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December 30, 2002
Getting the PicturesKudos for running the Faces of the NFL (Dec. 9) portfolio. Walter Iooss Jr. is one of the greatest sports photographers of all time. Thank you, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, for continuing to set a high standard for photography.JED CARLSON, Superior, Wis.
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December 30, 2002


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As I read The Game of a Lifetime, all the horrors of my workweek faded away and were replaced by memories of getting up on Thanksgiving morning, tying orange and blue ribbons in my pigtails, making orange-and-blue yarn pom-poms to tie on my shoelaces, taking five dollars of my birthday money and traipsing off with all my friends to the yearly Turkey Day game. I can remember wearing two pairs of socks to keep my feet warm, drinking hot chocolate and cheering until I could no longer speak. Imagine my delight when I read that my high school rivalry is one of the 15 oldest active in the U.S.
TAMMI COOPER, Vineland, N.J.

Every year during my brief tenure as coach and teacher at Kirkwood, my family would ask, Why don't you come home for Thanksgiving? Impossible, I would tell them. Now they understand why. Bowden captured every aspect of this tradition with honesty and poise. I am out of education, but every year my thoughts turn to roaming the sideline again, coaching young athletes to be their best on the field and returning home on Thanksgiving to stuff myself and offer thanks.

On the Mark
I gave the Mark Messier article (The Late Shift, Dec. 9) to my 10-year-old son, who has played travel hockey for the past six years, and told him to read it for the work ethic that Messier represents. He did and a day later gave it back to me and said, "Dad, I get it. Let's go to practice."

A minor leaguer trying to make the Boston Bruins gives Messier a clean check, and the response is a cheap-shot elbow that could have severely injured the kid. What a leader, what a role model, what a class act.
MARC NICOLS, Deer Park, N.Y.

Roundball Reverie
Steve Rushin's column about basketball is perfect (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 9). It is about time someone has paid homage to the finest American sport. Maybe today's crybaby superstars should be made to read this article, to remember what the game is all about.
PETE MCCOUBREY, Wakefield, Mass.

Driver's Education
I volunteer at a halfway house for 10 teenage boys who have just been released from juvenile detention, and Rick Reilly's article about Donald Driver (The Life of Reilly, Dec. 9) gives me faith that these kids can still achieve anything they want. I will bring this article to the kids to show them that—no matter what mistakes they've already made—there is still hope that they can make their dreams reality. Driver's story will definitely motivate at least 10 young men to get on the right track.
DANIEL KAMINS, Rochester, N.Y.

It's an intriguing tale about Driver-going from living in the back of a U-Haul to the millions of the NFL. Now that he has signed a contract worth more than $10 million, will he be buying cars for the people he once stole them from?
JARED PARCELL, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Love for Sail
Richard Hoffer makes it clear that he thinks billionaires spending $80 million for a three-year campaign to win the America's Cup is foolish (Ships of Fools, Dec. 2). How does he feel about paying A-Rod $252 million to play baseball for 10 years? He makes fun of the fact that the boats are towed, not sailed, out to the race course. Does he believe that Tony Stewart or Michael Schumacher should drive their race cars from one event to the next?
STEPHEN A. WEEBER, Miamisburg, Ohio

The America's Cup races have become mostly about money, ego and technology. However, anyone who has ever raced a sailboat of any size or shape and knows what it means to blow a start or lose control of a spinnaker rounding the downwind mark cannot help but thrill at the sight of those beautiful boats—with their acres of sail and tons of lead floated by fragile, Kevlar-coated hulls—going one-on-one in a competition that will not always be won by the fastest boat, the best sailor or even by the richest man.
JIM ABELSON, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Olympic Hardball
According to MLB's vice president of baseball operations, Sandy Alderson, a five-or six-day Olympic baseball tournament could involve major league players (SCORECARD, Dec. 9). Who does he think he's kidding? There is no way an MLB player would be willing to conform to the Olympic random drug-testing requirements. Oh, wait, Don Fehr is on the USOC now; maybe we can expect him to water down Olympic doping enforcement until it's as meaningless as baseball's.

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