A Righteous Man
I've been an SI reader for more than 30 years, and Frank Deford's profile of Max Schmeling is the finest piece of writing I've read in your magazine (Almost a Hero, Dec. 3). As a Jewish-American, I approached the feature with caution, confident that I would dislike all that Schmeling stood for during the Nazi era. However, I emerged with respect for the champion's candor and humanity. Schmeling said that he lives his "life as if there were a God." Hitler's victims also struggled with the existence of a God who would allow evil to flourish, yet Schmeling's strength of character allowed him to "do good" in spite of the temptations offered him.
DAVID S. LEVINE, Cheshire, Conn.
Almost a hero? After reading Deford's enlightening article, Schmeling is a hero to me. For my entire life I had despised him as a symbol of Nazism. Now I have nothing but the highest respect for this man. As a former boxer, I'll always be in Schmeling's corner.
TODD WINKLER, Cincinnati
Schmeling made mistakes in his life, but he was also a hero. Other people can't know what they would have done under the same extraordinary circumstances. Most would probably have done no better than Schmeling did.
NEAL TURNQUIST, Annapolis, Md.
Men such as Louis and Schmeling carried themselves as gentlemen in and out of the ring, something boxing sorely lacks today. In his rematch with Louis, Schmeling was promoted as a Nazi, embodying all that the Fascists stood for. In reality he was not a Nazi but a very good boxer who faced a great boxer and lost. Deford got it right. These men should be remembered for the good they have done for others, not for the politics of their period.
H.J. SCHARDEIN JR., Louisville
Racism, by Any Other Name
In your article on Wally Szczerbiak (Killer Looks, Dec. 3), L. Jon Wertheim quoted a passage from Shaquille O'Neal's book in which Shaq refers to Szczerbiak as one of his favorite white players but adds, "If you get dunked on by a white boy, you got to come home to your friends and hear it." I am amazed that these comments went unquestioned. If similar remarks had been uttered by a white athlete, the public outcry would have been immense.
DAN EDGEIN, Louisville, Ohio
The BCS and a Rabbit's Foot
The Bowl Championship Series, for all its faults, has accomplished something beyond dispute. It has found a cure for the SI jinx. As surely as Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch adorned the cover of the Nov. 26 issue, the Cornhuskers were pummeled by Colorado and knocked out of national-title contention. Alas, the BCS, with its complex calculations, reversed the effects of the jinx and thrust Nebraska back into championship contention. I wonder if the BCS can develop a formula for my slice.
CHARLIE GATSCHET, Abilene, Kans.
Don't Break Any Mirrors
As soon as you put my Redskins on the cover (Dec. 3), their five-game winning streak ends with a loss to the—cough, hack, spit—Cowboys. How much did the Eagles pay you for that cover photo?
Michael Donovan, Bowie, Md.
As a longtime subscriber and a Dallas fan, I was excited to see the Redskins on the cover. Though the Cowboys are suffering through a terrible season, I knew they had victory in their grasp because of the curse. Thank you.
AL MAGILL, Conklin, N.Y.
In the Bubble
Steve Rushin taught me an excellent point: Tiger Woods's brand of golf is different from mine (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 3). Tiger's world is silent and serious, full of triumph and dismay. For me the game holds the certainty of noisy fellow players and maintenance equipment, shanks, missed putts and the probability of meeting new people who will share my round while making jokes about how badly I play. At the end of a round I can grab a beer and go home to watch sports on TV. Tiger has to go home and prepare for next week. I wouldn't trade my game for his in a million years.
KEVIN BECK, Royal Oak, Mich.
Music to My Ears
Thanks for the write-up on Eagles announcer Merrill Reese (SI VIEW, Dec. 3). Since leaving Philadelphia for the sunshine of central Florida three years ago, my wife and I have had to endure fall Sunday afternoons with the TV tuned to the Bucs while our Internet connection sang out Merrill's play-by-play of our beloved Eagles' games. If he could only e-mail me a cheesesteak, all would be bliss.
OZZIE VATER, Lakeland, Fla.