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Katie Popik, Richmond
Beyond the Streak
I have been intrigued by the De La Salle High football team ever since I first heard about "the streak" several years ago (The Little School That Can't Be Beat, Aug. 23). I expected to learn of shady recruiting tactics and a team made up of 300pound linemen, running backs who run the 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds and a quarterback who could throw a football 75 yards. It's heartwarming to learn that the team and its coach are just a bunch of average guys who seem to really love the game and work hard to succeed.
As an assistant track coach at the school for the last seven years and a father of two recent De La Salle graduates, I think Kelley King did a great job of capturing the spirit of coaching kids first and football players second. Coach Lad, Coach Edison and the rest of the staff are the real deal.
As much as I applaud coach Bob Ladouceur for molding countless young men in a positive way, I can't help but wince at the thought of where high school sports have gone in just the past couple of decades. A workout and practice schedule that begins in January and runs up to the start of the season? Players dropping other sports so they can concentrate solely on football? I sure do miss the days when high school kids played more than one sport.
Mike Rich, Beaverton, Ore.
I had the privilege of being Bob Ladouceur's position coach at San Jose State University. Despite having knee and shoulder surgeries, he was one of the quickest and toughest players I've ever coached. But aside from his athletic talent, he was a strong, moral man with great study and work habits and a wonderful approach to everyday life. He is still the quiet, hardworking, unassuming person that he was as an athlete. The young men at De La Salle who have come under his tutelage will one day realize what a great man and great role model they played for.
Dick Mannini, Twain Harte, Calif.