-More to follow-0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000URGENT: Football: Puma blames faulty fabric for torn Swiss jerseys.PHOTO/AFPBERLIN, Germany, June 20 – German sportswear maker Puma Monday blamed a manufacturing flaw after several Swiss players had their jerseys torn in their Euro 2016 match with France a day earlier.Its investigation had found that “there was a faulty batch of material in which the yarn was damaged during production,” the company said in a statement.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThen it goes full circle. For me it did anyway, and for most people who observe Christmas, and maybe even for people who don’t because what this wonderful myth is all about is the same thing that all things holy are about – goodness, selflessness, generosity and love. And we walk that circle in our journey from the receiving end of all those good and wonderful things to the equally wonderful giving end, to parenthood and just grown-up humanhood. Which brings me to a letter written in 1897 by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. Seriously, could you make up a better name? Anyway, little Virginia sent her letter to New York’s Sun newspaper, where it was answered by the just-as-brilliantly-named newsman, Francis Pharcellus Church. More than likely you’ve never read her entire letter. So here it is in its eternal innocence: “Dear Editor, I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, `If you see it in The Sun it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?” Nothing like dad passing the buck. Still, the brilliant and moving reply could only have been penned in an age of flawless rhetoric and flowing verse, in a time when words rather than images were the common currency of life. I once had a friend who deeply offended me with something she said before God and our combined pack of mewling children. “Around here, we de-emphasize Santa Claus,” she offered, even though I can’t recall asking her what she thought. And I’m not sure what bothered me more, the offhand dismissal of something, some spirit, some all-important myth central to certain large and hungry segments of society or the way she just tossed it out there like a dog bone. Either way, it put me off her completely and I was surprised, mainly because I had years before passed that invisible boundary where the things of childhood vanish into work-all-the-time adult reality. Church – a man with center-parted hair and a beer-strainer mustache – wrote a column-length reply probably because some editor made him. Only what he wrote in a newspaper-hurry has survived mostly in a single brilliant, oft-repeated line. And it survived against all odds in what is still a business of highly perishable words. It survived when all the other things he wrote on murder, mayhem and the clang and clash of war are turned to dust. It survived because of Santa, the subject that won’t die, the long-evolving, advertising-enhanced, thoroughly beguiling creation come to us like something already known in our bones and in our hearts, like something that had to be created to embody the spirit of this day. And he still visits us in desert and tropics, in houses of death and life, in all places where we enjoy a kind of grace for a single day each year, a day when we finally put aside the insanity to recall a great event and a binding myth, a baby and a red-suited stranger, an awfully real figment of the collective imagination. One that Church met head on with an eloquent response reaching out to us across 100 years: “Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him. ” Then comes a line for the ages: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” God, how I love those seven words. “He exists,” the reporter continues, “as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. “Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. “You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. “No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” As he still makes happy the hearts of your children and mine who, for better or worse, have never heard from my lips that Santa does not exist. And never will. I want to hear from you. Connect with me at [email protected] or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!