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Original Issue


Hurricane Warning

How could Oklahoma make the cover for its 35-24 yawner against
overrated Texas (Football Fever, Oct. 21)? Miami's 28-27 win
over Florida State, decided by FSU's Xavier Beitia--who bucked
the wide right trend and sent one wide left--was the thriller of
the week.

Punching In

The excerpt from John Feinstein's The Punch (Oct. 21) was one of
the finest pieces of journalism I have ever read. It brought
insight and a sense of compassion to the tragic story of Rudy
Tomjanovich and Kermit Washington and elevated a truly awful
event into something much bigger: an examination of how a single
angry action can change everything. It also showed how every
situation, no matter how painful, difficult or unfortunate,
offers an opportunity for forgiveness and grace.
BOB GOOKIN, Marina del Rey, Calif.

Washington's major mistakes were not punching and almost killing
Tomjanovich; they were blaming other players, showing little
remorse, demanding money from the NBA and invoking racism when he
was criticized. He threw the punch and never took sole
responsibility for it. He deserves to be a pariah until he does.
ROB BOSCHETTO, Doylestown, Pa.

Although Washington's polygraph results were "almost miraculously
high" when asked if he felt threatened by Tomjanovich, it is
important to point out that if you tell the same lie often
enough, you may eventually believe it yourself.
DOUG REARDON, Arlington, Mass.

The actual punch was preceded that season by an SI feature story
that glorified Washington, Maurice Lucas, Calvin Murphy and other
tough guys (The Enforcers, Oct. 31, 1977). The NBA in that era
was on a path to NHL-type entertainment. The punch instantly
changed the league's attitude toward violence, and that is good.
JERRY FRANKLIN, Carrollton, Va.

Regardless of what Kevin Kunnert did or did not do, it doesn't
justify Washington's attack on Tomjanovich. It appears that
Washington's thinking in this regard has not advanced beyond that
of a young child.
Hegenheim, France

Reading Feinstein's excerpt brought back the same intensely
negative feelings toward Washington that grew within me as a
17-year-old at the time of the incident. And then I asked myself,
Would I feel just as negative had the skin color of the men been
reversed and a fellow white man had thrown the punch? Sad to say,
I think the answer is no.
RON STAPLETON, Canton, Mich.

Driver Education

Jeff MacGregor's portrayal of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (Road
Rage, Oct. 21) is yet another example of pandering to talented
athletes. Stewart should realize that were it not for the
intrusive media, there would probably not be 140,000 fans in the
seats, and a man whose main skill is "spooky hand-eye
coordination" would certainly not have been able to "earn" over
$11.4 million in prize money between 1999 and 2001, nor the
millions of endorsement dollars for which he must suffer the
travails of handshakes and interviews.
COREY D. EBER, New York City

What Really Matters

Kudos to Rick Reilly for his uplifting and insightful look at
Savanna High football (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 21). The
seven-year losing streak has generated plenty of publicity for
the team and our town, and too much of it has been negative. A
lot can be said about the young men who have suited up over the
past seven seasons: Week after week they continue to battle,
despite the sometimes overwhelming odds, and have represented
their school with heads held high. We should be just as proud of
these players as we are of the players who've won conference
BRIAN REUSCH, Savanna, Ill.

Thanks for showing the other side of the story--that sometimes
kids just love to play the sport and put it on the line every
week. Sixteen or so kids who go up against teams of 30 or more
kids week after week, year after year, deserve respect for their
desire and dedication.

I am the athletic director at Elmhurst High in Fort Wayne, Ind.,
and we are currently in the throes of a 63-game football losing
streak. I loved the comment that winning and losing are "stuff
the adults worry about." Our kids always bounce back and play
hard every game.

I think Reilly took a cheap shot at De La Salle and its winning
streak. Just because the kids at De La Salle are winning every
week does not mean they have lost perspective on life, football
or being high school kids. Winning is not the only thing at De La
Salle. Working together as a team, treating your opponent with
respect and having fun are the main ingredients that have created
a remarkable legacy. Spend a week or even just a couple of days
with the team, and you will see that the streak is merely a
by-product of what Coach Bob Ladouceur and his staff teach their
JOE WASHINGTON, San Lorenzo, Calif.

Soccer Pitch

Maybe MLS is "winning America's hearts and minds" as reported in
the Oct. 28 Scorecard, but it has yet to earn legitimacy in SI.
The title game was a dramatic sudden-death overtime contest, yet
your half-page coverage focused on the finances of the league and
had only one sentence about the game. Doesn't a championship game
like that warrant more coverage?
MARK FIDLER, Waltham, Mass.