Letters

March 10, 2003

Middle-aged Michael

Every time I think I'm getting too old for Saturday morning
pickup games down at the church gym, I remind myself that I'm 11
months younger than Michael Jordan (Going Out in Style, Feb. 17).
Although he's still performing near his peak level, I think I'll
pack it in when my 40th birthday rolls around next year. Despite
Jack McCallum's inspiring article, I don't want to work that hard
to stay in playing shape if I'm not getting paid.
Alan K. McDonald, Tucson

Going to Hull

I want to thank Brett Hull for stating what's wrong with American
youth hockey: too many games and not enough skill development
(All Hull Breaks Loose, Feb. 17). I agree with Brett when he
says, "Screw games." To satisfy parents' egos, winning is valued
more than development is.
Audrey Makris, San Jose

Hull's selfishness really shines through at the end of the
interview. Brett, if you can't sleep when you don't score, you're
playing hockey for all the wrong reasons. It's the name on the
front of your jersey that matters, not the one on the back.
David Rappaport, New York City

Fortunately there is something Hull does like about hockey beside
cashing his check. When Nicholas J. Cotsonika asked Brett if he
sleeps well, Hull responded, "Oh, yeah. Like a baby. Except when
I don't score." Not a surprising comment considering Brett has
the least number of assists in the now-tarnished 700-goal club.
Charlie Klimkowski, Wonder Lake, Ill.

Seeing the Ice

Although I can only dream of having Brett Hull's skills, I do
share his deeply felt passion for the game, and I find it
difficult to ignore the NHL's failures in the critical area of
television. ESPN provides a first-rate announcing team but the
most unimaginative production in sports television. I've been
hoping for years that TV producers and directors would realize
that hockey is a north-south game, not an east-west game.
Covering tennis, you would never set up your primary camera on
the side of the court and follow the action back and forth. There
is ample technology--like the skycam--to make the game as
exciting for television viewers as it is in person. Try watching
your kids play a hockey video game: The perspective is
north-south and a third of the screen is not filled with the
crowd. Hockey's the only sport that changes on the fly, a key
part of game tactics, but when was the last time you saw that cut
into a telecast? If TV presented the game with vision and
passion, it would be a wonderful thing for the NHL.
Bob Reichblum, Chicago

All That Glitters

I find the message in Steve Rushin's column about conspicuous
consumption by professional athletes to be true but discouraging
(Air and Space, Feb. 17). Those of us who teach young students
find ourselves at a disadvantage in trying to stress values
counter to those of overindulgent, self-serving yet attractive
sports stars. Our messages may not be as entertaining, but they
are more truthful and realistic.
Larry Siewert, Wauwatosa, Wis.

Course Jester

As a golf fan I find Bill Murray neither funny nor relevant
(SCORECARD, Feb. 17). Throw a banana peel at Scott Simpson on the
1st tee? Wow, where else can you find clever humor like that?
Woody Allen once stated he hated to perform for college crowds
because they were all stoned and laughed at anything. That's how
it is with Murray at the AT&T. People laugh at him because they
think they are supposed to.
David E. Safir, Los Gatos, Calif.

I'm just hoping that Tiger Woods will participate in next year's
AT&T and have the great good fortune to draw the "hilarious"
Murray as a playing partner. I think Bill will reach his comedic
pinnacle when he is seen staggering about with a Nike nine-iron
wrapped around his neck.
Jim McCaffrey, Sarasota, Fla.

The Princeton Way

I've seen the power of Pete Carril's Princeton offense (It All
Starts Here, Feb. 17). I had my first experience with Titan--as
we call the system at Dakota (Ill.) High School--during my
freshman year, when we went 25--5 under Lee Bennett. The
Princeton offense preaches balance and unselfishness; it gives
smaller, less fortunate players the ability to beat larger, more
talented teams. Coach Bennett has five 20-plus-win seasons in six
years using the offense developed by our hero, Coach Carril.
Noah Boos, Rock City, Ill.

If coaches everywhere, from youth leagues to the NBA, read Jim
Burson's Holy Grail on the Princeton offense, the sport of
finesse, speed, skill and teamwork that James Naismith intended
will live again.
Kenneth Brian Reed, Littleton, Colo.

My husband and I studied the pushpins on your map, but there were
none in Arizona. So, just for your information: Trent Emenecker,
the coach at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, has used
the Princeton offense to take a formerly 2--20 team to the state
tournament each of the last three years. Please add a green pin
for my husband and his hardworking team.
Natalie Emenecker, Tucson

Nostalgia

Funny You Should Ask (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 17), about the
simple and profound joys of life and sports, is one of my alltime
favorite pieces from Rick Reilly. Thanks for the blast from the
past.
Andrew Turnbull, Epsom, N.H.

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO

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