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Original Issue


Games Children Play

THE LIFE OF REILLY in the May 14 edition was an outstanding
presentation of a critical problem confronting society:
overbearing, overprotective parents who discourage competition
because their child might come in last. Rick Reilly's attack on
the ban against playing dodgeball in some U.S. school districts
was right on target.
JASON ANDERSON, Cheyenne, Wyo.

I would plot strategies during third-grade class: Lay back, pick
good targets, keep moving, use other players as screens until the
moment of truth. I was the last player on my team, facing my best
friend, Louie Bettinelli, mano a mano. I don't remember who won
that contest and it doesn't matter. However, I learned I was an
athlete. From that epiphany, I pursued a lifetime of
sports--baseball, soccer, lacrosse, downhill ski racing, cycling
and tennis, all at competitive levels.

Taking competition away from children is doing them a grave
disservice. Life is dodgeball; all the rest is details.
DAVID L. HARTCORN, Annapolis, Md.

At school we have something called the Cooperative Games.
(That's school language; we call them the Death by Bore Games.)
In one of the games you get as much credit for saying thank you
when someone passes you the ball as you do when you throw it in
the basket. Pathetic, wouldn't you agree?
DAVID ROHER (age 10) Chappaqua, N.Y.

While an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts
majoring in sport management, I conducted an after-school sports
program at a grammar school. Two boys wanted to skip dodgeball
because, they said, they were no good. The next day I let them
pick their team, and they didn't choose the jocks, they selected
their friends. Not only did they beat a team of jocks (with a
little help from me), but they also experienced being the
captains that day, something I hope they remember for a long
time. Keep the games and let the kids play.
TERRY MULLAN, Orcas Island, Wash.

Brave New World

In your astonishing and horrifying story Unnatural Selection (May
14), you state that genetic engineering could be used to help
weekend warriors. But why would anyone be satisfied with merely
being a weekend warrior when, with a little genetic tweaking, he
or she could try to become a rich and famous professional
ROBERT PACK, Bethesda, Md.

You pose the question, "Why not clone A-Rod--or 25 A-Rods--and
engineer an entire team?" Rangers owner Tom Hicks will tell you
why not at least 252 million times: A-Rod can't pitch.
Mike Goldman, Plano, Texas

Speaking of Cheap Shots...

I agree that Tie Domi's hit on Scott Niedermayer was bad (INSIDE
THE NHL, May 14). But to suggest that Domi's act was more
outrageous than Dale Hunter's attack on Pierre Turgeon in the
1993 playoffs? Please. Brian Cazeneuve fails to say that Hunter
hit Turgeon after the whistle--while he was celebrating a goal.

Hats on the ice to Cazeneuve for telling it the way the fans see
it, too. What is allowed in the NHL is more than the majority of
hockey fans can stomach.
BILL PERRY, Seal Beach, Calif.

Casey's Corner

It's great to read about a pro athlete like Sean Casey who gets
it (Casey at the Bat, May 14). Barry Bonds, take note: You can
hit 800 home runs and nobody will care.

Stephen Cannella's article on Casey was a painful reminder of the
string of boneheaded trades orchestrated by Indians general
manager John Hart.

Typecasting Tito

Last year, I objected to Richard Hoffer's article about the Felix
Trinidad-Fernando Vargas fight (INSIDE BOXING, Dec. 11). I felt
Trinidad was underappreciated because of his poor English and an
unflamboyant personality. Now I'm happy after reading Hoffer's
latest article on Tito (Spurred to Greatness, May 14). I guess
Hoffer found out what we in Puerto Rico knew: Tito is a good
person with solid family ties and pride in his homeland.
Luquillo, Puerto Rico


Commence Firing

Rick Reilly obviously never got hit in the face by a gym ball
(above). Dodgeball is a way to let out your aggression--on another
person. There's no sport in the game; it's just a way to hurt
someone else, supposedly for the sake of fun.