GOD AND THE SUPER BOWL
To see these men humbly drop to their knees and pay homage to
God for His intervention in their lives is impressive (Does God
Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?, Jan. 26). I commend them for
their conviction. As a high school basketball coach, I have
often led my team in prayer. We never pray for victory. We pray
for the safety of the competitors and give thanks for our
Timothy P. Lange, Altamont, N.Y.
I find it distressing to see noted theologians limit the
Almighty's ability and set His priorities for Him. The issues
that make the headlines and tear at our heartstrings are not
diminished because God controls the events of our everyday
lives, including athletic contests, using circumstances to bless
and teach us. An omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful God can
be involved in everything, even if the idea is beyond our
Bob Topp, Annapolis, Md.
It may seem silly to us to pray over a football game, but this
is the athlete's livelihood.
Jody Mincey, Rome, Ga.
To suggest that God really cares about the outcome of a sporting
event is preposterous. Conservatively, 20 million people in the
U.S. went to bed hungry on Super Bowl Sunday. A God who cares
about the outcome of the Super Bowl is not a God I ever want to
Luke De Roeck, Chicago
I wonder how many of those football players who pray for a win
"only as a way to bring glory to God" give 10% of their
paychecks to the glory of God.
Steve Wagner, Newton, Mass.
Whenever a Christian player points to the sky, kneels in the end
zone or prays on the sideline, I am reminded of the Pharisees
condemned by Christ in Matthew 6:1 for praying on street
corners: "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order
to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father
Reverend Robert M. Raabe, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.
I worked in a legal, regulated Nevada sports book from 1980 to
'96. I also worked for five months during '96 in an offshore
sports book in the Caribbean that handled both telephone and
Internet wagering (All Bets Are Off, Jan. 26). It was licensed,
by the government of Grenada, but not regulated. Please
understand that "licensed" in the offshore sense is not the same
as "regulated" in the Nevada sense. In Nevada, a public
authority ensures customers that a sports book observes approved
and posted terms and conditions. In offshore, what odds are paid
on what types of bets are subject to change without notice.
Nevada casino operators and the Nevada congressmen should lead
the effort to legalize Internet and telephone gambling. Bring
these and future technological advances into the worldwide
gambling industry's most proven regulatory environment. The Kyl
bill to prohibit Internet gambling is not the solution. Offer
customers the alternative of regulated venues and then let the
Terry Cox, Reno
I have placed bets on sporting events for five years by means of
the Internet and telephone with sports books based in Antigua,
Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom. I
paid a price for this convenience. Language barriers, slow or
improper payouts, lack of consistent management and regulation
are just a few of the problems. As a consumer you have no
recourse for lost funds or less than honest service.
Experience has taught me that if I walk into a casino, at least
the only money I'll lose is money that I've actually bet.
Charles T. Parkhurst, Phoenix
We all want to feel special when we win, and to have an excuse
when we lose. Holding the Big Guy accountable for both
conveniently satisfies all our needs.
--Dean Hinitz, Reno
CHASE FOR THE HALL?
Ted Williams and Bob Feller should amend their petition to make
Shoeless Joe Jackson eligible for the Hall of Fame (Scorecard,
Feb. 2) to include Hal Chase (right). Chase's credentials are
impeccable. He was the game's best fielding first baseman in his
day, and in 1916 he led the National League in batting (.339)
and hits (184).
The knock on Chase has been that although he was never brought
to trial, he was involved in the 1919 World Series scandal, but
since Williams and Feller note that a jury cleared Jackson and
his henchmen, Chase couldn't have fixed it. There was no fix.
Furthermore, unlike Jackson, Chase never admitted to fixing a
game, much less a Series. If Shoeless Joe should be eligible,
how in the name of Judge Landis should Prince Hal not be too?
John McCormack, Dallas