It's great you put Nomar Garciaparra on your cover. He's the rarest of sports creatures: an in-shape baseball player.
—JAY FRANCIS, Colorado Springs
Gary Smith's article on Perry Reese Jr. is what journalism should be (Higher Education, March 5). Let the crumb bums of the sports world wallow unheralded in their gutters. Reese's story is one for all seasons.
MARY USDROWSKI, Wilmette, Ill.
We need more articles like the one by Smith. Send out a posse of writers to find positive, real-life stories. There are more Perry Reese Jr.'s out there than there are WWFers, XFLers, rappers and trash-talkers. Please find them.
JIM PHILLIPS Lake Villa, Ill.
Coach Reese's salary may have been only $28,000 a year, but he was one of the richest men in the world.
JEFF KELLMANSON, Pittsford, N.Y.
Perry was my student at Muskingum College and a member of my brother's church in Millersburg. More than anything, Perry was a decent, well-centered man. Once he commented to me that perhaps he should have been a priest, but as a coach and mentor he touched as many lives as any man of the cloth.
LORLE PORTER, New Concord, Ohio
As a Mennonite and as a historian interested in Amish and Mennonite life and culture, I found Smith's article more insightful than an entire buggy load of Amish cookbooks and picture books on quilts. An insular religious community with long traditions and strict standards received a valuable lesson about grace from a man who seemed the antithesis of almost everything the community believed proper and right. Reese's life was a wonderful lesson in humility and tolerance that can benefit us all.
FRANKLIN L. YODER, Kalona, Iowa
As a player on a team that opposed Hiland High, it was obvious to me how much the players and the community respected Coach Reese. His teams played with great heart every minute of the game. He'll be missed by everyone associated with Ohio basketball.
JOSH GAST, Prospect, Ohio
Nomar Garciaparra's muscles and batting average are impressive, but how about his affinity for the fans (.400 Reasons, March 5)? After the Red Sox lost to the Indians at Fenway Park in the final game of the 1998 playoffs, Garciaparra's teammates sulked in the dugout. Garciaparra, however, charged onto the field and applauded the Boston faithful. That's part of his greatness.
DONALD S. KNIGHT, Kensington, Md.
How refreshing to learn about someone in baseball who actually works hard to earn his keep. I hope Frank Thomas read the article. Tell you what, Frank, if you go through Nomar's workout schedule for a month, the White Sox will pay you the $6.85 million he makes instead of the $10.3 million you get.
MARTY CLAM, Naperville, Ill.
My wife has her own reasons for appreciating the cover shot of Garciaparra. Mine? No tattoos. Not every pro athlete these days has to be a walking billboard.
ROBERT CARROLL, Plymouth, Mass.