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Original Issue


In the Eye of the Beholder

My 17-year-old son and I enjoyed Michael Silver's American
Beauty (Sept. 16), especially the quote from James Parrish about
"a sense of something greater than individual
filters out insincerity in a hurry." My son hung the quote in
his football team's locker room so his fellow players could
contemplate it.
Charlene Plett Liberal, Kans.

Silver's article was effective if the point was to show the ugly
side of football and promote the author's near celebrity status.
We learned about a high school defensive tackle who speaks his
own language, Miami fans who humiliate women and, finally, that
Silver knows a rock band's singer. What was the point of the
article again? Oh, yeah, rekindling the nation's spirit.
Matt Steuart, Minneapolis

Although I enjoyed the story of the five-day football journey, I
must take exception to your description of the trip as a
"grueling...odyssey." Is a five-day football journey grueling?
Sounds like a paid vacation to me.
Peter Pinnow, Oxford, Miss.

For Pete's Sake

Pete Sampras's astonishing win in the U.S. Open caps an
unprecedented tennis career (A Grand Occasion, Sept. 16). What is
particularly impressive about his 14 Grand Slam final victories
is that he won eight in straight sets and only once in those 14
matches was he extended to five sets. Even his idol, the great
Rod Laver, cannot match that dominance.
Philip K. Curtis, Atlanta

S.L. Price and many others overlook the career of Rod Laver when
they proclaim Sampras the greatest male player of all time.
Although Laver won "only" 11 Grand Slam titles--including all four
titles in 1962 and '69--he was barred from playing the Slam events
for five years, from the time he gave up his amateur status in
'63 until professionals were allowed to play in '68. Considering
that he dominated the men's game before and after his forced
absence, how many of the missed events could he have won?
Jim Elliott Treasure Island, Fla.

Pete Sampras will be the greatest only if he can conquer all
surfaces. His Achilles' heel has been the clay at the French
Open. He will be crowned king if--and when--he wins at Roland
Paul Grein Bay City, Mich.

If you were looking for a true expression of the American spirit
for your Sept. 16 cover, you should have looked no further than
Gary Sanders, Alexandria, Va.

One Brick at a Time

The fundamental flaw of the U.S. basketball team at the World
Basketball Championship was that America's best players were not
present (Inside Basketball, Sept. 16). Sure, teamwork and
fundamentals are helpful, but they are not the reasons that the
U.S. team lost. Does anyone seriously believe that Shaq would not
have dominated international teams as he has NBA teams for the
last several seasons?
Nathan Lyon, Parker, Colo.

NBA players at the world championships received a lesson in team
play, especially from Argentina and Yugoslavia. Our guys can jump
and run, but the fundamentals aren't there. There are a few
complete basketball players in the NBA, but they weren't in
Carlos C. Briceno, Miami

All Women, All the Time

Kudos to Rick Reilly for hitting the nail on the head about golf
club memberships (The Life of Reilly, Sept. 16). Even though I am
one of those vicious females, I agree that the griping about
Augusta National needs to stop until all clubs are open to
Teresa Titsworth, Okmulgee, Okla.

Comparing an obscure, all-female Canadian golf club to Augusta
National is beneath Reilly. When the Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto
gets one of the Grand Slam events, then Reilly will have a point.
Paul Miles-Matthias, Seekonk, Mass.

Reilly came perilously close to injecting perspective and humor
into the Augusta debate. I implore SI's editors to rein him in,
lest we Americans be deprived of one more thing to be petty
Michael R. Gatliff, Northville, Mich.

Showing the Flag

I loved the articles on 10 courageous American athletes (For the
Love of the Game, Sept. 16). How cool to have the Stars and
Stripes in each photo. I was stumped for a minute by the picture
of catcher Jeff Clement--until I noticed his eyes. Wow!
Susan Davis, Kempner, Texas

'Roid Rage

As if outrageous salaries, strike talks and substance abuse
weren't enough to discourage fans, Major League Baseball has
introduced a steroid-testing policy that "amounts to nothing more
than a public relations attempt to quell fan distrust"
(Scorecard, Sept. 16). No thanks. This is one former fan who
would rather watch paint dry than watch big league baseball ever
Jimmie Inch, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

What baseball needs is promotional Steroid Days at ballparks.
Fans would get to vote on which visiting ballplayer will take a
drug test following the game. A failed test means an automatic
forfeit. That would give baseball back to the fans in more ways
than one.
Jeff Stillman, Waterford, Mich.