Letters

March 01, 1993

Anniversary of a Tragedy
Just as Leigh Montville had to write One Year Later...(Jan. 25) in broken segments, I could read only a few paragraphs of his story at a time. I remember the details of the Notre Dame swim team's bus accident, which I had heard and read about in the news last year. As an athlete in college, I, too, have boarded a bus several times and have driven vans filled with teammates down icy highways. My thoughts and prayers are with these women for their full physical and emotional recovery.
PETER J. GASPARINI
Evanston, Ill.

As a member of the Notre Dame women's swim team from 1982 to '86, I found that the tragedy of a year ago struck close to home. How many routine bus trips on snow-covered roads did my team endure? I cried while I read and reread Montville's article. Although I can't forget about the accident or stop speculating about what might have been, I know that the Notre Dame spirit is a powerful healing force. Best wishes to coach Tim Welsh and the team for their continued progress.
JOAN BURKE
Niskayuna, N.Y.

Many of us at Lehigh University read the story with heartfelt emotion. In the article, the U.S. swimming community was described as a "close group" and the Notre Dame women's swimming family as "terrific people." Both characterizations are too modest. This fall a member of our team died of a heart attack after practice. As the team began the process of trying to cope with the loss, we, too, were greatly comforted by the support of the U.S. swimming community. One of the first people we heard from was Notre Dame coach Tim Welsh. Such thoughtful advice and kind words could have come only from someone who had experienced a similar loss.

When returning to the pool became difficult for our swimmers, we received a wall-sized card from the Notre Dame team. It was filled with expressions of love, support and understanding.

The U.S. swimming community and the Notre Dame coach and team are the best of what college athletics has to offer. We can't thank or praise them enough.
CHRIS MARSHALL
Swimming Coach
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pa.

Montville's article makes one forget about all the garbage that is written about Notre Dame because of its football success and TV contracts. This is the true spirit of Notre Dame.
DON NEWSHAM
Wheaton, Ill.

Papa Bear
Rick Telander's article Too Much to Bear (Jan. 18) nicely summarized Mike Ditka's coaching accomplishments, his failings and the tumultuous week of his firing. Left unanswered, however, is the question for Chicago fans of whether winning will be nearly as fun or losing at all tolerable without Ditka.

I think not.
TIMOTHY J. STORY
Indianapolis

Thanks to Norman Chad for his TELEVISION column (Jan. 18) about Mike Ditka. As a Chicago sports fan, I'm tired of seeing Ditka's mug on every TV commercial and highway billboard in the metropolitan area. Maybe if he had spent more time developing game plans and less time on commercials and self-promotion, he would have gone 11-5 last season instead of 5-11. He got what he deserved.
DAVID G. JONES
Crystal Lake, Ill.

It's a shame that the media continue to attack Mike Ditka. Chad must never have seen Ditka's postgame interviews or the Mike Ditka Show here in Chicago. Ditka's humor and outspokenness have won over the whole town. He will not become a "low-wattage broadcaster," as Chad prematurely predicts. Ditka's outgoing personality will fit perfectly in the announcers' booth.
JIM SLOAN
Riverside, Ill.

Martha's Vineyard
Correction
In last week's issue we credited the wrong photographer for the six swimsuit pictures taken on Martha's Vineyard (pages 84-91). The credit should have gone to Paul Lange (left).—ED.

PHOTOJULIA STERN PHOTO

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.

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