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Original Issue



I felt the need to thank you for the piece by Michael Bamberger
about Mike Carroll and his brothers of Ladder 3 (Everybody's
All-Americans, Dec. 24-31). Your magazine has been a source of
relaxation for me over the past 25 years, but never has a story
touched my heart the way this one did. It was an honor to share
the article with my fire company on Christmas Day. At Firehouse
16 in Sacramento, as we sat down for our Christmas dinner, we
had a moment of silence for our brothers of the FDNY and a toast
to Ladder 3.
Captain, Engine 16

Your wonderful cover story helped me explain to my
six-year-old--who wants to be both a firefighter and a baseball
player--that a grown-up can be many different things. The men
you featured were outstanding examples of the role athletics can
play against a backdrop of real life.
MARK T. RUDY, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

At a January 2000 autograph show I saw Mike Piazza put his arms
on the shoulders of two young brothers while their father took a
picture. The smiles on the boys' faces almost brought me to
tears. The shot of Mike playing video football with Brendan
Carroll did bring me to tears.
JED CONBOY, St. Johnsville, N.Y.

The Fans Are Revolting

When I was growing up in Portland (Losing their Grip, Dec.
24-31), the police would encourage us kids to stay out of
trouble by giving us basketball cards of Trail Blazers players.
As a teen I was rewarded for raising money for charity by
spending a day with the team--Clyde Drexler even stood up when
my mother left the lunch table! It seems that the only pictures
the police have of the current Blazers are mug shots.
LARRY RAPP, Lithonia, Ga.

On Sept. 11 Mike Carroll and 342 other members of the FDNY
unselfishly gave their lives while rescuing 25,000 people from
the World Trade Center. They did all this in about 90 minutes.
On Dec. 7 some members of the Trail Blazers exhibited little
holiday cheer, incessantly checking their pagers, while
participating in a benefit to distribute Christmas trees to
families in need. They did all this in about 90 minutes. The
average firefighter's salary: about $45,000. The average NBA
player's salary: about $4,500,000. What's wrong with this picture?
Ladder 3, Portland, Maine

Blazers management will no doubt refute your article by saying
that every NBA team has its problem players. No doubt, but they
always seem to wind up here.
CARL MOESCHE, Gresham, Ore.

It is too bad the NBA banned players from wearing temporary
tattoos of corporate logos (It Came from the Sports Pages, Dec.
24-31), because I can think of at least one brand name that
would fit perfectly on the forehead of Portland forward Rasheed
Wallace: The Gap.
JERRY N. SMITH, Lawrence, Kans.

Portland's Bob Whitsitt said he "wasn't a chemistry major." I
guess he was a math major if he thought that bringing together
two negatives would make a positive.

Fans do it to themselves just as much as the athletes do. Maybe
it is time for people to either enjoy the games or stay home.
ANDREW TOUGAS, Canmore, Alberta

White Magic

The next time Steve Rushin (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 24-31) calls in
sick during a blizzard, you'll know the truth. His ability to
capture perfectly the idyllic mood of a childhood snow day
likely means he has enjoyed a few such days in the past couple
of years. Thanks for stirring the kid in all of us.
STAN GREENE, Grand Rapids

Hey, I'm from California, and I have no idea what you are
talking about. Darn.
Citrus Heights, Calif.

And in the End

After reading in the year-end issue about the Blazers' boorish
behavior, Nate Newton's drug arrests and some of the Red Sox
players' reluctance to contribute to the Sept. 11 relief funds,
I can see why the pros all Want to Be Like Mike. Thank you Mike
Bamberger for your words, thank you Mike Piazza for your
kindness, and thank you Mike Carroll for your humanity.
LUKE J. FAIR, Manhattan Beach, Calif.


Family Ties

If I can be half the father to my two kids that Mike Carroll was
to his, I will be a perfect father. Nancy should be proud of her
husband for his firefighting and the work he did with their
kids. He will be greatly missed by many people who never had a
chance to meet him.
GREG WEAVER, Frisco, Texas