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Original Issue


Devils and the Deep Blue Sea

Let me get this straight: You called the article Give the Devils
Their Due (June 16) and put two freedivers on the cover? I still
think it's kind of special to make the cover of SI, but you
missed the boat this week. Freedivers? What happened? Did the
whole staff see Finding Nemo one too many times?
Robert Corby
Sayreville, N.J.

Michael Farber describes the Devils' Michael Rupp as "the most
obscure player on the most obscure champion in recent NHL
history." Rupp--and his team--would be a little less obscure if
you didn't deny them the cover in favor of a story about diving.
Robert Ferraro, Lake Hiawatha, N.J.

The only type of water that should have been on the June 16 cover
is frozen.
Michael Neuwirth, Great Neck, N.Y.

The Dive

The Rapture of the Deep (June 16) was simply the most beautiful,
tragic and finely written story I have ever read. I had never
heard of freediving before, and now I am obsessed with learning
more about Pipin Ferreras and his record dives.
Jessica McCartney, Chicago

That Audrey Mestre and Pipin chose to risk their lives in a
dangerous sport was their right. That SI chose to romanticize
their lifestyle and Audrey's death is stupid.
Leo Krusack, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

As an admirer of the seemingly reckless courage and all-out
chutzpah of extreme-sport athletes, I offer kudos to Gary Smith
for the way he brilliantly interwove the romance of two
individuals, for the sea and for each other.
Dan Packel Blue Bell, Pa.

I look forward to future stories celebrating Russian roulette,
skydiving without a parachute and human car-dodging at the
Daytona 500.
Sean Brinkley, Austin

Freediving. Sport? Not a sport? That is a question for another
day thanks to the amazing article by Gary Smith. The question
regarding Pipin should be: Crime? Not a crime?
Pete Laven, Little Rock

Bruise Brothers

Thank you for the article on Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti
(Uncommon Valor, June 16). I commend these two magnificent
warriors for reminding us all that the sweet science can, indeed,
be sweet.
Mark W. Miley, Lakeland, Fla.

My wife and I were married the day of the first Gatti-Ward fight.
We watched their second great fight together the following
November, and then my wife bought tickets for the third fight.
I've seen my Mets win the Series in 1986 and my Rangers win a
Stanley Cup in '94, but never have I witnessed anything as
thrilling as that night. Thirty years from now I'll be telling my
grandchildren about how their grandparents were married on the
night Gatti and Ward first got it on, and how we were there in
Atlantic City the night they did it for the last time. Those two
guys now head my list of fantasy golf partners.
Todd Bascom, Uniondale, N.Y.

Frank Talk

Which is the bigger crime, Sammy Sosa using a corked bat once
(SCORECARD, June 16) or charging $4.25 for a hot dog at a ball
game? I say the latter.
Kent Frederick, Downers Grove, Ill.

Let's Hear It for the Boys

Congratulations to L. Jon Wertheim for acknowledging that men's
tennis is simply more competitive, skillful and entertaining than
women's tennis (The Man Show, June 16). Anyone who says that all
the men do is serve hard obviously didn't watch the French Open.
Andrew Hall, Highland, Md.

The Writing on the Wall

Michael Sergi may be a "longtime member of Red Sox Nation," but
it's pretty clear he hasn't been to Fenway Park recently
(Letters, June 16). He takes Steve Rushin to task for saying that
the Morse code on the Wall stands for "Red Sox Nation" when in
fact it represents the Yawkeys' initials. But Rushin wasn't
talking about the Wall; he wrote that "an enormous billboard ...
in left centerfield ... says: Red Sox Nation." There is in fact
an enormous billboard above the Wall on which the letters for Red
Sox Nation are spelled out in Morse code. Rushin needs no
Dennis Doughty, Brookline, Mass.

Death and the Mermaid

Although David Doubilet's photographs are extraordinary, I
believe Gary Smith has seriously misread both principal
characters, not to mention the tattoo on Pipin's calf. That
tattooed mermaid, representing Audrey, is no more "inside the
hammerhead shark" than Pipin is to blame for Audrey's death. Look
closely at the tattoo and you can see that the mermaid has
entwined her arms around the shark's ventral fin and is riding
the shark's power while conserving her own. I think Audrey's
mother is correct that the sea wanted her forever. If Audrey
truly believed herself to be a mermaid, then she followed the
classic mermaid path of sacrificing part or all of herself to
marry a mortal man. And, true to form, the sea reclaimed her in
the end. For his part, Pipin would be well advised to remember
that in mythology and folklore, many mortal men have been seduced
to their deaths by mermaids.
Jocelyn Bowie, Bloomington, Ind.


COLOR PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET EASY RIDER? Audrey's design is on Pipin's leg.

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