Whew! That was close. As a recent Alabama graduate and
enthusiastic supporter of the Crimson Tide basketball team, I
think I speak on behalf of the Tide faithful when I say that
after we saw our own Chuck Davis on the cover of SI (March 29),
we were sure 'Bama was not going to defeat defending champion
Syracuse. Instead Sports Illustrated catapulted this year's
Alabama team into the school record books.
Perhaps by coming together as a nation to support and participate
in team sports, the Iraqi people will learn the value of
democracy (Under the Gun, March 29). It will take more than
athletic success to overcome the horrific memories of their past,
but I hope they realize that the "occupying force" on their soil
would love nothing more than to cheer them at the opening
ceremonies in Athens.
Myra Brandenburg, Tyler, Texas
April 18, 2004
Horsehide and Pigskin
So now Peter King is jumping on the bandwagon and moaning about
inequities in baseball payrolls as opposed to the wonderful
salary cap of the sacred NFL (Scorecard, March 29). He dismisses
the Marlins' World Series title and ignores the fact that the
low-payroll A's have been in the playoffs for the past four
years, the Twins went from possible contraction to two straight
division titles and the Angels won the World Series in 2002,
beating the mighty Yankees along the way. In the NFL, meanwhile,
the salary cap is putting great teams and potential dynasties out
of existence. Why should a Super Bowl champion have to release
its leading rusher, as the Patriots did two months ago? I wonder
if NFL history would be as rich as it is if Vince Lombardi had
had to release Paul Hornung or Ray Nitschke because he could only
afford to keep Bart Starr and Jim Taylor.
Thomas L. Rink
I couldn't agree more with King's statement referring to the
NFL's strict steroid policy as an attempt by Gene Upshaw to
protect the health of NFL players. It makes me wonder if Donald
Fehr would update his views on baseball's steroid policy more
quickly if one of his pitchers was sent to intensive care after
being drilled between the eyes by a line drive off the bat of a
Ben McGuinness, Chicago
I couldn't help but chuckle to learn from Tim Layden's wonderful
retrospective on Villanova's 1985 NCAA title (The Upset, March
29) that Hoya Paranoia is alive and well. Nothing conveys that
better than the fact that John Thompson ("I don't think there was
a living ass in the country that didn't think we were the better
team") and Patrick Ewing ("[the] better team did not win the
game") are still looking for respect after all these years.
Championship games aren't played to determine who has the better
team. They're played to find out who has what it takes to play
like a champion when it matters most. On April 1, 1985, that was
Glenn Holcombe, Coos Bay, Ore.
Thank you very much for the 19th anniversary article on
Villanova's '85 upset of Georgetown in the NCAA title game. I was
worried you might give us something trivial, like a 20th
anniversary article on John Thompson's becoming the first
African-American coach to win the NCAA basketball championship.
Jim Gilroy, Falls Church, Va.
Cover Your Ears
I was happy to read that Rick Reilly found watching and listening
to Gary Williams during a Maryland basketball game as amusing as
most Terps fans do (The Life of Reilly, March 29). Williams
curses in a way that is not meant to be personal, and he is not
alone in his use of four-letter words to get his point across to
today's players--although many Duke fans would have you believe
that a four-letter word has never crossed the lips of Mike
Krzyzewski. (I know better from sitting behind the Blue Devils'
bench at ACC games!)
Sean Cunningham, Cary, N.C.
If I could only get Gary's dry-cleaning business, I could retire
Adam Hochman, Chevy Chase, Md.
Golden School Days
Having spent most of my youth in Vermont, I enjoyed reading about
its sports heritage (Sports in America, March 29). But I must
point out your egregious omission of the Burke Mountain
Academy--of which I am a 1976 graduate--in Vermont's Northeast
Kingdom. BMA, founded in 1970 by ski guru Warren Witherell, was
the first full-time sports academy in the U.S., and 39 Olympians
have passed through its program. It was a model for other
sport-specific private schools, such as the Bollettieri Tennis
Academy. BMA revolutionized Alpine racing, giving youngsters from
cities and suburbs the opportunity to pursue their ski-racing
dreams, formerly the exclusive domain of those born in ski towns.
Jim Taylor, San Francisco
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