Editor's Note: Fisticuffs and sportsmanship

Richard Wiens, The Triplicate

Deborah Kravitz enjoyed watching her son wrestle at Del Norte High School. And Joey Kravitz didn't disappoint, flattening most of his opponents and winning a rare berth in the state tournament in 2009, the same year his friend Roger McCovey won his second straight California championship in the heavyweight division.

But Deborah can't bring herself to watch Joey fight in the mixed-martial arts bouts held occasionally in Trinidad. When he won the 135-145-pound division at the latest April 2, Joey had his older brother and McCovey in his corner, but his mother stayed away.

It's hard enough to watch your son compete on the wrestling mat, where a loss hurts pride but usually not much more. If you've watched any of the versions of mixed-martial arts on TV, you know how different the sport is, bouts often ending with one guy punched into submission or wrenched into an untenable position. Some find it barbaric, others fascinating. But it's hard not to cringe when the loser is on the verge of tapping out, even if he's not your offspring.

Her absence doesn't mean she doesn't respect her son's dedication.

And Deborah, the school district's nutrition project coordinator, was

obviously proud as she recounted how Joey reacted after getting $500 in

the winner-take-all finale. He didn't like the idea that his opponent,

Ray Mazyck of Brookings, would go away empty-handed. So Joey gave him

$50 out of his hard-earned prize money.

His mother may have "mixed feelings" about mixed-martial arts, but

she'll never question her son's sportsmanship.

LATEST FROM THE POLLS

There have been some real barn-burners in The Daily Triplicate

website poll lately. Then again, there have also been some landslides.

First the close ones.

andbull; Downtown: The current poll asks if the embattled Downtown

Improvement District is good for Crescent City's core area. As of

Tuesday morning, there were 62 "yes" votes and 59 "no" votes.

andbull; Bigfoot: After our front-page article about possible Bigfoot

activity in the Gasquet area, 542 poll respondents said they think the

creature "may exist," while 533 said it "clearly does not exist." That

sounds like a statistical dead heat, until you consider that a third

option, stating that "the creature definitely exists," got 318 votes.

Now the not-so-close ones.

andbull; Radiation: We may be tsunami-prone, but we're not alarmists.

Asked if they expect a significant amount of radiation to reach the

U.S. West Coast from the Japanese nuclear emergencies, 584 respondents

said "no" while only 186 said "yes." Our poll is closed, but

unfortunately the question remains on the table.

andbull; Health care reform: The GOP attempt to repeal President

Obama's health care reforms was popular, with 705 votes in favor and 375

against.

andbull; State budget: Ripped from today's headlines out of

Sacramento came the question, "Is it possible to balance the budget

entirely through spending cuts? In reply, 581 people said "yes," 442

said "no." Come to think of it, the question probably should have read,

"Is it a good idea to balance the budget entirely through spending

cuts?" Anything's possible.

andbull; Plea-bargaining: Is Del Norte County too generous to

criminals? Respondents resoundingly answered "yes." Asked which was

closer to their opinion of plea-bargaining in Del Norte, 804 chose

"defendants are getting off easy," while 163 chose "justice is being

served."

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