Not Short Sheeted
With all that is wrong in this world, and especially with more than a few of the athletes in it, I cannot resist commenting on your Ben Sheets article (Learning Curve, Oct. I). In July my son and I attended Little League Day at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Walking the warning track from rightfield past the dugouts and out through leftfield that day were thousands of kids and coaches, and that's how many hands Sheets touched. I kid you not, he touched the hand of every person that walked past. All I could think of was how many kids' lives he affected in one day.
Steve Kent, Altoona. Wis.
I like the angle Jack McCallum took in his article about Michael Jordan's return (Air Worthy, Oct. 1). Jordan loves the challenge and will drive his teammates into the playoffs. His comeback will add to his legend, not tarnish it. Finally there is a reason to watch the NBA regular season.
Erik W. Leuter, Albion, Mich.
I'm a loyal person and a Chicagoan. Jordan is neither. In how many places does he want to see his number retired? I bought tickets to see his first game back, against the Pistons in Detroit, and I'm going to have to say something I always swore I never would: "Go, Pistons."
Leigh McCue, Ann Arbor, Mich.
By nature, athletes are selfish, but I believe even the most selfish athlete must eventually realize that it is time to hang 'em up and start giving back to the wife and children who have endured long absences and unwelcome celebrity. As an aging athlete, I still love to lace 'em up, but I realized years ago that my family was more important than my desire to pursue my over-the-hill athletic career.
Mark Hoaglin, San Diego
When Jordan returned for his second run with the Bulls, many people questioned his decision, saying that his skills had eroded and mere was no way he could be as good as he had been. He was better. He has proved the prognosticators wrong once already, and he deserves at least the benefit of the doubt now.
Carlos Briceno, Miami
Your review of great moments involving sports and the American flag was interesting, but you left out one of the best incidents (SCORECARD, Oct. 1). It occurred when Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs stopped two fans—who had run out onto the field—from burning a flag. That move made Monday a hero in the eyes of many Americans, even more so than Jim Craig, George Foreman or any of the other flag-waving athletes you mentioned.
Chuck Kajer, New Prague, Minn.
One, Two, Three, Kick
Rick Reilly's column "It's a Whole New Ball Game" (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 1) expressed what many sports fans have been feeling since Sept. 11: We're thankful for sports as a distraction from the grim realities of the world. Also, Reilly made us aware that the often spoiled and overpaid athletes have shown their true colors in the way they've pitched in and done what they can to relieve the suffering. And, oh yeah, using the Grambling band would be sweet.
Bob Smith, Lusby, Md.
That was one of Reilly's best columns. One of the ways we'll overcome this evil is by not allowing it to take the joy out of our lives. The Taliban destroyed all the joy in Afghanistan a long time ago. The only thing I would add is that the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes should follow the Grambling band. The Rockettes' high kicking would be an appropriate answer to how the Taliban treat women.
Gretchen Holzhauer; Crown Point, N.Y.
D�j� Vu All Over Again
Your article on Mike Holmgren misses the point on what's wrong with the Seahawks (No Forward Progress, Oct. 1). The Seattle franchise is rotting from the top down, and the results on the field are only the most visible symptoms of a power struggle between two guys with overinflated egos. Holmgren's ego is based on success and a Super Bowl championship. He'll win one for Seattle if the organization will get out of his way. Team president Bob Whitsitt is creating the same dysfunctional mess with the Seahawks that he has created since 1994 as president and general manager of the Trail Blazers. It took a lot of hard work and the squandering of a lot of owner Paul Allen's millions to screw up Portland's love affair with that team.
Doug Smith, Seattle
Thanks to Jack McCallum (SCORECARD, Oct. 1) someone has finally pulled the trigger on the war metaphors that litter the battlefields of sports like so many land mines. Time to lower the volume. Expression does not require explosion.
David Kagan, Grand Rapids