Back to School
This is an article from the Sept. 2, 2002 issue
Your Can't-Miss Games list for the college football season
(COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW, Aug. 12) missed big-time! I read and
reread the list several times--wait, let me check again...nope,
not there--telling myself that sports' greatest rivalry had to be
included. Amazingly, the Nov. 30 Florida versus Florida State
game not only did not receive top ranking but also was nowhere to
BRENT J. MECHLER II, Margate, Fla.
In your appraisal of Chris Simms's Heisman prospects, you quote
his detractors as saying he's "all legacy, no substance." Then
you add, "Hey, it worked for Dubya." I read SI for the sports. If
I want political commentary, I'll read TIME.
JOE MARZIOTTI, Sugar Land, Texas
Wow, I never thought I'd see the day when Nebraska was behind
Washington State and Oregon in a preseason ranking. I love it!
TAYLOR PICKETT, Tualatin, Ore.
To this taxpayer, your feature on luxury services for football
players at publicly funded colleges (Welcome to the Big Time,
Aug. 12) was truly disgusting. Arizona State has a new
16,000-square foot weightlifting center, while the school's
overall budget is being cut by 2.5% and the students who are
there for an education face a 3.9% tuition increase (for
residents, 7.25% for nonresidents). The budget of Michigan State
has been frozen while tuition is rising as much as 8.5%, but I'm
sure students are happy to know that the school's football
players have their own treatment center featuring a $75,000
therapy pool. How many needy students won't get financial aid
while the players lounge in their palaces?
MIKE HANLON, Batavia, Ill.
ASU could pay for a lot of nonrevenue sports with the cost of its
weight room. Perhaps if Vandy football players didn't dine on
lobster linguini the school could afford to have a wrestling
team. Instead of trying to overturn Title IX, maybe Speaker of
the House Denny Hastert and other wrestling coaches should try to
address the real problem--out-of-control football programs.
LINAS NORUSIS, Homer Glen, Ill.
I almost got sick when I saw the spread on the Vanderbilt
football team's training table. That image contrasts sharply with
my memories of making canned spaghetti on a hot plate in my dorm
room. The training-table photograph and the other two pictures of
college football's "ultimate facilities" illustrate the widening
gap between coddled "student-athletes" and regular students.
DAVID R. WILKES, Atlanta
I'm sure that my father's and husband's lifelong dream would be
to run onto the field at LSU's Tiger Stadium (The Best Years of
His Life, Aug. 12). Thank you, John Ed Bradley, for giving me an
insight into how lonely and beautiful that dream could be.
KELLI LACOUR, Ventress, La.
If I had seen John Ed Bradley play football for LSU, would I
remember him? Probably not. After all, he was a center, which is
not exactly a glamour position. But I don't think I will ever
forget the story he told of how hard it is to leave behind the
game he loved so much.
BOB BOEKER, Sherman, Texas
I grew up an LSU fan in New Orleans and listened to Tigers games
on the radio every Saturday. I vividly remember Billy Cannon's
run and the heartbreaking loss to USC. Bradley's article was
touching and taught us that when people mean a great deal to us,
we should let them know.
BOB CISNEROS, Auburn, Ala.
Wheels of Justice
Rick Reilly's Color Scheme (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Aug. 12)
reinforces two things. First, by repeatedly pulling over black
athletes in nice cars, certain, not all, law enforcement officers
continue to practice some form of racial profiling. Second, by
driving his Hummer with expired tags, no driver's license and no
proof of insurance, Ricky Williams continues to use his head only
as a blunt instrument.
LARRY WARRENFELTZ, Pensacola, Fla.
Rick Reilly rightly brings attention to the Driving While Black
phenomenon. We must remember, however, that DWB does not only
affect wealthy athletes. This form of discrimination affects all
black Americans--and members of other minority
groups--regardless of profession, income, type of automobile or
even the area in which they are driving. It is shameful in the
21st century for Americans to be subjected to this type of
humiliation. It's not just athletes who are angry.
CHARLES M. MOORE, Cambridge, Mass.
Rick Reilly is a funny guy--sometimes unintentionally. In Color
Scheme he calls on two rather dubious drivers to support his
theory. Ricky Williams says he has been hassled by police. This
is the same Ricky who was clocked at 126 mph on I-10 a few
months earlier. Then there's Latrell Sprewell, who pleaded no
contest to reckless driving in 1998 after slamming his Mercedes,
traveling at 90 mph, into a car and causing that car to flip.
RICK WEBER, Katy, Texas
I never get pulled over when driving my Hummer, Ferrari, Porsche,
Corvette, Mercedes or Bentley. I also never get questioned when I
check into five-star hotels or fly first class. Then again, I
can't afford any of those things because I don't make an obscene
amount of money for playing a game. Athletes really have it
tough. In the next issue, would you please list an address where
I can send a donation to ease their suffering?
BRETT LEWIS, Knoxville, Tenn.
Should rich black men be exempt from state laws? Absolutely not.
The problem here is with rich, angry, immature people who feel
they are indestructible and then show an attitude with police,
who make less money in a year than they make in a week.
BRUCE DIRENZO, Croydon, Pa.
In 1983, as a photojournalism student at Randolph Community
College in Asheboro, N.C., I selected John Zimmerman (LEADING
OFF, Aug. 12) as the subject of a research project. I learned in
the course of talking with him and seeing his work that he was an
astoundingly inventive technical wizard and a most gracious and
wonderfully funny human being. John's philosophy was to imagine a
photo never seen before and then go about designing whatever
gizmo was required to capture the picture. Nothing was impossible
to him. He was among the first photographers to put a camera in
the net at a hockey game, to use a customized panoramic camera to
shoot athletes in exaggerated action, and to use the military's
Hulcher camera (300-plus frames per second) for sports. We
photographers owe a lot to his innovative spirit.
No Danny Boy
I understand why you chose to publish an update on Danny Almonte
(SCORECARD, Aug. 12), but please, promise it was the last.
Calling this kid a phenom is laughable. I just returned from
coaching a team that finished second in the Amateur Athletic
Union 14-and-under national championships, and in this 38-team
tournament there were hundreds of rule-abiding players who are
far more impressive than Almonte. My team, which comprises boys
from a very small geographic area, has at least four players who
throw harder from 60 feet than Danny did last year pitching from
MIKE HISERMAN, Mission Viejo, Calif.
If John Garrity wants to be an armchair psychologist, he needs to
adopt a more modern approach to mental illness (What's with the
Waggles?, GOLF PLUS, July 15-22). To present a view of Sergio
Garcia as "a nutcase who is only a few thousand regrips shy of
being fitted for a long-sleeved tunic with white straps and
buckles" perpetuates an archaic, stereotypical image of the
mentally ill. The days of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest are
long gone thanks to better therapies, which enable mentally ill
people to function in society. Most people have idiosyncrasies,
but they are not mental illnesses.
PATRICK CARDINALE, New Hartford, N.Y.
Drive, He Said
I think you made a mistake. I saw the following in the GOLF PLUS
section (THE WEEK, Aug. 12): "Hank Kuehne reached the downhill,
644-yard 1st hole at Castle Pines with a 440-yard drive and a
nine-iron to 15 feet. He two-putted for birdie." Shouldn't it
have been This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse?
LEN HOCHBERG, Los Angeles
Voice of the Lakers
I am surprised by your magazine's coverage of Chick Hearn's death
(SCORECARD, Aug. 12). I expected much more than a small
description in the Blotter. Chick was a legend, and he will
forever be remembered as the greatest announcer in any sport.
DANIEL DEHREY, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Sense and Sensibility
Letter writer Todd German (LETTERS, Aug. 12) wonders how
basketball immortal Oscar Robertson came to "sense" that Indiana
Hoosiers coach Branch McCracken didn't want him playing hoops at
IU. To get an idea, maybe German should read baseball Hall of
Famer Bob Gibson's autobiography Stranger to the Game. In it, the
African-American, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher tells of his
experience when he tried to get recruited by Indiana's basketball
team a few years before Robertson. "Finally the reply arrived,"
Gibson wrote. "'Your request for an athletic scholarship for
Robert Gibson has been denied because we already have filled our
quota of Negroes.'" Sounds pretty clear where the "sense" came
from to me.
GREGORY KANE, Baltimore
If Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (SCORECARD, Aug. 12) wants to be
considered a crime boss in the mold of Capone, Lansky or even
Tony Soprano, he should fix a tennis tournament so that Anna
GARY DUFF, Granite City, Ill.