In the Eye of the Beholder
My 17-year-old son and I enjoyed Michael Silver's American Beauty (Sept. 16), especially the quote from James Parrish about "a sense of something greater than individual gain...football filters out insincerity in a hurry." My son hung the quote in his football team's locker room so his fellow players could contemplate it.
Silver's article was effective if the point was to show the ugly side of football and promote the author's near celebrity status. We learned about a high school defensive tackle who speaks his own language, Miami fans who humiliate women and, finally, that Silver knows a rock band's singer. What was the point of the article again? Oh, yeah, rekindling the nation's spirit.
MATT STEUART, Minneapolis
Although I enjoyed the story of the five-day football journey, I must take exception to your description of the trip as a "grueling...odyssey." Is a five-day football journey grueling? Sounds like a paid vacation to me.
PETER PINNOW, Oxford, Miss.
For Pete's Sake
Pete Sampras's astonishing win in the U.S. Open caps an unprecedented tennis career (A Grand Occasion, Sept. 16). What is particularly impressive about his 14 Grand Slam final victories is that he won eight in straight sets and only once in those 14 matches was he extended to five sets. Even his idol, the great Rod Laver, cannot match that dominance.
PHILIP K. CURTIS, Atlanta
S.L. Price and many others overlook the career of Rod Laver when they proclaim Sampras the greatest male player of all time. Although Laver won "only" 11 Grand Slam titles—including all four titles in 1962 and '69—he was barred from playing the Slam events for five years, from the time he gave up his amateur status in '63 until professionals were allowed to play in '68. Considering that he dominated the men's game before and after his forced absence, how many of the missed events could he have won?
Treasure Island, Fla.
Pete Sampras will be the greatest only if he can conquer all surfaces. His Achilles' heel has been the clay at the French Open. He will be crowned king if—and when—he wins at Roland Garros.
Bay City, Mich.
If you were looking for a true expression of the American spirit for your Sept. 16 cover, you should have looked no further than Sampras.
GARY SANDERS, Alexandria, Va.
One Brick at a Time
The fundamental flaw of the U.S. basketball team at the World Basketball Championship was that America's best players were not present (INSIDE BASKETBALL, Sept. 16). Sure, teamwork and fundamentals are helpful, but they are not the reasons that the U.S. team lost. Does anyone seriously believe that Shaq would not have dominated international teams as he has NBA teams for the last several seasons?
NATHAN LYON, Parker, Colo.
NBA players at the world championships received a lesson in team play, especially from Argentina and Yugoslavia. Our guys can jump and run, but the fundamentals aren't there. There are a few complete basketball players in the NBA, but they weren't in Indianapolis.
CARLOS C. BRICENO, Miami
All Women, All the Time
Kudos to Rick Reilly for hitting the nail on the head about golf club memberships (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Sept. 16). Even though I am one of those vicious females, I agree that the griping about Augusta National needs to stop until all clubs are open to everyone.
TERESA TITSWORTH, Okmulgee, Okla.