MARIAN LEIFSEN'S SON
The article about the recruiting of high school basketball star Tom Leifsen (A House Divided, March 5) describes the pressures that success brings to bear upon young athletes. However, young Leifsen is one of the more fortunate ones, having been offered the opportunity to attend a number of top-quality schools. It appears that things have worked out well for him. He is attending the University of Pennsylvania, one of the academic giants among our universities, and he is part of a basketball program that ranks among the best.
JOHN T. MILLER
We have been trying to figure out why SI chose to publish the article written by Marian Leifsen about her son being recruited to play college basketball. As far as we can see, the article serves no constructive purpose, except perhaps to show the additional problems that arise when a high school star has an over-protective mother. Her attempt to jump on the bandwagon by criticizing recruiting practices fails because she really has nothing to criticize. Her criticisms are of a coach's haircut, where he's from or how he talks up his program.
DAVID AND CLAIRE BAILEY
Several things struck me as being ironic after I read Marian Leifsen's article. First, her undisguised enthusiasm for Ivy League schools and the top-notch education one gets from them seems rather odd when compared with her never-fully-explained dislike for Davidson, which has long been described (justifiably, in view of its academic reputation and grad-school-admittance record) as the Princeton of the South.
Second, she was, by her own admission, "pushy, a stage mother, forcing on my son my own aspirations for the Great American Dream." Therefore, I cannot sympathize with her complaints about the high-pressure world of college recruiting. Indeed, her thoughts and actions seem to be an excellent example of the pot calling the kettle black.
I can sympathize with Marian Leifsen because I know that family decisions can be difficult, especially for a well-intentioned mother who is receiving outside interference. However, because she was so determined that her son attend a school in the North, she lost her perspective.
I resent any insinuation that Davidson will stop short of nothing to enroll the athletes it needs. That is absolutely false. Davidson's athletes must first of all be students, and that is why they are so special. The author stated that her son was "wined and dined" at Big Daddy's. Big Daddy's is a small-town, family-style seafood restaurant. It is a nice place but hardly the type of restaurant one would choose for high-pressure recruiting.
As for Eddie Biedenback, he is an outstanding coach and a fine gentleman.
MARY LEE DOUGLAS
When Philip Wylie coined the term "momism," he undoubtedly had someone very much like the author of your article in mind.
The next time you include an article by Marian Leifsen, please preface it with the warning: "This article may be a soapbox for a disgruntled feminist."
Marian Leifsen's article showed an immense lack of appreciation for the interest shown by coaches and schools in her son. An offer of a free college education from some of the finest schools in the country, including Davidson, is not exactly peanuts.