Though guilty of transgressions myself, I know it's hard for kids to have fun if their parents are making the game life or death.
—JACK DALTON, Moline, Ill.
As a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, I have never before been so moved by the sight of the Stars and Stripes (Unflagging, Aug. 14). Long may she wave.
SCOTT GRANTHAM, Hickory, N.C.
The Sins of the Parents
Thanks for your article about parents and youth sports (Out of Control, July 24). My father is a high school and peewee football referee and often comes home with stories of parents yelling at or even threatening him. I play field hockey and basketball, and if my parents started a fight with my coach or another parent, I would be ashamed and embarrassed for them and for me.
DANIELLE LESTER, Ilion, N.Y.
As the father of two Little Leaguers, I've noticed that many young umpires are unprepared for the task at hand. Rules are enforced and interpreted inconsistently, and the younger umpires are often intimidated by coaches who have strong personalities. League supervisors must do a better job of preparing officials to take firm charge of the games they are calling to prevent small disagreements from escalating into ugly incidents.
DARRELL BARNETTE, Mobile
The Loy brothers of Bridgeview, Ill., are sentenced to 40 hours of community service for putting a man in intensive care—instead of the 40 years of prison time they should have received—and you wonder why youth sports are out of control? When the judicial system starts taking these crimes seriously, the parents will start taking these crimes seriously.
Long Beach, Calif.
In the championship game of this past Little League season, my son Eric's team faced the team for which his friend Robby played. After Eric's team won as the result of some questionable calls by the umpire, I heard Robby's coach talking to his team. He congratulated the boys on a fine season and told them to take pride in how much they had improved. In the almost 10 years that my sons have been involved in youth sports, for every abusive manager, petulant player or belligerent parent, I have seen 10 coaches teaching the right lessons and 10 kids like Eric and Robby learning them.
JIM THORNTON, Richmond
Leave the toplessness in your swimsuit issue where the bimbos belong and put Jenny Thompson in the same place of respect that you put other top athletes.
KIM BAER, Broken Arrow, Okla.
After seeing the pose of Thompson, I turned every page of your magazine. Funny, the male athletes were fully clothed. Not one had his pants off with his hands covering his anatomy.
ELIZABETH VIDMAR, Gobies, Mich.
With the suit Thompson is wearing, the U.S. team should sweep the gold. However, those boots may cause some drag in the water.
NICK RAMOS, Longmont, Colo.
?For Rick Reilly's take on Thompson's pose, turn to page 112.—ED.