I thought it was wonderfully appropriate for you to include Tonelli's Run, the story of Notre Dame's heroic fullback, Motts Tonelli, surviving the Bataan Death March and WWII internment, in your pre-Super Bowl edition (Jan. 27). You have shown us the real value of athletic competition—the development of character—during a time of the year when most fans succumb to the hype and superficiality of Super Bowl activities. Tonelli's Notre Dame class ring, shown on page 76 of the issue, outshines all the diamond-encrusted Super Bowl rings in LEADING OFF. Thanks for putting things in perspective.
THOMAS B. PETERSEN
Eagle River, Ark.
I told myself, "You don't need SI in the Internet age. The news is outdated by the time you get it." Then I read Tonelli's Run—and remembered reading Soul Survivor (Dec. 2), the story of Washington State receiver Devard Darling, and Higher Education (March 5, 2001), about the black basketball coach in the Amish town in Ohio. Now I know why I keep reordering this outdated magazine.
STEVE WAITE, Columbus, Ohio
My husband and I were fortunate to be able to call Motts our friend. I would phone him every year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day to say thank you for all he did for our country. Each time Motts would reply, "Ah, Kiddo, I didn't do anything. I was just one of the lucky ones." It's good to remember the real heroes in our lives. Number 58—forever in our hearts.
MARTHA C. MINAHAN, Tampa
What Women Want
As an active 55-year-old woman with four daughters who have all been college athletes, I cried as I read aloud to my daughters THE LIFE OF REILLY on the lack of coverage of women's athletics (Jan. 27). When I was in junior high school, there were no teams for girls in any sport. Thanks Rick, for being an advocate for my generation of wannabes, my daughters' generation who made the most of their newfound opportunities, and for their daughters' potential. Your words provided the spark for my family and our friends to contact our representatives in Congress and President Bush to support the continued enforcement of Title IX.
I'm an assistant in the sports information office at St. John's (N.Y.) assigned to women's sports, and I know how difficult it is to get noticed. When our women's soccer team won the ECAC Championship, there was one line in the paper. Our women's basketball team has a vibrant new coach bringing life to the program, but we can't get one reporter to cover the games and see the talented athletes who are working so hard to earn respect for their team.
ALLISON RUBIN, Whitestone, N.Y.
For the umpteenth time, let's set the record straight. Reilly states that "Title IX has caused brutal cuts in men's sports over the past 30 years." Not true. It's the men who run athletic programs who make the decisions to cut men's programs in order to protect the sacred cow of football. Title IX merely assures that women have the opportunity to participate. Nowhere does the law say that men must have diminished opportunities in order for women to play. Please keep the two issues separate.
PAT VAN VOLKINBURG, Ann Arbor, Mich.
SI has flourished through the years because of men who want to read about men's sports. We like to follow sports because we have an appreciation for those who can perform at the very highest level in games that we love. While women are certainly very capable athletes, they are not the very best at what they do. We don't read about or watch men's minor league sports for the same reason that we don't read about or watch women's sports: Only the best are fun to watch.
KELLY RIFE, Greenville, S.C.
Under coverage seems like a good thing to me. I remember when the Super Bowl didn't sell out. It was kinda nice not to have so much coverage in my face. I enjoyed World Series games during the day, Super Bowls ending before dinner and televised sports without a zillion commercials. Now we have to bring women's sports into this frenzy? Who said that was better? Duke coach Gail Goestenkors had it right when she said, "We play for ourselves, for our own excellence." Please, let's not make women's sports like the men's.
SCOTT GOWDY, Hatboro, Pa.
The Line King
As a Purdue and Pacers fan stuck here in the supposed cultural Siberia of central Indiana, I couldn't help but take exception to your statistical inaccuracy when describing Yao Ming's free throw percentage (Really Big Show, Jan. 27) as "best among the league's starting centers." Going into the All-Star break the Pacers' Brad Miller is shooting them at .817, while Yao is at .774, with 40 fewer attempts.
DALE STOUFFER, Wabash, Ind.