It is so easy to see the insidiousness of drug use in McLain's no-excuse account of his road to addiction. None of the things he did was ever meant to lead to big-time drug use. He always felt he maintained some element of control. He started light and wound up with a big-buck habit that led to ruin.
Though he gives a slap on the hands to Villanova officials for not helping him. it should be remembered that McLain did not kick his habit until he was ready. Any effort on the part of coach Rollie Massimino to discipline him or to force him to quit might have driven McLain deeper into abuse.
A copy of the piece should be sent to every school district in the country. Everyone says it can't happen to me, but Gary McLain proves otherwise.
Falls Mills, Va.
I respect McLain because he did something about his problem and is not ashamed to admit that he had one. I wish more people were like that. My father was on drugs for years, but he, too, finally admitted it and is now in rehab. It's a long struggle, and I wish Gary good luck. He made the right choice.
A MCLAIN FAN
Gary McLain has a tough road ahead. But what about the system that encourages kids like Gary to be above the law? Why do we continue to treat star athletes as if they can do no wrong?
McLain's problems, while deeply personal and near tragic, are not his alone. His guilt is his to bear, but our standards and laws must be equally applied or else our own guilt will continue to be greater. We can't just deal with the users; we've got to work on our own attitudes. We have to show our kids that the way to success can be drug-free. Otherwise the McLains and the Biases and the John Belushis will continue to haunt us all.
My name is Steve Beatty, and along with Gary McLain, I was a member of the Big East all-star team that traveled to Angola in 1982. I have never taken drugs, nor do I have any intention of ever doing so. As a member of that team I was aware of many of the incidents revealed by Gary. I knew Gary was getting high on the trip, and I knew that he was caught by Mr. Calzonetti.
The reason I am writing is to wish Gary all the luck in the world. I consider that trip to Angola to be one of the highlights of my life. We players formed a close bond during the tour, and afterward, whenever we met, we always exchanged handshakes and conversation before games against one another.
I didn't realize that Gary had a real problem until I read the story in SI. Gary seems to be well on the road to recovery, and I know he will make it because he is a winner. I never had the success on the basketball court that Gary experienced, but I have been successful in life since college. I know I will continue to be successful because life is like basketball; the harder you work at being successful, the easier it comes.
As someone who attended Villanova on an athletic scholarship and who also had the opportunity to be a resident assistant responsible for overseeing one of the male dorms, I have been exposed to both sides of the drug issue.