Thank you for covering the story of the Phillips family (The Season After, Dec. 20). It often takes off-the-field tragedies to remind us of the real value of collegiate sports. As a Virginia fan, I'm not particularly proud of the football team's win-loss record over the past two seasons, but the resolve of Colter Phillips—and of the many athletes touched by the tragic death of lacrosse player Yeardley Love last spring—proves that the game must go on.
Carrington Williams, Richmond
While I was duly impressed with the strength of the three Phillips boys in speaking at their father's memorial service and son Willy's not giving in to the lure of pain medication, I was even more astounded by Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and what he did for this family in its time of need. Whether it was offering Willy a scholarship, creating a family wall in the Cardinal locker room or writing a touching letter to Bill's widow Janet, Harbaugh proved that being a football coach isn't just about the X's and O's—it's also about showing compassion to the kids who are busting their butts each and every day for that program.
Dave Sonkin, Babylon, N.Y.
After reading the article about Bill and the incredible courage displayed by his family in the aftermath of his death, I only hope his sons won't mind if I end each text message to my two children: Love you, Dad.
Britt Rodgers, Austin
Joe Posnanski's article on the Army-Navy game (POINT AFTER, Dec. 20) went straight to the heart of the most important rivalry in college football. There is indeed "something more" at play when these two academies face off on the gridiron. Knowing that many of the participants will go on to risk their lives for their country makes the experience even more humbling.
James McCreath, Toronto
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article on the Army-Navy classic, which I believe is truly the greatest rivalry in college football. From the march in to the flyovers to the distinguished guests who attend each year, I've never felt such electricity during a college game.