If I were ever to write a book about East Chop people, the title would be a slam dunk. I would call the book Networking. I have never known a place with so many people with useful information.

It was with this in mind that I went to see Rick Hazelton earlier this spring. I was concerned about two grandsons who are avid football players. With all the recent media hype about football-related head injuries, I wanted to be reassured they were not being subjected to undue risk.

Rick’s credentials on this subject are legendary. He excelled as a football player both in high school and at Marietta College. He also amassed impressive records coaching football on both the high school and college levels. He recently retired as department chair and director of athletics at Trinity College following a distinguished career that spanned 28 years in both positions.

What impressed me most about our conversation was his balanced view on this issue. “Yes, your concerns about your grandsons playing football are well-founded. Head injuries are a worrisome problem. They are also a problem for other helmeted sports like ice hockey and lacrosse. Heading the ball in soccer can be dangerous, especially for young kids.

“But getting back to football, I would prefer that young kids learn the game by playing flag football first. They don’t need to be all suited up. Flag football minimizes contact. I also think we need to do a better job coaching kids. Kids need to be taught to block and tackle with their shoulder and not their head.

“One thing I need to point out to you is that this is not a new problem. President Theodore Roosevelt led a crusade in 1905 to outlaw the flying wedge because it was excessively violent and because it had led to several deaths that year. We also need to keep in mind that we allow 16 year olds to drive a car. They frequently have a cell phone in one hand while they’re doing it.

“There is risk associated with playing football. There’s no denying it. So you make a choice. That’s what life is all about­ — making choices and taking risks. All I can say is that football gave me many gifts, and I think the same will be true for your grandsons, as well.”

A gift we all have been given is the East Chop Association. The association held its July meeting at the Beach Club on Saturday, July 21.

Rob Hammett, parks co-chairman with Steve Durkee, reported on the extensive work that was done on several parks this winter. He asked association members to put in writing their requests for tree trimming on park land to either him or Steve.

President Craig Dripps reported that progress was being made on two erosion problems along East Chop Drive. At the west end of Beach Road, just before the turn up to New York avenue, there is a study in progress to fix the beach erosion problem alongside the road. The preliminary idea for the fix is to bury metal tubes filled with stone along the road which will act as pilings. Cobblestones would be placed on top of the tubes, which would then be overlaid with soil and vegetation.

With regard to the bluff erosion problem, funds have been received to create a plan to stabilize it. Current thinking on the best approach to deal with this problem is to reduce the slope of the bluff and to fortify the base along the water with a concrete slab. I will keep you informed through this column on how the solutions to our two erosion problems proceed.