Sportsman of the Year?
This is an article from the Nov. 14, 1988 issue
000 000 000rel Hershiser!
Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda for Sportsmen of the Year. Without any one of the three, the Dodgers would not have won their division, much less the National League pennant and the World Series.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
San Ramon, Calif.
Rick Telander's article (Sports Behind the Walls, Oct. 17) reinforces beliefs I have preached for years: Correctional recreation is the finest tool for managing our prison populations and for bridging the gap between prisons and society. It costs less to build recreation departments in existing facilities and thereby lessen the tensions caused by prison overcrowding than it does to build new institutions or rebuild old ones.
RICKY A. MCINTOSH
Federal Correctional Institution
El Reno, Okla.
Thanks for the terrific story. I hope the public realizes that some societal malcontents are in here using their energies in competitive pursuit, and not in learning new tricks of the criminal trade. My sports career ended in an automobile accident in 1979; I broke my leg in three places and had to have a steel staple put in my Achilles tendon, which limits my ability to run. Before that, I was an all-state outfielder in Michigan and won an athletic scholarship to Eastern Michigan University. During the summer of '78 I worked alongside Al Kaline and Mickey Lolich as an instructor at their summer baseball camp. In addition, I played outfield for a team in a Detroit amateur league, where I got a key home run off Orel Hershiser to force a championship playoff. So some of us inmates did have a bit of glory within our grasp before we took a wrong turn.
Incarceration (I'm serving time for aggravated robbery) takes away a person's freedom, but it will never erase the athletic competitiveness that is ingrained in every American soul. I'm now a member of the Texas Department of Corrections championship softball team. We take pride in being the 10 best players in this system of 39,000 inmates.
BRUCE (THE GOOSE) PILBEAM
Inmate No. 396741, Ferguson Unit
As a corrections officer at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, I enjoyed your article. One thing you left out is that sports programs make working conditions safer for the guards and the civilians employed by prisons. The more sports and other activities, the less idle time inmates have; and the more occupied they are, the easier our job is.
I read the article with mixed feelings. The psychological tension created by incarceration in our chronically overcrowded prisons demands a release found only through intense activity. Physical exercise is one outlet, intellectual pursuits are another. The paradox of allowing violent criminals to lift weights to increase their size, which, in turn, allows them to become more violent, brings into focus a fundamental issue in the penal system: Are we reforming, reeducating or retooling convicted felons? Telander has given us new views on a subject that is in dire need of understanding and compassion. My only criticism is that the article refers to Brave New World as a book by George Orwell. It was written by Aldous Huxley.
JOHN B. LICATA
BARRY SANDERS IS O.K.
It's wonderful to see such a fine person as Oklahoma State tailback Barry Sanders finally get the respect he deserves (Quiet Cowboy Ridin' High, Oct. 17). In his quest to find a Sanders quote worth mentioning, however, it seems Rick Reilly missed one that reveals much about Sanders's character. When asked by Daily Oklahoman sportswriter John Rohde whom he fears and idolizes, Sanders answered, "I fear and idolize God, because he can control your destiny." With the national spotlight on him every week, Sanders maintains his priorities and defends his convictions, never taking the credit for his incredible talent or his great success. How refreshing to see a humble person in a sport where big egos and fake heroes are commonplace.
NICHOLAS P. CUNNINGHAM
Why does the NHL give such a low priority to the interest in pro hockey across the U.S. (Old Story, New Look, Oct. 10)? All summer I looked forward to enjoying the 1988-89 season on TV, only to find I will not be able to see any games because ESPN lost its bid to telecast the NHL. That effectively shuts me out. It's not practical for many of us to invest in satellite dishes or to buy round-trip tickets to a town where big league hockey is played. Can't the NHL make some kind of a deal with ESPN or with the networks to show games in areas not covered by SportsChannel or other regional cable outlets? Give us back hockey on TV—soon.
MARION M. FEELEY
Now that the World Series is over (Destiny's Boys, Oct. 31), I thought your readers might be interested in seeing this 1973 yearbook picture of Dodger star Orel Hershiser as a member of the Cherry Hill (N.J.) High East Junior Classical League, a Latin club. Orel—top row, right (see my arrow)—was in ninth grade at the time. Although we were not close friends, we did sit next to each other in Algebra I.
LORI DOLICH SCHULSINGER
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