Congratulations for honoring a fine group of Sportsmen and Sportswomen (Athletes Who Care, Dec. 21). While The Sporting News abandoned its Man of the Year award for 1987 because it apparently could find no one who truly represented what was right about sports. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED honored those who best exemplify not only what it means to be an athlete, but also what it means to be a human being.
JOHN P. GOODROW
Essex Junction, Vt.
Frank Deford's introductory essay ("A Little Lower than the Angels," Dec. 21) and the profiles of the eight caring athletes were genuinely inspiring. Their lives are sermons in themselves. Thanks for the boost.
LAYNE E. FLAKE
Chaplain, Major, USAF
North Highlands, Calif.
You have given all of America's children some real heroes to look up to.
JOHN R. DAVIS
You are to be congratulated for taking the initiative in starting this salute to athletes who care about more than their salaries and themselves. I would encourage you to make it an annual event.
JOHN A. KNUBEL
As a parent, coach and educator who seeks to teach sportsmanship rather than gamesmanship, I was heartened by the stories of your Sportsmen and Sportswomen. Dale Murphy's comment—"But to serve one's fellow man is to serve the Lord, and to serve is perfect freedom"—will be my motto for 1988.
GORDON VAN ZANTEN
Of special interest to me was the story about Bob Bourne and his family. I have been a physical educator for 19 years and had the privilege of working with Bourne's son Jeff when he attended the Forest Park Elementary School on Long Island, N.Y., in 1986 and '87. Jeff was an active participant in all of our programs, including swimming and recreational sports. His tenacity and courage helped him overcome a disability (spina bifida) that could have left him confined to a wheelchair. When he walked through the school as part of his prescribed daily exercise routine, his beaming smile, described in your article, lifted everyone.
In addition, Jeff represented our school district at the 1987 New York State Games for the Physically Challenged. He collected three medals, in the slalom walk, shot put and discus.
IRWIN C. HANDBURGER
One addition to your group might have been Rick Hansen, the young Canadian who traveled around the world in his wheelchair—covering a distance equal to the circumference of the globe—to raise money for the study of spinal cord injuries as well as for rehabilitation services and wheelchair sports. His desire and bravery were an inspiration to handicapped people and made us all aware that there are genuine heroes whom young people can look up to.
THE WRESTLING PADRE
Thanks for the touching story of Father Sergio Gutierrez, the wrestling priest of Xometla, and his efforts to feed, house and clothe 86 orphans (A Ring and a Prayer, Dec. 21). It was an appropriate feature both for the season and for an issue dedicated to unselfish, generous-spirited athletes. Fray Tormenta is truly one of the "great right arms" of God.
THE JOHN SHEARIN FAMILY
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Rick Reilly's A Ring and a Prayer was a remarkable story about a remarkable man. As I was reading it on Christmas Eve, I couldn't help but think about the gifts that my children were about to receive. I realized that Father Gutierrez's kids would gladly trade all of them for a chicken dinner. Please let me know where to send a contribution so that I can make a small gesture to help the good padre realize his Cuidad de los Cachorros.
WILLIAM F. LANDRIGAN
•Checks or money orders should be addressed to: Fray Tormenta, Parroquia de San Miguel, Xometla, Acolman, Mexico, C.P. 55895.—ED.
An article by William Taaffe on television cutbacks (It's Bottom-Line Time, Oct. 12) cited the purported extravagant use by Terence O'Neil of a limousine while he was at CBS: "Nobody is going to get away any longer with what Terry O'Neil, then CBS's executive producer for the NFL, did during the '83 playoffs when he dispatched his limo and driver from Dallas to Tampa several weeks before the Super Bowl. Cost to CBS: $17,000."
Those statements are incorrect. In fact, the limousine driver, whom O'Neil and other CBS personnel had used in Dallas for several years, said that he was planning to vacation in Tampa during Super Bowl time. He asked O'Neil whether O'Neil and his CBS colleagues would be interested in using his services, at his standard rate, while they were in Tampa for the Super Bowl. His travel between Dallas and Tampa and return would be at his own expense. O'Neil subsequently engaged the driver's services on those terms for the purpose of transporting himself and his associates to player interviews, stadium rehearsals and required social functions throughout Tampa. Limousine service in such circumstances had been approved by CBS Sports management. The driver logged 90 hours over seven days. The cost to CBS was $4,200.
SI regrets the error.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.