Your article Out of Bounds (Nov. 30) did the public a big disservice by glorifying idiots like Robin Ficker. Ficker and other hecklers think it's funny to abuse members of the opposing team, but he and his obnoxious cohorts never give a thought to the fans who sit near them.
I have been a 49er season-ticket holder for 25 years. The first 20 were wonderful. Five years ago a heckler began sitting in the seat behind me. All game long he stands and yells at the visiting players. By the end of the game he has lost his voice. Because he stands for most of the game, he blocks the view of the people behind him. He is so loud that the people in front of him are half deaf by game's end and have headaches from the relentless noise. With the cost to see pro sports being so high, fans should not have to suffer while watching games.
Mountain View, Calif.
Ficker a sports fan? Puh-leeze! He is no different than a hired assassin. To suggest that this man is able to affect the outcome of a game is absurd and insulting to the players.
I have had the misfortune to sit near Bullet "fan" Ficker, and I admit he is funny—for about five minutes. After that, he makes me wish I had not bought courtside tickets. An NBA arena is the only place someone like Ficker can get away with standing inches away from a seven-foot-tall man and yelling insults at him. I find this sad. Reading about his treatment of his own children at track meets makes it even worse.
CURT J. HOLLMANN
December 28, 1992
The only one of the three fanatical fans described in your story who's worth any consideration is Marianne Krebs, the Cleveland Brown fanatic. Still, she is no more than a diehard football fan, just like thousands of other folks. What's unusual is that she is female. As for Ficker, who greets a visitor with a press kit and his own heckling highlights film, and Jim Levee, the wealthy fan of women's tennis who showers players with expensive gifts of cash, jewelry and cars, they are nothing more than attention seekers who don't deserve any attention at all.
I have just finished Mike Capuzzo's story about Hank Aaron (A Prisoner of Memory, Dec. 7). I have the utmost admiration for Aaron. Anyone who had that much hate thrown at him and still played great baseball is No. 1 in my book.
One of the fondest memories of my childhood is of a spring day in 1974 when I opened a pack of baseball cards and found one of Hank Aaron. Being a white male teenager from the Midwest, I hadn't had experience with racism. All I knew was that I had the card of one of the greatest baseball players ever.
Your article brought tears to my eyes—tears of shame to think that people could act so hatefully and inflict such pain simply because of a man's race. Let us never forget that ignorance breeds hate. By the way, I still have that baseball card. God bless you, Hank Aaron.
We're Not UCLA
In response to your Nov. 23 story about Troy State (SCOUTING REPORTS)—where in the world did you hear the school described as UCLA: Unknown College in Lower Alabama? I am an alumnus of Troy State and was a member of its 1984 Division II national championship football team, and I have never seen or heard of this acronym. If we are so unknown, how come we have sellers of national championship rings beating down our doors? All told, Troy State has won three national championships in football (the other two came in 1968, an NAIA title, and in '87); two in baseball ('86 and '87); three in men's golf ('76, '77 and '84); and three in women's golf for small schools ('84, '86 and '89).
Tarpon Springs, Fla.
The admiration and respect I have for Duke's Bobby Hurley was beautifully put into words by Rick Telander (Greetings from Jersey City, Nov. 23). After leading the Blue Devils to three NCAA championship games in three seasons, Hurley deserved a story that told the nation what a class act he is. The gutty point guard is everything a sports figure should be.
X Marks the Spot
I noticed that in a photograph accompanying your piece about Charles Barkley (Hot Head, Nov. 9), Xavier McDaniel of the Boston Celtics was sporting an X on his sneakers. What's up? Did he fashion the symbol himself, or is he wearing a new type of shoe? More important, is the X a tribute to himself as the X-Man, or to Malcolm X and Spike Lee's new film? We cheered the X-Man's acting debut earlier this year in the movie Singles. Is it possible that he had a cameo role in Malcolm X?
•The X-Man's acting career has not progressed beyond his cameo appearance as himself in Singles. The X on his sneaker is the logo of a shoe manufacturer, Xanthus, with whom McDaniel signed in May.—ED.
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