Winning or losing when you give your best effort is admirable.
It shows class. Quitting while you struggle is pathetic.
--LOUIS PATTON, Los Angeles
This is an article from the Nov. 22, 1999 issue
I'd rather give a scholarship to a cheerleader than one to a
football player who is going to get thrown in jail.
--ROGER SCHONDER, Smyrna, Ga.
OFF TO THE GLUE FACTORY
It's obvious that more than Terrell Davis and John Elway is
missing from the Broncos lineup (Going Nowhere, Oct. 11). That
Denver players laughed about their 0-4 start and subsequently
wrote off the season was insulting to Broncos fans everywhere.
Team leaders like Elway, Davis and Steve Atwater would never
have allowed teammates to give up, much less publicly make light
of Denver's woes. It wasn't talent alone that made the Broncos
champions, it was leadership, determination and pride that
carried them through the past two Super Bowl-winning seasons.
PATRICK LEON, Green Bay
First, Michael Silver interviewed players after they lost one of
the best running backs in the NFL, Davis, to a knee injury.
Second, he interviewed players after a tough loss to the Jets.
Third, and probably worst, he interviewed players at a
bar-restaurant after they probably had had a few drinks.
MICHAEL FOEGEN, Aurora, Colo.
BLOW BOBBY A KISS
What a marvelous story on Bobby Valentine (Happy Valentine's
Day, Oct. 11). Now there's a lovable, salty manager. Apparently
his critics choose not to recognize the passion, refreshing
honesty and humor Bobby brings to the game.
LESLIE HOFER, Port Angeles, Wash.
As a Stamfordite who as a boy asked his father to slow the car
down so that we could gaze at the "baseball lights" in front of
Valentine's house, I am glad to see that Bobby has retained the
characteristics so many of us admired: perseverance and loyalty.
In an age of instant gratification, our hometown boy continues
to make us proud.
JOHN F. LEYDON JR., Stamford, Conn.
As the only young woman in my high school's class of 1985 who
refused to take home economics and become a Cougarette, let me
give three cheers for Rick Reilly (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 18).
Reilly will be pleased to know that, when asked what she would
most like to be when she grows up, my four-year-old daughter
announced, "a Lady Techster or a New York Yankee." I hope I can
keep her on the straight and narrow--and off the top of a giant
MICHELLE GREEN JIMMERSON, Ruston, La.
For years, as a high school coach and teacher, I have been
ambivalent about cheerleading. Finally, Reilly provides clarity
and perspective. It is a dumb activity. I have watched hundreds
of games and have always been amazed to note how disconnected
cheerleaders are from the action. I'm happy that the traditions
at the school where I teach discourage cheerleading and
encourage athletic participation by all students. I am even more
delighted that my daughter practices her jump shot rather than
BRUCE V. BAILEY, Seattle
Thank god that my parents encouraged my sister and me to get on
the field like our five brothers, rather than to put on
ridiculous outfits and cheer for them from the sideline. I would
not have achieved half the things that I have so far were it not
for the lessons I learned in sports.
CELESTE M. MELLET, New York City
Reilly's article was great!
MEREDITH NAHRA, Kansas City, Mo.
I'd be more interested in what Reilly's little girl or some of
her girlfriends have to say about cheerleading. I'm sure it
would be much more insightful and a whole lot less mean-spirited.
JOE SCLAFANI, Reading, Pa.
Reilly shows a lack of understanding of how hard these
student-athletes work. I am a high school football official in
Michigan and the proud father of two high school cheerleaders,
and I have given up varsity football assignments to be present
at my daughters' games. The impact their participation has had
on their self-confidence and their willingness to work hard and
sacrifice to achieve team goals is a joy to behold.
GERRY EDGAR, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
I'm not a fan of cheerleading scholarships, but is it really any
less idiotic for a college to say, "Sorry, Ma'am, we just gave
away your son's chemistry scholarship, but you should have seen
Billy here hit a ball with a stick!"
MICHAEL FOX, New York City
Reilly's right. Cheerleading is pointless, unnecessarily
dangerous and even dumb. Thank goodness we have quarterbacks
working on a cure for cancer and goalies confronting global
Reilly's article brought back fond memories of my daughter's
early childhood. At age six Nicole was playing indoor soccer. I
asked her if she would like to participate in the cheerleader
camp at the local high school. She said she wanted to play
sports, not cheer for them. Now she is a freshman in high school
participating in volleyball and swimming. She enjoys watching
the cheerleaders on the sideline. I am so grateful for the
opportunities our daughters have that we did not.
KAREN PAGELER, Parker, Colo.
What can a cheerleader look forward to? Personally, I've had
great seasons with the world champion Denver Broncos and the San
Francisco 49ers. I directed the performance at the Women's World
Cup final and the Men's World Cup in France. I've rocked
70,000-plus crowds in Berlin, Barcelona, London, Mexico City,
Montreal and cities all over the U.S. for more than 30 teams in
five sports. Recently, I stood in the tunnel with John Elway
before his jersey retirement, and I coached my seventh NFL Pro
Bowl Cheerleader Team in Hawaii. From a former high school
cheerleader with six varsity letters in tennis and cheerleading,
Reilly, get off my skirt!
Director of the NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleaders
In my eight years as a certified athletic trainer, I've worked
with athletes in football, soccer and other sports accused of
controlled bloodletting, but I must say that some of the worst
injuries I've witnessed occurred in competitive cheerleading.
From torn ACLs to broken arms to skull fractures, I've seen a
lot. And I always end up asking, "Why?"
RAY CARROLL, Louisville
NO ORDINARY JOE
I want to thank Ivan Maisel for his piece on Georgia Tech's Joe
Hamilton (Short Story, Oct. 11). In these days when many college
players are just getting by in school until they are eligible
for the NFL draft, it was refreshing to read about a quarterback
who cares about more than that. The picture with his grandfather
and the stories of his hometown were indicative of his fine
KYLE R. NAGEL
My respect for the human body was increased by the picture of
Russia's Alina Kabaeva at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics
Championships (SCORECARD, Oct. 11). My respect for the human
mind was decreased by the picture of the raccoon dangling over
the hounds at the United Sportsman's Club field trial (LEADING
OFF, Oct. 11).
JOANNE SIMPSON, West Hartford
ONE TO WATCH
I realize that many in the U.S. are disappointed in the outcome
of the 1999 World Gymnastics Championships in China (INSIDE
OLYMPIC SPORTS, Oct. 25). However, you failed to mention a young
lady who proved that she has the skills to take on the best in
the world. Elise Ray finished eighth in the individual
all-around and seventh in the uneven bar final. With a little
fine-tuning, she will contend for a medal in Sydney.
GLENETTA COLLIER, Helotes, Texas
NOTHING TO CHEER ABOUT
I am an avid SI reader, a die-hard football addict and a female
athlete. I was never a cheerleader, but I think it was an
absolute waste of paper and ink for Rick Reilly to devote his
column to insulting those people who support others.
--JAIMIE K. VIETH, Missoula, Mont.