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The Joy of Dwight
Those who say Dwight Howard is too nice to win a title should take a look at the history books. Nice guys do finish first, including Tony Dungy, David Robinson and countless others who critics claimed could never win the big one.
One thing is clear: Dwight Howard (The Happy Dunker, April 20) has more class than Shaquille O'Neal. Sounding quite jealous and bitter, Shaq could learn something from Howard, whose joy transcends the game. While it is unfortunate that Howard's coach and G.M. in Orlando don't seem to embrace this, I hope Howard doesn't try to conform to what they think he should be. By being himself, I have a feeling he will be just fine. Check that—Super.
Kenny Perry's character transcends any failures on the golf course (Last Man Standing, April 20). What a breath of fresh air to hear him accept his own shortcomings. Perhaps he will redeem himself at the Masters next year.
I don't agree with your statement that because Phil Mickelson will turn 39 during the week of the U.S. Open, "the window is closing for the onetime boy wonder." After all, you say that Masters champ Angel Cabrera, 39, "may just be getting started" after winning his second major. And Phil is still nine years younger than Masters runner-up Kenny Perry.
Poor Angel Cabrera. I didn't watch the Masters, but SI's opening photograph gives a good indication of whom the crowd was cheering for. Cabrera has his arm raised in jubilation after scrambling to save par on the first playoff hole. Hundreds of spectators can be seen in the background, but only one other guy has his arms raised in excitement. Turn the page and you can see Kenny Perry's near chip-in on the same hole, and the crowd seems much more elated.
I was there when the Jets beat the Colts in Super Bowl III, when Hank Aaron hit number 715, when Fuzzy Zoeller holed a putt to win a three-way playoff in the Masters and when Kerri Strug vaulted with a bad ankle to clinch an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. gymnastics team. But my most vivid memory is from a baseball game in the late 1960s at the University of Miami, when head coach Ron Fraser was knocked unconscious by a line-drive foul ball while in the third base coaching box (Hit in the Head, April 20). He lay on the ground for what seemed an interminable time before a hushed crowd. Fortunately he was not seriously injured.
I was at RFK Stadium 30-plus years ago and saw Tony Oliva rocket a foul ball over the third base dugout that smacked a poor woman in the mouth. He looked absolutely devastated and got on one knee while the medics attended to her. Since then I have always wondered why stadiums don't place screens behind the dugouts like the ones behind home plate. Fans may resist the obstruction, but drivers also fought seat belts, which are now mandatory and accepted by everyone. I hope your story emboldens baseball to do the right thing.