Bus Pass

I guess the Pittsburgh Steelers' Jerome Bettis--who attended Notre Dame--can still depend on the luck of the Irish (Next Stop Indy!, Jan. 16). The Sports Illustrated cover jinx only got him halfway. He fumbled the ball against the Indianapolis Colts, but the Steelers won the game.

Christan Aisenbrey, Mableton, Ga.

Happy Ending

Shootout! (Jan. 16), your NHL midseason report, was a great read. I am very pleased with the rules changes instituted this year. As you noted, the shootouts are exciting for all, including the staunchest old-school fans who refuse to acknowledge it. (You know who you are, and I saw you leaning forward in your first row seat.)

Carmen Tierno, Marlton, N.J.

A shootout is not an appropriate way to end a game. It's like finishing a tied baseball game with a home run hitting contest.

Aaron Keeping, Vista, Calif.

Stepping Up to the Plates

Did I enjoy Steve Rushin's column on vanity license plates (Air and Space, Jan. 16)? As my Three Stooges--inspired plate says, ysoitnly!

Gary Bradt, Summerfield, N.C.

Rushin will be happy to know I am still paying to have my truck plate read 6sesfl, even if my teaching salary is vastly different from a pro athlete's income.

Jake Litchfield, Savoy, Ill.

Is my license plate--bboffhr--clever or just confusing? Hint: It's a tribute to David Ortiz's past two years' heroics.

Andrew Turnbull, Epsom, N.H.

My hol n 1√ó2 is a result of twice getting holes in one in 35 years of playing golf.

Bill Kuhlwein, Newark, Ohio

My mom and I live in West Virginia, and her vanity license plate reads, heave. You see, without the final letter it's Almost Heaven!

Ben Tuel, Charleston, W.Va.

As we were driving to our place on Cape Cod last summer, I saw a license plate that read, dn3wn8. Even as a lifetime Red Sox fan, I didn't get it immediately. But when the light came on, this member of Red Sox nation realized that it might be the greatest plate ever.

Dan LaChance, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Thanks for the nod in the column on vanity plates. Believe me, as the owner of Wisconsin plate nflmvp, I've seen that look of disappointment at stoplights many times--as if Packers quarterback Brett Favre would be driving around in a five-year-old minivan!

Steve Wyman, Appleton, Wis.

Picture Perfect

That's a great sequence of photographs showing the shot attempts by Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson (Launch Party, Jan. 16). I only wish I had them during my 31 years of high school coaching, when I searched for pictures of good jump shooting by players who squared up properly, used the correct hand positions on the ball and concentrated totally on the target. I hope high school coaches are using these photos on their bulletin boards.

Art Poulin, Cazadero, Calif.

Buff Ref

Thanks for the article on NFL referee Ed Hochuli's workout regimen (Players, Jan. 16). And thanks, Mr. Hochuli, for providing a little more eye candy on the playing field.

Theresa Corzine, Montgomery, Ala.

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PHOTOJOHN BIEVER PHOTOEVERETT COLLECTIONALL STARS Reed (center) welcomed (from left) Drysdale, Mays and Durocher.