Reilly shows a lack of understanding of how hard these student-athletes work. I am a high school football official in Michigan and the proud father of two high school cheerleaders, and I have given up varsity football assignments to be present at my daughters' games. The impact their participation has had on their self-confidence and their willingness to work hard and sacrifice to achieve team goals is a joy to behold.
GERRY EDGAR, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
I'm not a fan of cheerleading scholarships, but is it really any less idiotic for a college to say, "Sorry, Ma'am, we just gave away your son's chemistry scholarship, but you should have seen Billy here hit a ball with a stick!"
MICHAEL FOX, New York City
Reilly's right. Cheerleading is pointless, unnecessarily dangerous and even dumb. Thank goodness we have quarterbacks working on a cure for cancer and goalies confronting global warming.
Reilly's article brought back fond memories of my daughter's early childhood. At age six Nicole was playing indoor soccer. I asked her if she would like to participate in the cheerleader camp at the local high school. She said she wanted to play sports, not cheer for them. Now she is a freshman in high school participating in volleyball and swimming. She enjoys watching the cheerleaders on the sideline. I am so grateful for the opportunities our daughters have that we did not.
KAREN PAGELER, Parker, Colo.
What can a cheerleader look forward to? Personally, I've had great seasons with the world champion Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. I directed the performance at the Women's World Cup final and the Men's World Cup in France. I've rocked 70,000-plus crowds in Berlin, Barcelona, London, Mexico City, Montreal and cities all over the U.S. for more than 30 teams in five sports. Recently, I stood in the tunnel with John Elway before his jersey retirement, and I coached my seventh NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader Team in Hawaii. From a former high school cheerleader with six varsity letters in tennis and cheerleading, Reilly, get off my skirt!
Director of the NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleaders
In my eight years as a certified athletic trainer, I've worked with athletes in football, soccer and other sports accused of controlled bloodletting, but I must say that some of the worst injuries I've witnessed occurred in competitive cheerleading. From torn ACLs to broken arms to skull fractures, I've seen a lot. And I always end up asking, "Why?"
RAY CARROLL, Louisville
No Ordinary Joe
I want to thank Ivan Maisel for his piece on Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton (Short Story, Oct. 11). In these days when many college players are just getting by in school until they are eligible for the NFL draft, it was refreshing to read about a quarterback who cares about more than that. The picture with his grandfather and the stories of his hometown were indicative of his fine character.
KYLE R. NAGEL
My respect for the human body was increased by the picture of Russia's Alina Kabaeva at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships (SCORECARD, Oct. 11). My respect for the human mind was decreased by the picture of the raccoon dangling over the hounds at the United Sportsman's Club field trial (LEADING OFF, Oct. 11).
JOANNE SIMPSON, West Hartford
One to Watch
I realize that many in the U.S. are disappointed in the outcome of the 1999 World Gymnastics Championships in China (INSIDE OLYMPIC SPORTS, Oct. 25). However, you failed to mention a young lady who proved that she has the skills to take on the best in the world. Elise Ray finished eighth in the individual all-around and seventh in the uneven bar final. With a little fine-tuning, she will contend for a medal in Sydney.
GLENETTA COLLIER, Helotes, Texas
Nothing to Cheer About
I am an avid SI reader, a die-hard football addict and a female athlete. I was never a cheerleader, but I think it was an absolute waste of paper and ink for Rick Reilly to devote his column to insulting those people who support others.
—JAIMIE K. VIETH, Missoula, Mont.