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Above and Beyond

Wow! Tim Duncan and David Robinson as Sportsmen of the Year
(Twice Blessed, Dec. 15). Sports Illustrated, you have renewed my
faith in the idea that, eventually, the guys in the white hats
win. Kobe who?
John M. Scanlan
Hilton Head, S.C.

Photographer Michael O'Neill deserves kudos for his cover
portrait of Duncan and Robinson. The retired Robinson is looking
to the side as if to see what else life has in store. Duncan
looks the reader, and his foes, in the eye as if to say that he
is ready for the next challenge. He is far from done. O'Neill,
like many SI photographers, has given us more than a picture.
Mark Blitz, New York City

I find your choice of Sportsmen of the Year to be more
sentimental than factual. Barry Bonds, who once again dominated
his sport as few other men have done before, is more deserving of
the honor.
Bill Stoltenberg, West Lafayette, Ind.

How about Tom Watson and Bruce Edwards? What a joy to see the
heartfelt relationship between the golfer and his caddie, who has
been stricken with ALS. Also, Watson had a stellar year playing
Jammie F. Hupp, McGaheysville, Va.

One sportsman in 2003 stood head and shoulders above all others
in terms of personal achievement and team contribution: Michael
Schumacher. His dramatic comeback to win a record sixth F/1
championship culminated his nearly single-handed reconstruction
of Ferrari into the most formidable team in recent sports
Juan C. Fernandez
Ellicott City, Md.

So Annika Sorenstam is not your Sportswoman of the Year. Let me
guess, Vijay Singh chaired the selection committee.
Craig Steiner

Saving Face

Making visors mandatory in the NHL couldn't be more on the mark
(INSIDE THE NHL, Dec. 15). As a father whose son has played ice
hockey since he was seven, I've seen many situations in which a
potentially dangerous high shot or high stick glanced harmlessly
off a cage or shield on a player's face. When even an old school
scrapper like Bobby Clarke can see the wisdom, it's time for the
league officials to open their eyes as well.
Kevin Thompson, Maplewood, N.J.

NHL hockey has a quality like no other sport, and if century-old
rules and traditions are changed to make the NHL safer, you might
as well call it basketball.
Tony Fontaine, St. Paul

The Greatest Gift

Thanks for a great article on the importance of organ donation
(THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 15). Rick Reilly's nephew is truly a
hero for wanting to donate one of his kidneys. Eighteen years ago
my husband received a kidney from a cadaver--someone we never
knew whose family, in its darkest hour, gave life to three
others. My husband, who appeared in FACES IN THE CROWD (Aug. 19,
2002) 17 years after his transplant, was a Marine and a high
school football coach. He and I know that the real heroes in life
are the everyday people who are moved to give life to others.
Don't take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.
Martha C. Minahan, Tampa

Looking Out for No. 1

How could USC not get into the Sugar Bowl (We're No. 1*, Dec.
15)? I am a UCLA fan, but I'm mad USC didn't get to play for an
undisputed national championship. The good thing to come out of
this is that the BCS is pretty much discredited now.
Kevin Little, Irvine, Calif.

The BCS is far from perfect, but it is not based just on
computers. It combines the judgment of knowledgeable humans with
some objective facts. We started the season with the BCS and must
end with it.
Russ Martin, Norman, Okla.

If whining were factored into the BCS, USC would unquestionably
be No. 1.
Gene Arnot, Albuquerque

Anyone who thinks that the human polls are not as flawed as the
computer polls probably still believes that professional athletes
do not use steroids.
Steve Shea, Chicago

BCS? One letter too many.
Ken Allan, Diamond Bar, Calif.

Put BCS in big letters on your cover. Use the jinx for a good
Kevin Colburn, Bethesda, Md.

Is it true that Saddam was wearing a BCS T-shirt when he was
Scott Keeney, Albany, Ore.

A Plug for Mario

Someday the world outside Pittsburgh will learn that no hockey
player who skates with Mario Lemieux can maintain his high level
of play once he leaves Pittsburgh. What's the Deal with Jaromir
Jagr? (Dec. 15) reminded me that Jaromir's stats--like those of
Rob Brown, Alexei Kovalev and Kevin Stevens--declined when he no
longer had Lemieux to feed him. As Luc Robitaille once said of
Mario's teammates: "A fire hydrant could score 40 goals playing
on Lemieux's line."
Beej Gefsky, Los Angeles



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