Letters

February 03, 2003

Good Sports

Congratulations to you for printing Bill Frakes's photo of the
Buckeyes' Tim Anderson consoling the Canes' Ken Dorsey at the end
of the Fiesta Bowl ("The Best Damn Team ... " Wins the Big One,
Jan. 13). It speaks volumes about the sportsmanship Jim Tressel
has brought back to the Ohio State football program. The picture
is evidence that the current players at Ohio State--those
recruited by both John Cooper and Tressel--understand the
privilege it is to represent the university and to set an example
for their teammates, their fans and the public.
David Dragics, Laurel, Md.

Thank you for placing Craig Krenzel on your cover. He is the
gutsiest player in college football, and he embodies everything
that is great about college sports, on and off the field.
Congratulations to the undefeated national champion Buckeyes.
Joel Albright Columbus, Ohio

Ref Rants

I was impressed by Rick Reilly's sarcastic column on field judge
Terry Porter (The Life of Reilly, Jan. 13). However, Reilly left
out a few other things Porter did to help the Buckeyes beat the
vaunted Hurricanes: He forced five Miami turnovers; he knocked
Willis McGahee out of the game; he allowed OSU to make a
fourth-and-14 in the first OT; and he stopped the high-powered
Hurricanes offense in the second OT when they were first-and-goal
from the two. Thank you, Mr. Porter. Without you, Ohio State
could never have beaten Miami.
Kevin Alten, Cambridge, Ohio

Porter, rather than calling it like he saw it, called it like he
thought he should have seen it and took one of the greatest games
ever in college football away from the players on the field.
John D. Perse, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

If the refs at the Giants-49ers playoff game had taken the same
time as Porter did at the Fiesta Bowl, maybe the NFL game's last
play would also have been called correctly. Rick, taking the time
needed to make a decision usually results in a correct decision,
or don't you remember your hasty decision to sell your Corvette
(THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 10, 2001)?
Denny DeMay, West Lafayette, Ind.

Four seconds. Exactly how long it took me to rip Reilly's article
out of an otherwise outstanding issue.
Colin Boyle, Dublin, Ohio

The only thing more embarrassing than Porter's inexcusable
pass-interference call was his pathetic attempt to explain it.
Jimmy Hodge, Franklin, Tenn.

Referees don't lose football games. Football players lose
football games.
Jay F. Gelbaugh Findlay, Ohio

Lefty's Legacy

Lefty Driesell has often been in the middle of controversy (Last
of the Lefties, Jan. 13), but for Frank Deford to write that "he
never had a single player who went on to star in the NBA" ignores
many great NBA players who were coached by Driesell. Brad Davis,
Len Elmore, Albert King, John Lucas, Tom McMillen and Buck
Williams may never be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame,
but they were all stars in the NBA.
Donald A. Fowler, Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Band Aid

How can Steve Rushin write that marching bands are a bunch of
nerds after all the statistics he had on them (AIR AND SPACE,
Jan. 13)? He noted that stress tests showed these elite musicians
had readings equivalent of world-class marathoners in midrace. He
also says the bands practice 60 hours for every minute they
perform on the field. Maybe Rushin is the true nerd here and
feels as if he's found himself a scapegoat.
Zach Rothstein, Potomac, Md.

Where was Rushin's praise for the sousaphonists back in the late
1980s? When I was first chair tuba for the Irvington (N.Y.) High
School band, his article would have really helped me get all the
hot chicks.
Al Villacara, USAF, Yokota AB, Japan

Too Much, Too Soon?

As I read about LeBron James (The Continuing "Education" of
LeBron James..., Jan. 13), I thought of JaRon Rush, the Kansas
City phenom who in 1994 was called the top high school freshman
in the country, left UCLA in 2000 after his sophomore season and
is now out of basketball. Rush has been vilified in Kansas City
for accepting money and free shoes while attending my high
school, Pembroke Hill. In your story, meanwhile, James is
pictured smiling and stepping out of a limousine. Free shoes?
Heck, James has personalized ones, with armbands and a mouth
guard to match. In Rush's wake, my school--which did not know
about his transgressions--had to forfeit three state titles, was
banned from the playoffs for a year and served two years'
probation. What will happen after the LeBron sweepstakes? Are you
helping James promote himself or simply hurting future
generations of St. Vincent--St. Mary's players?
Quig Bruning, Kansas City, Mo.

I first discovered Drum Corps International when I was 14, and it
changed my life. Rushin does a wonderful job of showing how hard
the average corps member works, but I'd like to add that the
activity is intensely competitive. Even the auditions--sometimes
600 to 1,000 kids vying for 135 spots--are arduous. The season
begins in late November and follows a very rigid schedule. The
tour is equally challenging: Your home is a bus, and your bedroom
is a gym floor. Then there's the ridicule. If I had a dollar for
every time I was called a "band geek," I'd be wealthy. The truth
is, a DCI member is just as much an athlete as a football player,
and it's nowhere near as easy as we make it look. And Mr. Rushin,
Revenge of the Nerds was already released. The nerds won.
Ryan Stroud, Philadelphia

Line Judges

Thanks for giving credit to the most electrifying line the game
of hockey has seen in the past few years (Hat Tricksters, Jan.
13). I've been a Vancouver Canucks fan for 12 years, though I'm
only 16 and live 2,700 miles from Vancouver. Now, what's this I
read about the Canucks being a one-line team?
Alan Hamilton, St. Catharines, Ont.

Michael Farber missed one of the finest lines in hockey history
by not including the Pony Line, who played for the Chicago
Blackhawks in the 1940s: brothers Max and Doug Bentley, along
with Bill Mosienko. The Bentleys won three scoring titles between
them playing for weak Chicago teams, and all three are in the
Hockey Hall of Fame. For all-around talent it would be tough to
beat the Pony Line.
Alex J. Carley, Toronto

By including the Central Red Army's famous KLM line you made it
almost mandatory to include the second most renowned trio in
Russian hockey history: the line of Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure
and Sergei Fedorov.
Kevin Fisher, Perrysburg, Ohio

In the 1990--91 and '91--92 seasons the Penguins won back-to-back
Stanley Cups completely on the strength of their top line: Kevin
Stevens, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. In '91--92 the three
averaged 43 goals and 108 points, and the following season they
averaged 53 goals and 122 points. Lemieux was an alltime great at
the top his game, Jagr was a budding superstar, and Stevens was
the NHL's dominant power forward of the early '90s, the first
player to have 50 goals, 100 points and 200 penalty minutes.
Ryan Cleaver, Silver Spring, Md.

Bad Chemistry

Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells (Are You Kidding Me?, Jan. 13)?
Only the marriage of Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra had less
chance of making it than that of these two egomaniacs.
Jim Lavold, Wauwatosa, Wis.

Further Farewells

A notable omission from your year-end Farewell (Dec. 30--Jan. 6)
to great athletes who passed on in 2002 was Jay Berwanger, who
won the first Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of
Chicago in 1935. Known as the One Man Gang for his excellence at
many positions on both sides of the ball, Berwanger anchored a
team that was usually overmatched. I'd liken Berwanger's career
to Walter Payton's days on a mediocre Chicago Bears team.
Kevin P. Phillips, Downers Grove, Ill.

I loved the year-end issue, but I was sad to see no mention of
the passing of Royals and Cardinals catcher Darrell Porter.
Lee Kimball, Winston-Salem, N.C.

While reading your year-end issue, I was watching a 1991 Seton
Hall--Arizona basketball game on ESPN Classic. There, playing for
Arizona, was Brian Williams, a.k.a. Bison Dele. I find it hard to
believe that his tragic end did not make the top 25 stories of
the year. Not only that, I did not even see his picture in the
farewell section. Give this guy the respect he deserves.
Brian Fais, New Milford, N.J.

Missing from your Farewell was the name of Ray Wietecha. The
offensive captain of the Giants in the late 1950s and early '60s,
he never missed a game in his 10-year career, playing in 124
straight. He was credited with being the first center to make the
long snap with one hand and with his head up so he could watch
the defensive players. Once, when Tommy McDonald was holding for
kicker Lou Groza's practice before a Pro Bowl, McDonald and Groza
halted the warmup and summoned other players to witness that all
of Wietecha's snaps were arriving in McDonald's catching hand in
textbook fashion--with the laces forward, under his fingers, away
from the kicker's foot.
Dick Riggins, Lincoln, Neb.

Gender Defender

Reading your year-end issue (Dec. 30--Jan. 6), I became very
confused. The cover gatefold showed the past year's covers of
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Three females made your covers--an Olympic
speed skater, an Olympic figure skater and a young hockey fan who
died tragically. That's it. Yet in your countdown of the top 25
stories of the year, five women or stories on women's issues were
listed. That's 20% of your list. Using that ratio, women--or
women's issues--should have graced seven more SI covers. At the
very least, Serena Williams deserved a cover.
Holly C. Rouffy, Columbia, S.C.

Not Funny

I enjoyed Steve Rushin's The Stuff You Can't Make Up (Dec.
30--Jan. 6) except for one item. How does Chuck Finley's abuse by
his wife fit into a collection of "bizarre, moronic and
embarrassing" stories? Making fun of victims of domestic abuse,
whether male or female, is beneath you.
Pia Owens, Belmont, Mass.

COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER (COVER) COLOR PHOTO: TAMMY LJUNGBLAD/THE KANSAS CITY STAR 1990s prep star Rush cost his team. B/W PHOTO: AP HEISMAN POSE The trophy was based on this shot of Berwanger.

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