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I cried the first time, the second time and now the 10th time I read the story of the Central Washington players' selfless act. I don't know how many people will "do the right thing" because of this article, but I'm going to do my best to increase the number.
This line about Mallory Holtman (The Way It Should Be, June 29) grabbed my attention: "She has a brother and father who will let nothing harm her. She has a mother and sister who affirm her without condition. She has spent more than four years learning from a coach who would rather lose in the mud than win by a rainout." It demonstrates how the teaching of sportsmanship must start at home with parents and continue with coaches and teachers who foster the proper balance between competitiveness and compassion.
The video of this moment should be required viewing before the first organized team activity of any sport at any level, especially the professionals.
Your story includes a letter to Mallory from youth baseball coach Kevin Hunt, one of the many people touched by her act, who complained that an opposing coach showed "extremely poor sportsmanship" when he appealed to the umpire about one of Hunt's players missing a base. As a father, teacher and high school girls' softball coach, I cannot endorse the babying of our children when they err. If a player is called out, he will learn his lesson and never miss a base again; if you let him off the hook, he will think that "honest mistakes" will always be forgiven.
After reading your story I went to save it for my three daughters, ages six, four and two, and was disappointed to find the opposite side of the last page plastered with images of scantily clad swimsuit models (THE VAULT, June 29). I will actually use this as a teaching moment about what real beauty is. Thank you, Mallory Holtman, for being the true "supermodel" for our girls.
It is virtually certain that Joe Mauer will fail to hit .400 this season. Apart from the reasons usually cited—the long schedule, coast-to-coast air travel and, especially, the rigors of catching—a player would have to be superhuman not to succumb to the relentless media pressure. When your story (Joe Mauer Will Serenely, Politely Crush You, June 29) came out, it wasn't even July, for God's sake! Fortunately, Mauer appears to be more concerned with helping his team than with reaching an arbitrary individual milestone.
My favorite part of Tom Verducci's story was about how Mauer quickly left the bustle of New York City after the 2008 All-Star Game to enjoy the peace and quiet of his cabin. I just hope the Twins will be able to pay enough to keep him in Minnesota.
I had bet my kids a couple of weeks ago that our hometown hero and all-around good guy, Joe Mauer, would soon make the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. But something tells me even Joe himself would've rather been "benched" for Mallory Holtman. Indeed, both of these athletes represent "the way it should be."