Mayhem in Madison
During Wisconsin's 13-10 victory over Michigan, which turned into chaos (Violent Victory, Nov. 8), I was sitting just to the right of the mob and watched as the students stormed the field. The people in the top 20 to 25 rows of the bleachers rushed down before those at the bottom had anywhere to go, forcing those at the bottom into a seemingly unyielding fence. Bodies were buried, and injuries mounted.
Many people blame the police, claiming that the gates in the fence should have been opened so that the students could have gotten safely onto the field. This is wrong. The rushing students were at fault for not thinking about what they were doing.
I was sitting about halfway up one of the student sections and became caught in the surge. No one person or group was responsible for this tragedy. It was the culmination of many factors.
ADAM P. CASEY
Sheer chaos and moronic crowd control are what I recall from that terrible scene: a girl below me with her face implanted in the ground because my forearm was in the back of her neck; friends to my right and left whose lower bodies faced one way while their upper bodies faced the opposite way; girls lying on the ground with tubes placed down their throats to get oxygen into their lungs.
Chancellor David Ward said that the police were ordered to let the students onto the field. From where I was, in the middle of it all, that was not the case. Police officers were not allowing students to jump the fence; in fact they were pushing them back into the crowd.
We are all saddened by the death of golfer Heather Farr (A Battler to the End, Nov. 29). Fortunately, breast cancer is an unusual occurrence in women as young as 28. However, when it does occur, it is a particularly terrible disease and typically runs a course similar to that which Farr endured.
Your article seemed to suggest that her doctors were somehow responsible for her suffering and, ultimately, for her death. Doctors do not "demand" procedures. Therapy is offered within the context of the wishes of the patient and her family, and they are counseled about potential risks and benefits. Cancer killed Farr despite the best efforts of her doctors.
DEAN A. EDWARDS, M.D.
Thank you for your coverage of the Penn-Princeton game (Penn and Needles, Nov. 15). Although Ivy-League students and alumni realize that our games will never capture the country's attention, this matchup was our version of Notre Dame-Florida State.
New York City
As Keith Elias's thesis adviser and the author of a forthcoming book on the functions of celebrity in American culture, I was appalled yet not surprised by Leigh Montville's account of the Princeton-Penn game. His portrayal of Elias as an immature loudmouth is a venerable sportswriting gambit that has been employed by thousands of other writers over the past century.
John L. Sullivan, Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali are perhaps the most famous athletes portrayed in this fashion. But the list could be extended to include thousands of obscure athletes who did not conform to the standards of behavior revered by the generally white, upper-middle-class people who write about sports and have long shaped its conventional wisdom.
CHARLES L. PONCE DE LEON
Department of History