Dec. 08, 1997
Dec. 08, 1997

Table of Contents
Dec. 8, 1997

Faces In The Crowd
Special Report


Wrestling, one of the world's oldest and proudest sports, is
unheralded by most Americans, but it is the life of the minority
who embrace it.

This is an article from the Dec. 8, 1997 issue Original Layout


Leigh Montville's report on the championships was the next best
thing to being there (All Guts, No Glory, Nov. 3). Stories about
true athletes like wrestlers are more interesting than those
about pampered millionaires in the NBA, the NFL and major league
NEAL DOROW, Cambridge, Mass.

Thank you for your coverage of the wrestling world
championships. America thinks this sport is peopled by Ric
Flairs and Hulk Hogans. The real wrestlers are the Zeke Joneses
and Tom Eriksons. Wouldn't it be wonderful to watch Erikson and
the Hulkster step on the mat for one minute without ropes?
FRED BAUER, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

I loved Leigh Montville's article on the World Freestyle
Wrestling Championships in Siberia, but I was left hanging.
After taking a very interesting look at the meet and heavyweight
wrestler Tom Erikson, Montville left out the end of the story:
What happened to Erikson after he lost the heartbreaker to the
19-year-old Cuban? Did he get the bronze?
HERB BUWALDA, Muncie, Ind.

--Erikson came in fourth. The bronze went to Russia's David
Musolbes. --ED.


Anglos Stay Home might have been a more fitting headline for
Michael Bamberger's report on the Major League Soccer Cup
(United They Stood, Nov. 3). The article makes MLS sound like
some weird niche league whose players and spectators are
exclusively Spanish-speaking people and therefore not quite
deserving of attention from real American sports fans. Soccer,
however, is a world sport. Its audiences are more cosmopolitan
than those found at most American sporting events. Indeed, that
diversity is one of the things that make attending MLS games
such a delight.
JOHN DORSEY, Washington, D.C.

I suspect the inclination to put a foreign face on soccer is
part of a lingering media bias against the sport. But soccer is
now American. More U.S. kids play the game today than any other
organized sport. My three young sons don't ask me about Emmitt
Smith, Dennis Rodman or Cal Ripken. They want to know about
Eddie Pope, Marco Etcheverry and Tony Sanneh. They didn't care
who won the World Series. They wanted to know whether the U.S.
was going to qualify for the World Cup.
ED FOSTER-SIMEON, Woodbridge, Va.


We applaud William Nack's acumen, candor and perception in
assessing the ongoing Mississippi Rebel flag controversy (Point
After, Nov. 3). It's time for Ole Miss to look forward, not
backward, and certainly not away from the negative image that
the Confederate flag conveys.
Oxford, Miss.

It is unfortunate that most of those who wave the Rebel flag
don't recognize what it means. It is even more unfortunate that
there are those who wave it who do recognize what it means.
JAMES SCHLABACH, West Lafayette, Ind.

Not everyone who displays the Confederate battle flag is a
racist, although William Nack clearly implies otherwise. The
great majority wave the flag not only to celebrate a unique
heritage but also to honor the men who fought and died defending
that banner. I concede that "symbols, like pointed sticks, can
hurt." Just ask Native Americans whose ancestors suffered at the
hands of the U.S. Army that proudly flew the good old Stars and
TY GOODWIN, Jackson, Tenn.


I was disappointed that Washington State fans made your losers
section for not filling Martin Stadium's 37,600 seats (Inside
College Football, Nov. 3). The truth is, Cougars fans are some
of the best around. The town of Pullman (pop. 24,643), where
Washington State is located, cannot fill Martin Stadium. For the
Cougars to sell out, more than 10,000 people have to come from
out of town, and the nearest big city is one hour away. The
stadium may not sell out, but Washington State fans are not
ERIN NIEMANN, Pullman, Wash.

COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER Real wrestler Jones (red) lost his first match at the Worlds.[Zeke Jones and opponent wrestling]