Four for Four
I'm impressed that you picked this year's Final Four almost a year in advance. In your issue of April 9, 2007, Luke Winn listed his top four championship contenders for the next season as North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, and Memphis. Even his team capsules read as if they could have been written a couple of weeks ago. Who would have thought!
Scott Alfiero, Dix Hills, N.Y.
I'd like some stock-market tips from the person in charge of last fall's College Basketball Preview issue. UNC, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas were your Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6 picks, respectively, and your Nos. 3 and 5 picks, Tennessee and Georgetown, had outstanding seasons as well. Also, one of that issue's regional covers highlighted the Tennessee- Memphis rivalry, which turned out to be the regular-season game of the year.
Gloria Lepp, Sherwood, Ore.
All of golf owes Lee Elder (The Courage of Lee Elder, April 7) a debt of gratitude. I am the CEO of the Cleveland County Family YMCA, and in 2006 we had a golf course donated to us. When it opened I watched a dozen African-American girls who were from the YMCA Girls Club and part of the Y's First Tee program hit off the driving range. I am positive that these girls directly benefited from the bravery of people like Lee Elder.
Cameron R. Corder, Shelby, N.C.
What struck me while reading Damon Hack's moving article on Lee Elder was how little was done by white PGA Tour golfers at the time to help the black pros. Can you imagine if Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had said in the late 1960s or early '70s that they wouldn't compete in the Masters unless Charlie Sifford or Lee Elder were invited to play?
Morty Mittenthal, Pasadena
Besides being the best golfer ever, Tiger Woods has had a positive effect on people of every race because he gives little credence to the unproductive distractions that others attempt to force upon him. He spends his energy focusing on the game itself.
Matt Tinkham, Peterborough, N.H.
Phinney Family Values
Davis Phinney is one of the unsung heroes of American sports, and it's great that his son, Taylor, who will compete in the upcoming Olympics, has followed him into cycling (Life Cycles, April 7). It is even greater to hear that Davis, who has Parkinson's, is staring the Body Snatcher in the eyes as he goes about his business of staying active. Davis always has been the ultimate challenger.
Jonathan Merritt, Aurora, Colo.
Young onset Parkinson's disease usually affects a person in his 50s. I was diagnosed five years ago at 32, so I know what Davis Phinney, who's 48, is going through. His attitude should be an inspiration to anyone with any ailment. Look for a cure, but live your life. We only get one turn on this planet. Davis isn't letting Parkinson's ruin his, and I'm not letting it ruin mine.
Tim Blum, Winchester, Va.
When Joe Torre was a Yankee, he was the ultimate New Yorker: stone-faced, no-nonsense, ready to play the heavy in a Martin Scorsese film. Now, every time I see Torre in a Dodgers uniform ( Hollywood Beginning, April 7), I keep thinking of John Travolta's character in Pulp Fiction when he had to wear a UC Santa Cruz T-shirt and pastel shorts after cleaning the blood-soaked car. Torre just doesn't look comfortable in Dodger blue; maybe he should consider frosted tips or an earring—or a move back to New York.
Jim Triggs, Edina, Minn.
As a soccer fan, I have long been wary of efforts to Americanize the sport simply to increase its appeal to a U.S. audience—see early MLS efforts to add shootouts. But Chris Ballard's column about Billy Beane's plans to bring more stats into soccer (Point After, April 7) has me intrigued. The few statistical categories cited by Ballard suggest that there is a world of data out there that could add to the enjoyment and understanding of the beautiful game.
Ben Berger, Simsbury, Conn.
Hate to burst Beane's digital bubble, but adding stats won't get us American males to look up from our beer mugs.
Ken Ries, Greenville, S.C.