SI Vault
July 26, 2010
All the attention paid to the shake-up in the Big 12 and LeBron's free agency will fade with time, but the fiasco that is the Gulf oil spill will no doubt continue to affect us for generations. Football and basketball are just games. What's going on in the waters so close to all of us is about life and death.
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July 26, 2010


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By criticizing this fight as a "lasting setback" on the path to better race relations, Richard Hoffer implies that progress comes without conflict. Hoffer also writes that "sport is best restricted to the service of entertainment, for uplift and excitement" and suggests that sport can be separated from the rest of society. Sport often has social significance, and Johnson's fight was a great example of this. He confronted racism and advanced the cause of equality. Even if Johnson was unsavory and his victory prompted a murderous white backlash, we should still recall his win as a milestone of progress.

Jim Strickler, Evanston, Ill.

Sports Lifeline

As the parent of an eight-year-old autistic boy trying to settle into his own rhythm, I was touched by Phil Taylor's article about 12-year-old golfer Charles St. Germain (POINT AFTER, July 5). It inspired a range of emotions, and I finished with a feeling of hope. Whether Charles wins a competitive match at any level doesn't matter. He and his father, Paul, have discovered a place where a unique boy with unique talent feels comfortable. It gives me and other parents of autistic children hope that we will find a niche for our kids.

Steve Lussier, Bedford, N.H.

Finding a connection with our sons is something fathers of children with autism always desire. Our kids struggle to fit in with their peers, and thus their participation in team sports is terrifying for the parents. Your story will be important to the many dads who have lost hope that they will ever make a connection with their child.

Steven Michelman

Las Vegas

Speed Bumps

I appreciated your discussion with today's stars of NASCAR (Motor Mouths, July 5). As an avid NASCAR fan I'd like to see the races become more competitive. I agree that the season needs to be shorter and racetracks (such as Iowa, Nashville, etc.) should be added. They also need to put the "stock" back in stock car racing. Recently the Nationwide series has gone this route, and the Cup series needs to follow suit. I don't believe, however, that races need to be shortened. There were 400- and 500-hundred-mile races back in racing's heyday, and they were a lot more fun to watch.

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