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The residents of Parkersburg, Iowa, are in fine hands—their own. It seems that they took the strength and grace of coach Ed Thomas's example to heart, and his spirit is alive and well.
B.J. Hicks, Cincinnati

I spent several days in Parkersburg after the 2008 tornado helping residents pick up the pieces of their broken homes. Now, after the shooting death of Ed Thomas ("He Was the Rock That This Community Was Built On," July 6), I can only pray for their broken hearts.
Bill Rakers
Marshalltown, Iowa

Beckham Controversy

After reading Grant Wahl's book excerpt on David Beckham's coming to America (How Beckham Blew It, July 6), I'd much rather shoot it straight like Landon Donovan than bend it like Beckham.
Brian Lee, Pittsburgh

Beckham's impact on Donovan and American soccer? Positive and profound. Donovan was a better teammate and a better leader in the Confederations Cup—and the U.S. team was much better for it.
Glenn Martin
Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

In Beckham's defense, how can you be mad at a guy who wants to play for AC Milan instead of an MLS team that can't make the playoffs in a league not comparable with Italy's Serie A? Remember, Donovan once left the MLS on a loan deal to play for Bayern Munich for three months. You could absolutely blame Beckham for being a bad teammate, but I think it's unfair to blame him for wanting to play on one of the best teams in the world.
John Kirby, Fulton, Mo.

If soccer fans in America prefer to watch two European super-clubs collide instead of watching MLS, why is it so surprising that Beckham would rather play in Europe? Don't blame adults for not wanting to sit at the kids' table.
Daniel M. Lal, Brooklyn

Punch Line

After reading about another hotheaded baseball player—in this case the Braves' Jeff Bennett—breaking his hand out of frustration in or near the dugout (SCORECARD, July 6), I wondered: Why haven't teams installed a punching bag in the adjacent tunnel to safely absorb all that fury and protect their multimillion-dollar investments?
James Jacquette, Ambler, Pa.

Hatch on the BCS

I don't recall Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah crying foul about the BCS (SCORECARD, July 6) when 12--0 Boise State was excluded from the championship game in 2006, and he certainly didn't speak up when 12--0 Hawaii was snubbed for two-loss LSU in 2007. The BCS is far from perfect, but it shouldn't take priority over other pressing issues in Congress. Could it be that Hatch, like many elected officials in Washington, is looking out for his own interests (12--0 Utah in 2008) rather than the widespread problems facing our nation?
Nick Ewen, Fort Pierce, Fla.

Utah proved in the Sugar Bowl that it had an outstanding team, but the reason the WAC and Mountain West are not as highly regarded as the major conferences is because of the weak schedules the teams play. It took the SEC almost 75 years to earn the respect it has today, and it did so on the football field—not in the halls of Congress.
Joseph Scanlon, Oakland

Hatch believes the BCS process to be "arcane and, to put it bluntly, biased." Might I suggest the senator review the gerrymandering of congressional districts? The districts are the most improbably shaped arbitrary divisions, all designed to allow incumbents to maintain their seats in future elections. This process, the consequences of which are arguably more important than college football, is arcane and, to put it bluntly, biased.
Andy Ladick
Washougal, Wash.

The Kobe Question

If the Cavaliers win the NBA championship next season with Shaquille O'Neal (LeBron's New Bodyguard, July 6), are we going to have to listen to everyone asking LeBron James how important it is for him to win a title without O'Neal?
Mark Lerner, Boca Raton, Fla.

Looking Back at Mac

In a report on John McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1981 (THE VAULT, July 6), your writer back then, Curry Kirkpatrick, said of the win over Bjorn Borg, "For that he will be remembered long after his outrageous behavior and guttersnipe quotations are forgotten." I believe that has turned out not to be the case. We remember McEnroe much more as an obnoxious crybaby than we do as a great champion.
Sam Douglas, Columbia, S.C.

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