We Texans have suffered for two decades with one of the worst franchises in all of sports. Mark Cuban purchased the team, and within two years the Mavericks moved into the NBA elite. They even swept a playoff series. We had our sights on the finals, and now you slap us down with the SI Cover Jinx (Style Points, May 6). Thanks for ending the season for us.
Marty L. Faber, Arlington, Texas
Michael Farber's article on the horrifying first round of the NHL playoffs (Down and Dirty, May 6) was not critical enough of league management. If the NHL came down harder on dirty play—with suspensions that match the time lost by the injured player—the maiming might subside.
Allison DiCandilo, Berwyn, Pa.
As usual you have chosen to focus on the negative side of hockey. Although there were some incidents in the first round of the NHL playoffs that were uncalled for and extremely stupid, you did exactly the type of reporting that contributes to hockey's negative reputation. Instead of that garbage, why not mention the three shutouts each by Patrick Lalime and Brent Johnson, Montreal's stunning upset of the Bruins or Carolina's victory over the Devils? There was a lot more to the first round than just the hits and suspensions.
Scott Allegrini, Santa Clarita, Calif.
NHL coaches, players and officials are paid handsomely to act like professionals. It is time they did so.
Jamie McLean, Hamilton, Ont.
Twenty years ago cheap-shot artists like Darcy Tucker and Kyle McLaren would have left the rink a few teeth lighter. Everyone looks to the league for suspensions when a little on-ice justice would go a lot further. No retribution stings as much as that which comes from your peers.
Jason Schroeder, Edmonton
As a 14-year-old hockey player and fan, I found it disheartening to see teams I had grown to love and respect turning ugly. It was even worse when I heard adults blaming it on Michael Peca and Kenny Jonsson, saying they weren't paying attention. Then I heard teammates' parents encouraging players to take out their opponents' knees and hit cheap. Hockey is losing its integrity.
Mike Werner, Mentor, Ohio
With Unforgiving Mountain (April 29) you have outdone yourselves. This terrific article is indeed a disturbing story and a warning to outdoors lovers of the inherent dangers of extreme sports. However, the spirit of the four people who attempted this incredible feat actually motivates me even more to try exciting outdoor activities.
Four dumb guys thought they could ski a "45-degree pitch of rock and ice." Two fell and died. What a surprise! Their folly shows how desperately competitive we are to be first at something. I have an idea: I'll be the first to skateboard off the Grand Canyon. I may die, but at least I will have tried. Anyone want to join me?
Daniel Curran, Cambridge, Mass.
Thank you for the wonderful article on Cal rugby, Jack Clark and the success of the team on and off the pitch (Papa Bear, May 6). In 1998 I was sitting in a caf� in Sarajevo watching the United States- Ireland match during the Rugby World Cup. Across the table was a Brit who, when he learned I was an American who had some interest in rugby, stated, "You must have attended Berkeley." Go Bears!
Eric Winston, Los Angeles
Richard Hoffer's The Outlaw Brawl (May 6) is the finest article I have ever read in your consistently excellent magazine. It is historical writing at its best. Can anyone dispute the central point, that Sullivan was our country's first sports superstar? And can boxing fans not laugh at and lament the fact that the sport has been plagued by out-of-shape fighters, corruption and bad officials for more than 100 years?
Louis A. Irmo, Skokie, Ill.