I think we can all learn something from Mike Powell when it comes to pursuing goals and giving your all. While I respect the talented athletes who compete in events like the Super Bowl and win championships, I really wish I had some of Powell's inner strength, determination and drive.
Jay B. O'Neal, Deerfield, Ill.
As one of Powell's former wrestlers, it was an honor to read your article (Man in Full, Feb. 13) and reflect on how blessed I am to have been taught by him. My proudest accomplishments under him came not on the wrestling mat but in the ways in which he helped me as a person. He taught me that every day is a battle worth fighting and that whether you're battling a muscle-eating disease, an opponent two feet in front of you or a math exam, your success depends on the character and effort you bring.
Aaron Minnis, Oak Park, Ill.
March 5, 2012
Chris Ballard's story is a timely counterpoint to Phil Taylor's POINT AFTER from the Jan. 9 issue on the doubts many youth coaches are having in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. People like Powell tend to change the world around them. I can only hope that he inspires others to take on the responsibilities of coaching and that they can have a similar positive influence on our youth.
Ralph Chester, Hoover, Ala.
Thank you for your wonderful feature on David Freese (The New Man in St. Louis, Feb. 13). The big smile on Freese's face mirrors that of all Cardinals fans. Four months later we are still walking around with that grin, one that even the free-spending Angels can't wipe off.
Jeff Hohl, Toledo
Tuck and Roll
Phil Taylor's review of the Patriots' dynasty over the past 10 years (POINT AFTER, Feb. 13) isn't quite complete without mentioning the ridiculous interpretation of the tuck rule from the 2002 AFC divisional playoff game that kept the Pats, who were down by three points with 1:50 left in regulation, alive against the Raiders. How might everyone's fortunes have changed had Brady's obvious fumble actually been ruled a fumble? If not for that call, would there even be a New England dynasty to speak of?
Dave Barncord, Granger, Ind.
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Stories that generated the most mail last week.
MIKE POWELL, FEB. 13
PEBBLE BEACH, FEB. 20
JEREMY LIN, FEB. 20
WES LEONARD, FEB. 20
What is your favorite dunk in the 27 years of NBA Slam Dunk Contests?
Chris M Sanders: Either Vince Carter's reverse 360 windmill or his under-the-leg, arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000 to win it.
Scott Figuerola: Spud Webb's throw-it-to-himself reverse dunk from 1986. That's not even debatable.
Jack Richard Duncan: Michael Jordan's one-handed leap from the free throw line in 1987. But I'm also jumping on the Blake Griffin bandwagon from last year.
Drew Thorne: Larry (Grandmama) Johnson's 360 windmill tomahawk from 1992.
Mario Aleman Jr.: Dee Brown pumping up his Reeboks to win the 1991 competition. My friends and I mimicked that move the whole summer.
Joseph Taylor: I'll always remember Cedric Ceballos's winning blindfolded dunk from 1992.
Douglas Klohn: Dominique Wilkins's two-handed windmill when he lost to Jordan in '88. 'Nique totally should have won!
Zachary Lucas: Nothing compares to Carter's 2000 dunk performance in Oakland. The contests have all gone downhill from there.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
"I believe someone tampered with Ryan Braun's urine samples the same way I believe Mark Fuhrman ran around sprinkling blood on O.J.'s stuff."
GABRIEL MONTOYA‚Ñ¢ (@GABRIEL_MONTOYA)