She scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro at 12.

And she keeps getting better: Miss Larson returned to her home in Long Beach, Calif., on Wednesday with her eyes set on her next challenge: college. She was accepted last spring by Stanford University but deferred for a year to train for conquering Everest. It is remarkable that her education never took second place to her athletic pursuits. During the trek, she kept a diary detailing her adventure. Her final entry, dated May 16, says only: “We made it to the top! Now all we have to do is get back down.”

For her determination to climb mountains, Samantha Larson is the Noble of the week.

Knave: Jean Gonzalez, the Staten Island, N.Y., mom who is suing her son’s baseball coach for no good reason.

Martin Gonzalez was injured sliding into second base during a Little League game three years ago. Mrs. Gonzalez, in the lawsuit she filed earlier this month, alleges that her son sustained “serious bodily injury” and required surgery. She claims that Martin’s coach is to blame for not properly teaching the boy, then 12, how to slide. The lawsuit names Coach Leigh Bernstein, the New Springville Little League, Little League Baseball and Softball Inc., and “John Doe,” the unidentified first base coach who urged Martin on to second base, as defendants. The suit alleges they failed to teach Martin the “skills needed to avoid and/or minimize the risks of injury.”

The team’s coach says he has “instructed players in the various skills required to play baseball, including sliding. Unfortunately, injuries happen. That’s part of the game.” We couldn’t agree more. Little League teams comply with certain safety standards, such as using foam bases to avoid injuries, but the bottom line is that kids play games and sports, and sometimes they get hurt.

For filing a ridiculous lawsuit and making a victim out of her son, Jean Gonzalez is the Knave of the week.

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