I applaud your series on The High School Athlete (Nov. 18). I coach high school football and baseball. I hope we coaches can remember that the games are for the players and that this time in their lives is all too brief and should be enjoyed. I have always encouraged student-athletes to play and participate in as many activities as they want. Let the kids find what they like to do, whether it be football or band or chess.
STEVE RHODEN, Phenix City, Ala.
As a student in a school for gifted children, I know it is very difficult to balance the academic workload, the obscene amount of athletic practice time and sleep. One of those three things has to suffer. My friends who take part in travel-team leagues and school teams have practically no time to enjoy their weekends and often get only five hours of sleep. Thank you, Alexander Wolff, for making this reality come to life.
NICK TAGHER, New York City
I'm a high school baseball coach, and I think multisport athletes are often much tougher competitors than athletes who specialize in one sport. A pitcher who had to make a game-winning three-point shot will be ready to handle a bases-loaded jam.
JIM FORNACIARI, LaGrange, Ill.
When a three-sport star specializes in just one sport, it gives two other athletes a chance to participate.
LEO SADLEMIRE, Latham, N.Y.
Raking the Leafs
Thank goodness someone in the media, in this case Michael Farber, finally wrote an article that knocks the Toronto Maple Leafs (Why Everyone Hates the Leafs, Nov. 18). They are always featured on Hockey Night in Canada, their announcers are biased beyond belief, and their players are put on a pedestal by fans and by the NHL head office. Thank you for writing about what I, and many others, have been feeling for a long time.
KEVIN DAWE, Peterborough, Ont.
Everyone may hate the Leafs, but everyone wishes his team played with their intensity.
Sorry to disappoint you, but not everyone hates the Leafs. I'm a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Maple Leafs' incredible run during last year's playoffs. Band of whiners? Let's talk New York Rangers. Cheap-shot artists? How about Scott Stevens?
ADAM WINTERS, Perkasie, Pa.
Farber implied that CBC wanted Toronto to win the 1993 playoff series against the Kings, ostensibly out of favoritism toward the Leafs. Well, of course CBC wanted the Leafs to win that series! If the Leafs had won, it would have been a Toronto- Montreal Stanley Cup final, a ratings bonanza for CBC.
DAVID JAARSMA, Toronto
Rick Reilly's column on developmentally challenged Jake Porter (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Nov. 18) is what sports are all about. We all knew a Jake Porter when we were in school, but how many of us were given the opportunity to learn a lesson from him about generosity, dedication and the sheer joy of playing the game?
KATHY TRAPP, Orange, Calif.
Having worked for 12 years developing vocational opportunities for people with disabilities, I find Reilly's commentary patronizing. The whole emphasis today for people with disabilities is about opportunity, not a free pass.
JIM ZYGMONT, Trumbull, Conn.