Women's Olympic hockey was an exciting example of how the game
should be played.
--J.M. ALLARD, Savannah

SNOWBOARDING

Rick Reilly's article about snowboarding was right on the mark
(THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 23). I'm sure snowboarding is
difficult, requiring skill, coordination and a high tolerance
for pain, but allowing it in the Winter Olympics makes as much
sense as having the best pinball players in the world gather in
Sydney in 2000. It seems every Olympics adds a ridiculous sport.
BRYAN ANDERSON, Edina, Minn.

Disqualifying a snowboarder for allegedly using marijuana, as
was temporarily the fate of Canadian gold medalist Ross
Rebagliati, is like disqualifying a figure skater for using
mascara.
ANGUS MACDONALD, Concord, Calif.

Snowboarding gave people who do not understand the games played
by America's youth a chance to get into our culture and become
interested in the things we like to do. If the best that Reilly
can write is a one-sided opinion of a great sport, then he has
no life.
FRANK STEC, Joliet, Ill.

Like Reilly, I took a keen interest in the snowboarders'
contributions to our language, but Reilly missed two of my
favorites: stoked and tricks. Hardly an interview occurred in
which a snowboarder didn't say, "I was really stoked after
hitting all my tricks." Well put, dude.
BARTH KECK, Branford, Conn.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

You argue that "putting women in the rink was a mistake" because
of the lack of competitive teams worldwide (SCORECARD, Feb. 16).
Perhaps no new sport should be considered until certain
participation criteria are met, but I for one enjoyed watching
this talented and energetic group of amateur athletes.
SARAH KRUGER, McFarland, Wis.

Women's hockey gives girls something else to look toward. I have
a seven-year-old sister who loves the sport, and now she too has
Olympic aspirations. She doesn't have to lace up figure skates
every time she hits the ice.
CRAIG PINTO, Jericho, N.Y.

Before you sneer at the apparent lack of competitive play in
women's hockey, you might look at some scores from 1924 when
men's hockey was first played at the Winter Games. Canada beat
teams by scores of 33-0, 30-0 and the like. If the lack of
competition hurts a sport so much, why was the basketball Dream
Team such a success in 1992?
DAVID J. SHOEN, Norwood, N.Y.

THUGGERY

William Nack's story about the murder of NFL star Bennie
Thompson's ex-wife and son was tragic (Presumed Guilty, Feb. 2).
A message to Thompson was clear: If you style yourself as a
thug, you will be treated like a thug. Thompson had no
responsibility whatsoever in the deaths, but when you take into
account his license plate reading DEATH ROW, the careless way he
had made death threats toward his ex-wife and his possession of
an illegally purchased 9-mm automatic assault weapon that
mysteriously disappeared, it's amazing that the police didn't
issue an arrest warrant for him.

Public perception is everything. The manner in which Thompson
lived his life brought undue suspicion upon him during his time
of personal tragedy.
DETECTIVE CHRISTOPHER A. HIESTER
Violent Crimes Task Force
Police Department
Baltimore

As Director of Trial Advocacy at the Queens County (N.Y.)
District Attorney's Office, I am planning to use this story as a
training tool for our newly hired assistant prosecutors.
STEVEN SCHWARTZ, Kew Gardens, N.Y.

COLOR PHOTO: RON FREHM/AP [Pat LaFontaine and opposing player in game]

COMEBACK KID

I agree with most of Pierre McGuire's midseason award selections
(INSIDE THE NHL, Feb. 23), but he deserves a cross-check into
the boards for failing to name Pat LaFontaine the Comeback
Player of the Year. LaFontaine has made an amazing return to
action after suffering a concussion, his fifth, last season that
was so severe that it was widely assumed that he'd never play in
the NHL again. Instead, he is second in scoring for the Rangers
and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
OWEN LOCKWOOD, Fairfield, Conn.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)