West Valley (N.Y.) High football coach Rick DeKay says, "You can't rally around a soccer team." Didn't he notice all those folks in France last summer?
—DAVID ARNOLD, Highland Heights, Ky.
You let one two-sport star slip past you (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, NOV. 16). Playing one sport at the Naval Academy is hard enough, but Jamie Doffermyre has excelled in both football and lacrosse. He is a defenseman in lacrosse and led the Midshipmen in tackles this season from his position as a safety with 127.
ALEX MURRAY, Annapolis, Md.
The sharp decline in high school football participation is shocking (Unintentional Grounding, Nov. 16). Kids fail to realize that they will never retrieve those years. It has been more than two decades since I was the senior quarterback at Crawford ( Neb.) High, but I still have nightmares about what I lost out when I skipped my junior season to concentrate on basketball. I can play hoops any night at the YMCA. It doesn't work that way in football.
BENJAMIN J. EICHER, Rapid City, S.Dak.
Football taught me how to work within a team concept and allowed me to experience camaraderie out of which has grown lifelong friendships. How sad it is to note the dwindling number of youngsters who will benefit from playing this great game.
ANTHONY T. RIGGS, Bahama, N.C.
Small schools should consider combining their football programs with those of other small schools. This beats pushing the game on kids who don't want to play it.
MICHAEL KEATING, Worcester, Mass.
High school football participation may be declining because it's dangerous. Why should my son risk serious injury when he can receive the same emphasis on discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork in other sports?
JERRY SCHWARTZ, Chamblee, Ga.
So what if high school football disappears? After reading your piece, one feels that the people who really care about this are those at colleges and in the NFL. In the words of the NFL's director of football operations, Gene Washington, the league is worried about its "labor pool."
RAY CASTRO, New York City
As a Pop Warner coach I see the declining numbers as well, and the biggest reason is this: Football requires the most discipline of any team sport, and lads don't react well to discipline anymore. They're not getting enough of it at home, and if they don't have to listen to their parents, why should they listen to their coaches?
SALVATORE A. CAPACCIO, Englewood, Fla.
Let's face it. Kids want to play sports in which they aren't restricted by silly rules and strict regimes. They want to dunk like Jordan, dribble like Ronaldo and do ollies like Rodil de Araujo. They don't want to stand in a muddy field for hours without ever touching the ball, and girls no longer want to freeze to death cheering them on.
NICHOLAS ETHERTON, London
Football may be a traditional sport in this country, but it's not the only sport. To question whether a kid will "ever be an active member of his community" if he doesn't play football is going off the deep end.
KEN CHERTOFF, New York City