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000 000 000rel Hershiser!
Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda for Sportsmen of the Year. Without any one of the three, the Dodgers would not have won their division, much less the National League pennant and the World Series.
Thanks for the terrific story. I hope the public realizes that some societal malcontents are in here using their energies in competitive pursuit, and not in learning new tricks of the criminal trade. My sports career ended in an automobile accident in 1979; I broke my leg in three places and had to have a steel staple put in my Achilles tendon, which limits my ability to run. Before that, I was an all-state outfielder in Michigan and won an athletic scholarship to Eastern Michigan University. During the summer of '78 I worked alongside Al Kaline and Mickey Lolich as an instructor at their summer baseball camp. In addition, I played outfield for a team in a Detroit amateur league, where I got a key home run off Orel Hershiser to force a championship playoff. So some of us inmates did have a bit of glory within our grasp before we took a wrong turn.
Incarceration (I'm serving time for aggravated robbery) takes away a person's freedom, but it will never erase the athletic competitiveness that is ingrained in every American soul. I'm now a member of the Texas Department of Corrections championship softball team. We take pride in being the 10 best players in this system of 39,000 inmates.
As a corrections officer at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, I enjoyed your article. One thing you left out is that sports programs make working conditions safer for the guards and the civilians employed by prisons. The more sports and other activities, the less idle time inmates have; and the more occupied they are, the easier our job is.
I read the article with mixed feelings. The psychological tension created by incarceration in our chronically overcrowded prisons demands a release found only through intense activity. Physical exercise is one outlet, intellectual pursuits are another. The paradox of allowing violent criminals to lift weights to increase their size, which, in turn, allows them to become more violent, brings into focus a fundamental issue in the penal system: Are we reforming, reeducating or retooling convicted felons? Telander has given us new views on a subject that is in dire need of understanding and compassion. My only criticism is that the article refers to Brave New World as a book by George Orwell. It was written by Aldous Huxley.
BARRY SANDERS IS O.K.