Every time I think I'm getting too old for Saturday morning pickup games down at the church gym, I remind myself that I'm 11 months younger than Michael Jordan (Going Out in Style, Feb. 17). Although he's still performing near his peak level, I think I'll pack it in when my 40th birthday rolls around next year. Despite Jack McCallum's inspiring article, I don't want to work that hard to stay in playing shape if I'm not getting paid.
ALAN K. MCDONALD
Going to Hull
I want to thank Brett Hull for stating what's wrong with American youth hockey: too many games and not enough skill development (All Hull Breaks Loose, Feb. 17). I agree with Brett when he says, "Screw games." To satisfy parents' egos, winning is valued more than development is.
AUDREY MAKRIS, San Jose
Hull's selfishness really shines through at the end of the interview. Brett, if you can't sleep when you don't score, you're playing hockey for all the wrong reasons. It's the name on the front of your jersey that matters, not the one on the back.
DAVID RAPPAPORT, New York City
Fortunately there is something Hull does like about hockey beside cashing his check. When Nicholas J. Cotsonika asked Brett if he sleeps well, Hull responded, "Oh, yeah. Like a baby. Except when I don't score." Not a surprising comment considering Brett has the least number of assists in the now-tarnished 700-goal club.
CHARLIE KLIMKOWSKI, Wonder Lake, Ill.
Seeing the Ice
Although I can only dream of having Brett Hull's skills, I do share his deeply felt passion for the game, and I find it difficult to ignore the NHL's failures in the critical area of television. ESPN provides a first-rate announcing team but the most unimaginative production in sports television. I've been hoping for years that TV producers and directors would realize that hockey is a north-south game, not an east-west game. Covering tennis, you would never set up your primary camera on the side of the court and follow the action back and forth. There is ample technology—like the skycam—to make the game as exciting for television viewers as it is in person. Try watching your kids play a hockey video game: The perspective is north-south and a third of the screen is not filled with the crowd. Hockey's the only sport that changes on the fly, a key part of game tactics, but when was the last time you saw that cut into a telecast? If TV presented the game with vision and passion, it would be a wonderful thing for the NHL.
BOB REICHBLUM, Chicago
All That Glitters
I find the message in Steve Rushin's column about conspicuous consumption by professional athletes to be true but discouraging (AIR AND SPACE, Feb. 17). Those of us who teach young students find ourselves at a disadvantage in trying to stress values counter to those of overindulgent, self-serving yet attractive sports stars. Our messages may not be as entertaining, but they are more truthful and realistic.
LARRY SIEWERT, Wauwatosa, Wis.
As a golf fan I find Bill Murray neither funny nor relevant (SCORECARD, Feb. 17). Throw a banana peel at Scott Simpson on the 1st tee? Wow, where else can you find clever humor like that? Woody Allen once stated he hated to perform for college crowds because they were all stoned and laughed at anything. That's how it is with Murray at the AT&T. People laugh at him because they think they are supposed to.
DAVID E. SAFIR, Los Gatos, Calif.
I'm just hoping that Tiger Woods will participate in next year's AT&T and have the great good fortune to draw the "hilarious" Murray as a playing partner. I think Bill will reach his comedic pinnacle when he is seen staggering about with a Nike nine-iron wrapped around his neck.
JIM MCCAFFREY, Sarasota, Fla.
The Princeton Way
I've seen the power of Pete Carril's Princeton offense (It All Starts Here, Feb. 17). I had my first experience with Titan—as we call the system at Dakota (Ill.) High School—during my freshman year, when we went 25-5 under Lee Bennett. The Princeton offense preaches balance and unselfishness; it gives smaller, less fortunate players the ability to beat larger, more talented teams. Coach Bennett has five 20-plus-win seasons in six years using the offense developed by our hero, Coach Carril.
NOAH BOOS, Rock City, Ill.
If coaches everywhere, from youth leagues to the NBA, read Jim Burson's Holy Grail on the Princeton offense, the sport of finesse, speed, skill and teamwork that James Naismith intended will live again.
KENNETH BRIAN REED, Littleton, Colo.