"Hey, Buddy, the war is over. Football is only a game."
ERIC STEIN, TEANECK, N.J.
Thanks to Gary Smith for his article on Buddy Ryan (Buddy, July 11), which revealed a side of the man that few people know. Everyone sees the gruff football coach who understands how to win, but being a neighbor of Buddy and Joanie Ryan's, I have come to know a man who visited my terminally ill father on several occasions, who spoke at a local youth football camp on a moment's notice and who arranged for this rookie sportswriter on a weekly newspaper to fulfill a dream by interviewing members of the Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bear team. Beneath the tough coach there is one supernice guy.
JOHN HERNDON, Lawrenceburg, Ky.
The Arizona Cardinals should be proud to have a "field general" of Buddy's stature. In fact, your article made me want to leave my job and become a water boy for Cardinal Ryan.
R. BRETT FULLER, Winchester, Va.
Ryan represents everything that is wrong with the do-anything-to-win philosophy in sports, from holding illegal winter college practices to trying to hurt opposing players. I was disgusted but not surprised to learn that Ryan coached spearing and going for the knees if the quarterback scrambled. In a day when the NFL has been questioned about the violence it portrays, the owners and the league officials should begin correcting that image by getting rid of Ryan.
RICK GOERES, Missoula, Mont.
While flipping through the July 4 issue, I came across the photograph of Montreal Expo pitcher John Wetteland, a baseball in one hand and a Bible in the other (Going to Extremes). The picture stopped me in my tracks. Michael Farber wrote a terrific story about how Wetteland has given his life to Christ. In 18 years I have never had a sports figure as a model to look up to. I think Wetteland is going to be my first.
BRYAN VOLK, Chesterfield, Mo.
Like millions of others, I watched an American hero stand in the public eye on television for several days last month. I don't mean that pathetic person who sat shielded by his platoon of million-dollar lawyers in Los Angeles, but a beautiful and noble person who by virtue of hard work, self-discipline and a strong soul rose to the top of her field. I am speaking of Martina Navratilova and her final appearance at Wimbledon (The Last Hurrah, July 11).
I doubt there was an unmoved heart in the worldwide television audience when she bent to take a small bit of the turf from Centre Court on her way out. I am proud that she chose to become an American citizen.
VAIKUNTH M. STEWART, Los Alamos, N.Mex.
...Not in Your Mouth
Your July 18 cover of Rare Birds was very amusing. One glance at it and my three-year-old son decided to see if his baseball would fit in his mouth. Thanks for being so educational!
JOSEPH M. CAMPETI, Wheeling, W.Va.
The Cheese League
Butch and Sundance, Lewis and Clark, Thelma and Louise, move over. Sidedoor and Telander have arrived! Rick Telander's article on the five NFL training camps in Wisconsin and Minnesota (Say Cheese, July 18) gave me a new perspective on the NFL, as well as a new appreciation for cheese.
Please tell me that the exploits of our fearless heroes will not be limited to the Cheese League. I envision them touring Florida next spring to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the Grapefruit League. Florida, too, has some strange sights.
MICHAEL MCCORMICK, Boston
Telander is always a pleasure to read, but I hope Sidedoor Pullman Kid won't cancel his subscription because of your reference to the Sioux Line. It's the Soo Line, as in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
MARK A. PURSCHWITZ, Stoughton, Wis.
Don't Dis the Brakettes
The Sports People profile on softball star Dot Richardson (July 18) was well-deserved, but the failure to mention the team with which she gained most of her acclaim, the 23-time national champion Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, Conn., is akin to writing a story on Roger Clemens without mentioning the Boston Red Sox. Furthermore, you identified Ralph Raymond only as "coach of the '96 U.S. Olympic team." Raymond has coached the Brakettes since 1967.
DON HARRISON, Fairfield, Conn.
The True Pistol
You must have known when you selected the cover of your July 11 issue that you would receive flak. Pete Sampras is a great tennis player, but Pete Maravich was the trademark Pistol. He even had PISTOL on the back of his jersey in the pros.
It has been 24 years since Maravich left LSU, and his records still stand.
DAVID ELKOVITCH, Auburn, N.Y.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.