Letters

February 17, 2003

The Line King

As a Purdue and Pacers fan stuck here in the supposed cultural
Siberia of central Indiana, I couldn't help but take exception to
your statistical inaccuracy when describing Yao Ming's free throw
percentage (Really Big Show, Jan. 27) as "best among the league's
starting centers." Going into the All-Star break the Pacers' Brad
Miller is shooting them at .817, while Yao is at .774, with 40
fewer attempts.
DALE STOUFFER, Wabash, Ind.

Super Hero

I thought it was wonderfully appropriate for you to include
Tonelli's Run, the story of Notre Dame's heroic fullback, Motts
Tonelli, surviving the Bataan Death March and WWII internment, in
your pre--Super Bowl edition (Jan. 27). You have shown us the
real value of athletic competition--the development of
character--during a time of the year when most fans succumb to
the hype and superficiality of Super Bowl activities. Tonelli's
Notre Dame class ring, shown on page 76 of the issue, outshines
all the diamond-encrusted Super Bowl rings in LEADING OFF. Thanks
for putting things in perspective.
THOMAS B. PETERSEN Eagle River, Ark.

I told myself, "You don't need SI in the Internet age. The news
is outdated by the time you get it." Then I read Tonelli's
Run--and remembered reading Soul Survivor (Dec. 2), the story of
Washington State receiver Devard Darling, and Higher Education
(March 5, 2001), about the black basketball coach in the Amish
town in Ohio. Now I know why I keep reordering this outdated
magazine.
STEVE WAITE, Columbus, Ohio

My husband and I were fortunate to be able to call Motts our
friend. I would phone him every year on Memorial Day and Veterans
Day to say thank you for all he did for our country. Each time
Motts would reply, "Ah, Kiddo, I didn't do anything. I was just
one of the lucky ones." It's good to remember the real heroes in
our lives. Number 58--forever in our hearts.
MARTHA C. MINAHAN, Tampa

What Women Want

As an active 55 year-old woman with four daughters who have all
been college athletes, I cried as I read aloud to my daughters
THE LIFE OF REILLY on the lack of coverage of women's athletics
(Jan. 27). When I was in junior high school, there were no teams
for girls in any sport. Thanks Rick, for being an advocate for my
generation of wannabes, my daughters' generation who made the
most of their newfound opportunities, and for their daughters'
potential. Your words provided the spark for my family and our
friends to contact our representatives in Congress and President
Bush to support the continued enforcement of Title IX.
CAROL GAYMAN Manchester, N.H.

I'm an assistant in the sports information office at St. John's
(N.Y.) assigned to women's sports, and I know how difficult it is
to get noticed. When our women's soccer team won the ECAC
Championship, there was one line in the paper. Our women's
basketball team has a vibrant new coach bringing life to the
program, but we can't get one reporter to cover the games and see
the talented athletes who are working so hard to earn respect for
their team.
ALLISON RUBIN, Whitestone, N.Y.

For the umpteenth time, let's set the record straight. Reilly
states that "Title IX has caused brutal cuts in men's sports over
the past 30 years." Not true. It's the men who run athletic
programs who make the decisions to cut men's programs in order to
protect the sacred cow of football. Title IX merely assures that
women have the opportunity to participate. Nowhere does the law
say that men must have diminished opportunities in order for
women to play. Please keep the two issues separate.
PAT VAN VOLKINBURG, Ann Arbor, Mich.

SI has flourished through the years because of men who want to
read about men's sports. We like to follow sports because we have
an appreciation for those who can perform at the very highest
level in games that we love. While women are certainly very
capable athletes, they are not the very best at what they do. We
don't read about or watch men's minor league sports for the same
reason that we don't read about or watch women's sports: Only the
best are fun to watch.
KELLY RIFE, Greenville, S.C.

Under coverage seems like a good thing to me. I remember when the
Super Bowl didn't sell out. It was kinda nice not to have so much
coverage in my face. I enjoyed World Series games during the day,
Super Bowls ending before dinner and televised sports without a
zillion commercials. Now we have to bring women's sports into
this frenzy? Who said that was better? Duke coach Gail
Goestenkors had it right when she said, "We play for ourselves,
for our own excellence." Please, let's not make women's sports
like the men's.
SCOTT GOWDY, Hatboro, Pa.

COLOR PHOTO: RON HOSKINS/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES MILLER'S TALE The Pacer leads NBA starting centers in free throw percentage. COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO (SAPP) TWO COLOR PHOTOS: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GANNON AND YAO)

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