Getting Prepped

I applaud your series on The High School Athlete (Nov. 18). I
coach high school football and baseball. I hope we coaches can
remember that the games are for the players and that this time in
their lives is all too brief and should be enjoyed. I have always
encouraged student-athletes to play and participate in as many
activities as they want. Let the kids find what they like to do,
whether it be football or band or chess.
STEVE RHODEN, Phenix City, Ala.

As a student in a school for gifted children, I know it is very
difficult to balance the academic workload, the obscene amount of
athletic practice time and sleep. One of those three things has
to suffer. My friends who take part in travel-team leagues and
school teams have practically no time to enjoy their weekends and
often get only five hours of sleep. Thank you, Alexander Wolff,
for making this reality come to life.
NICK TAGHER, New York City

I'm a high school baseball coach, and I think multisport athletes
are often much tougher competitors than athletes who specialize
in one sport. A pitcher who had to make a game-winning
three-point shot will be ready to handle a bases-loaded jam.

When a three-sport star specializes in just one sport, it gives
two other athletes a chance to participate.

Raking the Leafs

Thank goodness someone in the media, in this case Michael Farber,
finally wrote an article that knocks the Toronto Maple Leafs (Why
Everyone Hates the Leafs, Nov. 18). They are always featured on
Hockey Night in Canada, their announcers are biased beyond
belief, and their players are put on a pedestal by fans and by
the NHL head office. Thank you for writing about what I, and many
others, have been feeling for a long time.
KEVIN DAWE, Peterborough, Ont.

Everyone may hate the Leafs, but everyone wishes his team played
with their intensity.
York, Pa.

Sorry to disappoint you, but not everyone hates the Leafs. I'm a
die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed the
Maple Leafs' incredible run during last year's playoffs. Band of
whiners? Let's talk New York Rangers. Cheap-shot artists? How
about Scott Stevens?
ADAM WINTERS, Perkasie, Pa.

Farber implied that CBC wanted Toronto to win the 1993 playoff
series against the Kings, ostensibly out of favoritism toward the
Leafs. Well, of course CBC wanted the Leafs to win that series!
If the Leafs had won, it would have been a Toronto-Montreal
Stanley Cup final, a ratings bonanza for CBC.

Everything's Jake

Rick Reilly's column on developmentally challenged Jake Porter
(THE LIFE OF REILLY, Nov. 18) is what sports are all about. We
all knew a Jake Porter when we were in school, but how many of us
were given the opportunity to learn a lesson from him about
generosity, dedication and the sheer joy of playing the game?
KATHY TRAPP,Orange, Calif.

Having worked for 12 years developing vocational opportunities
for people with disabilities, I find Reilly's commentary
patronizing. The whole emphasis today for people with
disabilities is about opportunity, not a free pass.
JIM ZYGMONT, Trumbull, Conn.

Masters and Johnson

Hootie Johnson (AIR AND SPACE, Nov. 18) is right to say that as
long as gender-specific organizations continue to exist in this
country, Augusta National should be allowed to operate as it
desires. Johnson, however, needs to be careful when using
tradition as an argument. Less than a year ago he sent now
infamous letters to past champions Gay Brewer, Billy Casper and
Doug Ford, urging them to no longer participate in the Masters. I
suppose that in Johnson's mind some traditions are worth
preserving, while others are not.
PAUL GRANHOLM, Melbourne, Fla.

When Rushin interviews African-Americans, Latinos, Texans or
Canadians, does he put pronunciation guides in those articles? I
found his use of lines such as "Pronounced, in Johnson's
magnificent Southern accent, as 'ANG-uh THEY-uh'" to be
offensive. Was he trying to belittle Hootie or show us his own
CHARLES POLLARD, Alpharetta, Ga.

Rota Rooter

Bravo to SI for recognizing coach Greg Rota's decision to report
a scoring error that cost his Westborough High (Mass.) golf team
a state title (FACES IN THE CROWD, Nov. 18). Thank you, Coach
Rota, for leading with integrity and teaching your team, and the
rest of us, what sports are really about. You and your team are
champions in my book.

Board Stiffs

If the Klitschkos are so brilliant (The Bruise Brothers, Nov.
18), why are they playing on a chessboard that's improperly set
up? The box on each player's lower right corner should be white.
MARK SHAPIRO, Skokie, Ill.

Playing the Field

After reading about Anaheim's talented reliever Francisco
Rodriguez (Bienvenido, Nene Fran, Nov. 18), one thought struck
me: three kids by two different women by the age of 20? It sounds
like he's been behaving like a major leaguer for a long time.
ARYN SOBO, New York City