Like Aliquippa, Pa., many cities across the country still experience the crippling social dilemma in which sports are the only way out of poverty and despair. While a part of me still believes that money and greed has ruined sports, for many living in these communities it may be the only form of hope and inspiration.
This is an article from the Feb. 21, 2011 issue
Bill Blair, Park City, Utah
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I enjoyed S.L. Price's profile of Aliquippa (The Heart of Football Beats in Aliquippa, Jan. 31) and its high school football program. Although the town has struggled over the years with economic depression, racial tension, and an influx of drugs and violence, it's inspiring to see that the residents can still come together to cheer on their Quips every Friday night in the fall. Football may just be a game, but it's a game that can help a community transcend its struggle.
Colin Hare, Frisco, Texas
I graduated from Aliquippa in 1976 and am especially proud to have called it home. It amazes me that this small, tremendously diverse and racially integrated city has provided so many of us with sound morals, strong family values and an unwavering work ethic.
Brian Ceccarelli, Xenia, Ohio
As someone who watched Utah get Jimmered for 47 points in person at the Huntsman Center last month, I can attest to Jimmer Fredette's amazing talent (A Real Jimmer Dandy, Jan. 31). That night, even the home-crowd Utes fans were in awe of him.
Eric Judd, South Jordan, Utah
Bravo to Jimmer's brother, TJ, for his inspirational story. Young adults need to know it's possible to recover when suffering from depression, and not to give up hope. Both young men should be proud of their achievements.
Barbara Zotz, Burlington, Iowa
Better and Better
Peter King believes it's rare when a legend leaves a team and his replacement successfully follows him (Pack Where They Belong, Jan. 31), suggesting that Sidney Crosby's taking over for Mario Lemieux on the Penguins is the only time that's happened in the last generation. I would argue that Steve Young's succeeding Joe Montana on the 49ers is an even better example than that.
John Amador, Tracy, Calif.
I was quite baffled by L. Jon Wertheim's endorsement of StubHub (SCORECARD, Jan. 31). While I don't doubt he has gotten into sporting events for very little money, it is apparent that he's never used this service to enter the baseball mecca known as Fenway Park. To get an upper-level bleacher seat at Fenway for less than $100—even using StubHub—is an absolute miracle!
Stephen E. Malo
In reading Dan Patrick's interview with Browns running back Peyton Hillis (SCORECARD, Jan. 31), I couldn't help but shake my head at the obvious hypocrisy when it comes to race and sports. Hillis matter-of-factly states that players have said to him, "White boy, you ain't gonna run on us today." I could only imagine the apoplectic reactions from pundits both far and wide if a white player had said to a black player, "Black boy, you ain't gonna run on us today." How is it that when these types of epithets are hurled Hillis's way, there's not a peep from anyone?
Bobby Pappas, Greer, S.C.
Maybe not everyone would appreciate Phil Taylor's column The Odds Couple (POINT AFTER, Jan. 31), but I had to smile the whole time while reading it. My uncle and I have wagered $1 on the Thanksgiving Day NFL games for the past 27 years. Of course the money means nothing compared to the bragging and trash-talking rights the winner has for the next 364 days. It's become harder to hand my uncle a $1 bill if I lose that bet than it is for me to write out the checks for my mortgage and my children's college tuition.
Rick Wilson, Windber, Pa.
My college buddies and I used to bet all of the time on any game we could. Over the years we may have lost touch a bit, but you better believe that every time the Vikings play the Giants my old roommate and I will trash talk on the phone several times before the game, followed by the loser's refusal to take the winner's calls no matter what.
Will Boylan, Katonah, N.Y.
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