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Original Issue



Is it acoincidence that you have Barack Obama at the top of your cover and aPittsburgh Steelers player (Who's Gonna Stop 'Em Now?, Jan. 19) leaping intothe air whose jersey reads WASHINGTON? By putting them together you havehonored our first president and also the first black president.
Adam McLaughlin, Kearney, Neb.

The Debate RagesOn

The collegefootball season begins with Division I-A teams ranked by a vote. Then, theseason ends with ... a vote? Without a playoff system (Get Used to It, Jan.19), the regular season amounts to meaningless reality television wherebynetworks, sponsors and universities cash in but the stars of the show (theplayers) go unrewarded to the very end. Why don't we just call Division I-Afootball what it actually is: American Idol on Turf.
Daniel Campaigne, Oceanside, Calif.

I notice that it'salways fans or writers who demand a playoff system to determine the nationalchampion in Division I-A football. Rarely do I hear of players asking to playmore games. I wonder how Willis McGahee (whose knee injury in the 2003 FiestaBowl nearly cost him a pro career) and today's collegians with NFL aspirationswould feel about adding more high-intensity games to their schedules.
Paul E. Terrile, Singapore

The Test ofTime

I agreed with thesentiments about loyalty and coaching expressed by Joe Posnanski in his essayabout Boston College and recently fired football coach Jeff Jagodzinksi(PLAYERS, Jan. 19). But I find it interesting that whenever I read an articlelike this that praises long-term, small-college coaches, it's always guys whohave experienced incredible success. Philadelphia University basketball coachHerb Magee has 871 wins, and Carson-Newman football coach Ken Sparks has a276--70 record in 29 years. But who believes Sparks would be taking homemadecakes to the college president's office if he were 140--206 in 29 years? Whothinks he would even have lasted 29 years? Show me coaches who are mediocre for30 years but who still "make a difference in kids' lives," and I'llbelieve in all this goodness.
Jeffrey Becker, Allen, Texas

Top-Tear Films

In Dan Patrick'slist of the best tear-jerking moments in sports movies (JUST MY TYPE, Jan. 19),he left off some good ones:

• Rocky III, whenMickey dies in the locker room and Rocky is screaming, "Mick, Mick."
• Remember the Titans, when Gerry Bertier is left paralyzed by a caraccident.
• The Champ, when Ricky Schroder stands over his dying father, screaming,"Don't leave me, champ."
Holly West, Highland Falls, N.Y.

... JohnCappelletti giving his Heisman acceptance speech in Something for Joey.
Tom Hughes, Grafton, Wis.

... Gary Cooper,as the dying Lou Gehrig, giving his farewell speech in The Pride of theYankees.
Bernard Coppolino, Saginaw, Mich.

Boy Next Door

Dan Patrick (JUSTMY TYPE, Jan. 19) praises Tim Tebow's decision to stay at Florida for hissenior season by saying, "Leaving Gainesville a year early is like leavingthe Playboy Mansion at midnight when you can stay until two o'clock."Actually, considering that Tim asked to be taken off this year's PlayboyAll-America team because of his moral beliefs, he wouldn't be there in thefirst place.
Pat Bowdish, Milwaukee

Barack andBasketball

As a baby boomerand lifelong gym rat I take comfort in knowing I voted for a fellow whounderstands the politics of pickup (The Audacity of Hoops, Jan 19). The factthat Barack Obama realizes the magic that can occur between strangers broughttogether by the commitment to a common goal, like holding the court, shouldgive us all reason to be (forgive me) hoopful.
Fredrick A. Raiter, Bend, Ore.

I now understandwhy Obama never quite connected with me: He's a basketball guy. Those of us whospent our winters on the mats, not the courts, know that basketball players arejust the athletes who were too tall to wrestle.
Emmett C. Stanton, San Francisco

I've got $100 thatsays Sarah Palin can take Obama in a game of 21.
Tom Paquin, Lancaster, S.C.

I hope thisdoesn't mean you are putting Nancy Pelosi in your Swimsuit Issue.
William West, Fairborn, Ohio

Turning Up theHeat

As a dedicated fanof the Miami Heat, I was enthralled when they won the NBA championship in 2006but sad that they mortgaged their future to get there. Dwyane Wade (The Powerof One, Jan. 19) is one of the few superstars who seem to be unfazed by thecoming debacle of 2010 free-for-all-agency; perhaps he made some friends inBeijing who could be coaxed into moving to South Beach?
Nick Emguschowa, Clifton, N.J.

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