Letters

December 23, 2002

Bowl-Bound Buckeyes

Ohio State unstoppable (Next Stop: Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 2)? Let
them play Iowa and see how unstoppable they are. This Michigan
fan hopes Ohio State gets run over by Miami. Either way--win or
lose--their fans will probably riot again.
JULIE HESELSCHWERDT, Jackson, Mich.

Earlier this year you suggested that Ohio State might be "a year
away" from winning the national championship (No. 1 Priority,
Oct. 21). I now realize you meant that the Buckeyes would have to
wait until a few days after the New Year to bring the title back
to Columbus. Congratulations on your very astute prediction!
STEPHEN A. SILVER, Concord, Calif.

Destiny's Darling

As someone who lost his only brother in the World Trade Center
attacks, I have lived with a deafening white noise of aloneness
ever since. I had not identified it as such until I read Devard
Darling's heroic story (Soul Survivor, Dec. 2). Darling's
perseverance and SI's expert reporting have provided me with a
spiritual connection back to my fallen brother.
JORDAN WALLENS, Los Angeles

Fans of Washington State football have long known that Mike Price
might take a chance on a talented football player whom other
schools didn't want. I'm glad Price took a chance on one who may
have a medical problem. Playing football is obviously a necessary
part of Devard's therapy for dealing with the loss of his
brother.
JEFF APPELGATE, Prosser, Wash.

Bobby Bowden called Devaughn Darling "a role model" because he
"actually worked himself to death." Clearly, Coach Bowden, you
didn't learn your lesson.
JASON MAZDA, Berwyn, Pa.

I will never cheer for Florida State again. Since I am an
identical twin, this story really hit home. During the Gulf War
my twin brother and I were in the Navy Seabees. We often worked
near the border of Iraq but rarely saw each other. During that
time I was always searching for my twin. Devard, I am so sorry
about what happened. I am so ashamed of the way FSU handled it
that, after I read the story, I gave all of my FSU paraphernalia
away.
DONNY DAMPIER, Danville, Ky.

Annika's Army

Thanks for your story on the most dominant pro athlete competing
today (The Amazing Annika, Dec. 2). I have watched Sorenstam play
great golf, sign countless autographs and pose for innumerable
snapshots. It's clear that she--unlike Tiger Woods--is aware that
a great champion is measured not only by the tournaments she
wins.
ROBB VOGEL, Madison, Wis.

The box comparing Sorenstam with Tiger missed an interesting
stat. You should have listed the number of pages in SI devoted to
Tiger versus the number of SI pages devoted to Annika.
DAVE SHUPE, Redmond, Wash.

Gobble, Gobble

There was a glaring omission in Steve Rushin's column on
competitive eating (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 2). The proprietor of
Mickey Mantle's restaurant in New York City, Bill Liederman, made
his rookie appearance in the International Federation of
Competitive Eating's Thanksgiving Eat-Off this year. He finished
fifth, polishing off 4 1/2 plates of Thanksgiving dinner in 12
minutes, outdistancing several world eating champions. I have
covered sports for more than four decades; for me, Liederman's
eat-in ranks second in thrills only to a Mantle home run off the
top of the Yankee Stadium facade in 1963.
MAURY ALLEN, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Class Action

I really enjoyed the series on high school sports, particularly
Class Struggle (Dec. 2). I was fortunate enough to coach the 1994
boys' basketball state champions, South Bend Clay. Every day I am
thankful that our championship was before class--or is it
classless?--basketball. Indiana still has basketball, but Indiana
Basketball is gone forever.
TOM DEBAETS, South Bend

Don't blame sparse crowds entirely on a different tournament
structure. In 1954, when Milan won the Indiana state
championship, my high school, Pompton Lakes (N.J.), had four
sports, all for boys. Now 25 sports are common in area high
schools, with 75 levels of teams, including varsity, jayvee and
freshman. It's not that students aren't interested in watching
someone else play but that they are more interested in playing
than watching.
DAVE VANDERBUSH, Ridgewood, N.J.

All the Indiana High School Athletic Association has done is
teach kids that if something is too hard to accomplish, just get
the rules changed so that everyone can win. Now, if we could just
get the IHSAA to make the real world easier, we all would be for
that!
PATRICK BRAWNER, Corydon, Ind.

I'm a Hoosier who played high school basketball under the
one-class system in 1980--84. The goal of my 240-student school
was to win sectionals because we knew it would be a miracle to
get further. Twice I experienced the joy of winning a sectional
only to face one of the biggest schools in the state, Bloomington
South, at the regional. We were psychologically beaten before the
tip-off. I now live in a different small Indiana community that
proudly has won a basketball class championship. I only wish I
had had the same opportunity to play under a class system.
KAREN WAGNER, Nappanee, Ind.

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS

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