When you failed to put Iowa State's Cael Sanderson on the cover
after he became the first college wrestler to finish his career
undefeated--at 159--0--and won his fourth national title, you
received flak. Now the man who performed what you called the
second "most impressive feat in college sports ever" (Perfect,
April 1) doesn't make the top 25 of 2002. At least you're
JOHN LARKIN, Chicago
The Year That Was
Great issue (Stories of the Year, Dec. 30--Jan. 6), but you
overlooked one of the most significant achievements of 2002. If
the essence of sports is team play, then the undefeated national
champion UConn Lady Huskies surely deserved recognition in your
year-end issue. UConn's team play was as good as it could be.
Shame on you for denying them recognition in what otherwise was a
fitting end to a great year in sports.
RICHARD M. NELLS, Albany, N.Y.
Stories of the Year according to whom? How could you forget Clive
Charles, the University of Portland soccer coach who this fall
led the men's team to the NCAA second round and the women's team
to the NCAA national championship, all while undergoing
chemotherapy? What is this world coming to when the arrest of
Jayson Williams for aggravated manslaughter is more newsworthy
than the amazing accomplishments of these hard-working athletes
and their coach?
STEPHANIE MESSER, Falmouth, Maine
I was sure that an Oakland A's record win streak of 20 games
would be in the top 25 sports stories of the year. I can't
imagine how such an achievement could be overlooked.
ERIK PILLOW Inglewood, Calif.
The Twins' rise from near corporate elimination to their first
division title in 11 years--in the year that exposed rampant
corporate greed in the U.S.--was the feel-good story of 2002.
Maybe there still is a place in baseball for the little guys.
There sure is in Minnesota, where hope springs anew for a real
baseball stadium to go with a very real team.
TIM PLANT, Minneapolis
How could you possibly leave out Emmitt Smith's breaking the
alltime rushing record? This man passed a revered sports
milestone while displaying grace and class that is rare in
modern professional sports.
JOSEPH CHANDLER, Anniston, Ala.
I was disappointed to see that the Canadian men and women's
hockey teams' winning gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics did not
make your list. I guess the joke I have heard told by a number of
Canadians has some truth: What's the difference between a
Canadian and a U.S. gold medal in hockey? If Canada wins, it is
not considered a miracle.
LYNWOOD WHEELER Hattiesburg, Miss.
When I turned to "Puck Naked" in Pictures of the Year (Dec.
30--Jan. 6), I laughed so hard that I had to close the magazine
due to loss of breath, abdominal seizure and tears rolling down
my face. The farcical expressions of the fans are priceless,
especially the lady in the front row who is ready to lose her
MARK BOHN, Marietta, Ga.
It was nice to see the person responsible for your photo
selections. Jimmy Colton (CONTRIBUTORS, Dec. 30--Jan. 6) does an
excellent job. I particularly enjoy shots that include the crowd
in the background. It's so much fun to look at the reactions on
each face as they simultaneously view the same scene. Keep up the
GAIL HABERMAN, Reno
As a Rangers fan living in a house with three Islanders fans--my
wife, son and daughter--I don't usually agree with my family when
it comes to hockey. After reading Rick Reilly's article about
Miriam from Forest Hills, the blind Islanders supporter who made
her first visit to Nassau Coliseum after 30 years of rooting for
her team (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 30--Jan. 6), we all agreed it
was one of the best Christmas stories we had read in a long time.
To learn that my brother, Chris, the Islanders' vice president of
communications, played a role in it made us all proud. Leave it
to my brother to not say anything about that night and let us
find out about it when our magazine arrived.
NICK BOTTA, Plainview, N.Y.
I've been a New York Rangers fan for 30 years. I've shouted
"Potvin sucks!" from the blue seats too many times to count. My
disdain for the Islanders won't change, but after reading
Reilly's column, I'll always be a fan of Miriam from Forest
MARK LEVINE, Rye Brook, N.Y.
As a lifelong Islanders fan I find it comforting to know that
they are still one of the classiest teams in all of sports.
Someone should send a copy of this story to the Portland Jail
GREGORY ILUKOWICZ, San Francisco
Thank you for reminding us all of what is important, the love of
the game. Now if only we could still afford to go.
JEFF HARRIS, Charlestown, Ind.
COLOR PHOTO: GEORGE TIEDEMANN/GT IMAGES Sanderson raised wrestling's profile.
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