After reading Horns of Plenty (Dec. 5), I understand why I--a lifelong Aggies fan--found myself secretly cheering for the Longhorns as they played at Texas A&M. Texas's Mack Brown is not just a good coach but also a good man. He is not only passionate about football but also about people. He's the reason I won't stop cheering for the Horns until they beat USC on Jan. 4.
Chris Field, Abilene, Texas
I was shocked to read that three of the four athletes mentioned in The Pop Culture Grid (PLAYERS, Dec. 5) have failed to vote in their lives, and the one athlete who did take the time to vote, last voted in 1996.
Joseph P. Lopes, New Bedford, Mass.
... They did seem to be interested in Jennifer Aniston, though. Maybe if she were running for office, those athletes would pay more attention.
Dave Gardner, Cumberland, R.I.
While reading Steve Rushin's column about jumping on sports bandwagons (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 5) a question occurred to me: If pro athletes demand to renegotiate signed contracts, why should fans remain loyal in bad times? I'm a free-agent fan. I cheer for whomever I want, whichever team I want in whatever sport I choose to watch. I've never been so happy as a fan since I released myself from the burden of team loyalty.
Pat Gittings, Kensington, Md.
Rushin may defend hopping on bandwagons, but I am a Bengals fan. I don't welcome any of these so-called new Bengals fans in Cincinnati. To them I say, Where were you between 1991 and 1998 (39-89 overall, 27-37 home)? All you do now is make it harder for me to get my ticket. Why don't you and all your bandwagon groupies just go back to loving the Yankees and Duke and leave the real fans a seat at the stadium? If you don't like what you're reading, come tell me about it. I will be under the 2nd Street bridge tailgating. I'll be the one in the tiger costume and the Keiwan Ratliff jersey.
Ian Sheckels, Cincinnati
As a northeastern Ohioan, I've committed myself to the Cleveland Browns till death do us part. However, I hopped off the Cleveland Indians' bandwagon 35 years ago and started to root for the Yankees. Why? Because the Tribe was making cheap, shortsighted trades that even I, then a 12-year-old girl, knew were stupid. Now the Indians are on the upswing, but I'm not getting on their bandwagon. I view them as I would nine ex-husbands: I wish them all the best, but I just don't have feelings for them anymore.
Charita M. Goshay, Canton, Ohio
A Cut Too Deep?
The school board of Plainedge, N.Y.--which cut funding for sports programs last June, forcing concerned parents to raise money to keep the teams going--should look hard at the LEADING OFF¬†picture in your Dec. 5 issue. The photo shows the team from Huntington (N.Y.) High applauding the young men of Plainedge after a Huntington football victory. The players from Huntington demonstrated class and respect beyond their years, and the sight of the Plainedge men walking off hand-in-hand brought a tear to my eye. Cutting funding for school athletics is not just a bottom-line money issue: It cuts into the very heart of what education must be.
Jay Hudak, Land O' Lakes, Fla.
In reading Talk of the Town (Dec. 5), I was greatly disturbed that the high school team from North College Hill, Ohio, brought in schoolboy stars O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker to help its basketball program become a financial success. I believe sports should teach you how to lose, how to maintain self-control, how to respect your opponent, how to cooperate with others and how to give back to the community--and teach the immense difference between winning and success. It seems that schoolboy basketball has become about feeding the NBA. What isn't shown in that disturbing picture of the sullen NCH team are the hundreds of boys who quit basketball along the way because it had grown too intense, and was no longer fun.
Jim Holm, Maple Plain, Minn.
When I read Rick Reilly's column on how Houston's Texas Christian School fielded a team of college-age ringers, I rechecked the date of the issue to make sure this was not an April Fools' joke (LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 5). Herc Palmquist owns and runs a Christian school? What kind of values and what kind of spirituality do they teach? This moron should not be allowed to teach or coach again.
Daniel Cotter, Chicago
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