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Original Issue


Lots of Puck

Is there a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED math whiz who can explain to me
how, according to your rankings (NHL 2002-03 PREVIEW, Oct. 14),
the Detroit Red Wings are rated higher than the San Jose Sharks
in offense (second vs. fourth), defense (first vs. sixth),
goaltending (fourth vs. 10th), special teams (fourth vs. sixth)
and management (third vs. sixth), yet still fall below the Sharks
in the overall rankings? Does San Jose have an incredible
postgame spread that put them over the top?
Rod Dunn, Brighton, Mich.

I manage approximately 30 people, and I understand the importance
of keeping a team together as long as you can, simply because the
longer they work or play together, the better they become. In the
case of the Los Angeles Kings you report that G.M. Dave Taylor
virtually stood pat in the off-season. I believe the Kings will
be better this year because of Taylor's decisions. The hardest
thing in sports today is keeping a team together.
John Steger, Riverside, Calif.

Judging Amy

What an inspiration Amy Trask is to me and my daughters (Raider
Family Values, Oct. 14)! As women and avid Raiders fans we
enjoyed learning that there is room in the organization for
females other than the Raiderettes.
Margaret M. Shoda, Pioneer, Calif.

Please tell Trask that the issue with Al Davis is not his
introduction of Hispanics, blacks and women to the coaching and
management ranks. Davis is reviled because most people perceive
him to be the biggest carpetbagger since the end of the Civil
War. It's too bad that will be his legacy, because Davis does
know how to run a football team.
L.J. Lagrave, Cave Creek, Ariz.

Although your article acknowledges Trask, Bill Callahan and, of
course, Al Davis, you fail to mention the man who has owned the
Raiders since 1995: Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan (12 wins
and two losses).
Ed Marriott
Madeira Beach, Fla.

I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Trask. She periodically
visits the Alameda Boys & Girls Club, where I am the executive
director, and I've seen her keep a group of 30 or so children
enthralled as she encourages them to work hard in school and
avoid bad influences in their lives so they can become
successful. While she's not much bigger than some of the kids she
talks to, she represents a huge role model to children throughout
the East Bay.
George Phillips, Alameda, Calif.

Improved Pigskin

As for the NFL's dramatic scoring increase this season
(SCORECARD, Oct. 14), isn't it obvious? The football is juiced.
Norman E. Thibault, St. George, Utah

More Than a Player

I've never been a big baseball fan, but Gary Smith hit a home run
with his story about Hank McGraw (An Uncommon Life, Oct. 7). It
was not a story about a washed-up wannabe baseball player, but a
journey into the meaning of life and being your own man.
Lance Messinger, Canterbury, N.H.

I've never in 23 years of reading SI been so conflicted by one of
your stories. Do I deplore the middle McGraw for not maximizing
his God-given baseball abilities or respect him for not
compromising himself in that quest? Both, it appears.
Kris Johnson, Charlotte

No Place Like Dome

Thank you, Steve Rushin, for sharing the downright goofiness of
the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (AIR AND SPACE, Oct. 14). I've
come to hate the cartoonlike plastic appearance, narrow
concourses, lack of rest rooms, excessive volume of the public
address system, disappearing pop-ups, shoddy carpet, Hefty Bag
outfield walls, dirty roof, malfunctioning scoreboard, blinding
light structures and winds that push you out of the park after a
game. All that said, if and when a new ballpark takes its place,
I will miss the family-friendly ticket bargains, the ability to
park less than a block away for pennies, the guarantee of a game
regardless of weather, Wally the Beer Man and the Dome-field
advantage the Twins and Vikes have enjoyed since the early 1980s.
Steve Mann, Minneapolis

Caution Advised

From now on please wait until Chris Simms (The Eyes of Texas,
Oct. 14)--or any other hotshot quarterback--actually beats a
talented team before you start proclaiming him as great.
Evan Lassiter, Atlanta

Body Scan

As a high school nurse I am delighted with the six pages of
strong, healthy, athletic bodies of all shapes and sizes (LEADING
OFF, Oct. 14). For all of us who worry about our teenagers'
obsession with body image, I applaud your tasteful photos.
Karen Gitelson, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Thank you for helping me discover that a positive body image is
more important than how much you weigh. The pictures of athletes'
bodies prove that beauty can be found in a wide range of weights
and sizes. Being fit and confident are far more important than
the number that registers when you step on the scale.
Jennifer Safkow, Alliance, Ohio

Was it trick photography? Seventy-two athletes and only six of
them have visible tattoos!
Tracy K. Lorenz, Grand Haven, Mich.