Dink passes and the occasional run by the feature back may win in today's NFL, but nothing is more breathtaking than when a back runs to daylight and leaves a defense grasping at air. Thanks for this special report on rushers (Crash Course, Aug. 23), as well as the tribute to the Kansas Comet, Gale Sayers (The Icon, Aug. 23).
Jim Wilken, Marion, N.C.
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Sayers was the most exciting halfback in NFL history, period. His extraordinary combination of balance, speed and elusiveness is unmatched by any current running back. He deserves enshrinement in the Hall of Fame just for his six-touchdown performance against the 49ers in '65.
Michael W. Peregrine, Chicago
The potential for excitement every time he touched the ball made football my favorite sport and Sayers my favorite player. He packed more excitement into his 68 NFL games than any other player has in twice that many.
Paul McGill, West Milford, N.J.
What Sayers did on Sundays wasn't just football, it was art.
Flower Mound, Texas
Football's Best Man
I had never heard of Tony Richardson before I read Joe Posnanski's article (Made to Last, Aug. 23). Now it will be hard to forget him. Having been a Marine for 22 years, I think I know what a leader should represent, and Tony is the definition of a leader.
John Brown, Woodbridge, Va.
Richardson not only lends a helping hand to his teammates—some of whom are fighting for his job—but he also goes to every charity event he is asked to attend. He paves the way for his teammates to achieve their goals and for regular people to achieve theirs. I am proud to be a Jets fan, and I hope his last season ends with him holding up the Lombardi Trophy.
Everybody in the Pool
I admire Cullen Jones for his quest to reduce drowning rates among children and adults (Giving Kids a Lifeline, Aug. 23). I know your readers appreciate the focus and the training time that is required of Olympic hopefuls. Cullen shows himself to be a selfless champion by giving back to his country at a time when he, too, has dreams of Olympic gold. I hope that all his quests are successful.
I commend you for the report on race and swimming. It is heartening to see a magazine demonstrate how the racial wrongs of the past continue to affect lives in the present. Andrew Lawrence interwove history, statistics and personal experiences in a way that I hope will make more people look beyond racial stereotypes in sports and inspire them to lend a hand in equalizing opportunities at pools across the country.
Catherine Squires, St. Paul
Thanks to Franz Lidz for his excellent profile of Phillies slugger Jayson Werth (Get Out of My Hair!, Aug. 23). The outfielder was another great find by former general manager Pat Gillick. Because of Gillick's masterly wheeling and dealing, Philadelphia will be a strong franchise for years to come.
Matt Engel, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The essay on the loneliness of tennis really struck a chord with me (POINT AFTER, Aug. 23). When I watched my daughter play high school tennis, I was amazed at the courage it took for her to stand on the court. My wife taught me early on that, unlike with team sports, in tennis you do not cheer on your child at the top of your lungs. So I had to internalize my joys and sufferings ... what a sport!
Stephen S. Wolters, Houston
Selena Roberts contends that Americans are not succeeding at tennis due to the lonely nature of the professional sport. It is also possible that the success of players from other countries is due to their superior mental toughness. American children have gone through a decade or two in which the prevailing parental philosophy is that competition is bad for children and that losing damages their self-esteem. We can only hope that this notion does not extend to other aspects of our society, or we may have to say goodbye to old-fashioned American economic success.
James H. Gill
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Should we really be ready to complain about the "vanishing U.S. male star" when the greatest female player of all time and the current No. 1 is an American, Serena Williams? When the men's doubles team with the most alltime wins and current No. 1 is the Bryan brothers, who are also Americans? When four of the top 25 males in the world are Americans? And when the number of recreational players is increasing at record levels?
Simi Valley, Calif.
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