While I am a fan of both Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, I think real-life boxers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund would have been a better cover choice, since they are the real fighters behind The Fighter.
Greg Easom, Middleton, Idaho
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I was disappointed to see Mark Wahlberg pretending to be a boxer on the cover of your Year in Sports Media package (SCORECARD, Dec. 20). That only added insult to injury after Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame last June for his portrayal of Rocky Balboa. If actors making believe they are athletes pass for the norm in sports these days, then I propose that Mike Tyson be given an Oscar.
Charles Hoskins, Detroit
Kudos to Lee Jenkins for his story on Kevin Love's rebounding prowess (Love Is in the Air, Dec. 20). Anticipating where the ball will come off the rim, establishing position at that place and then boxing out and quick-jumping make up the art of rebounding, which Love has clearly mastered. His technique should be taught to high school, college and professional players.
James A. Johnson
Thank you for covering the story of the Phillips family (The Season After, Dec. 20). It often takes off-the-field tragedies to remind us of the real value of collegiate sports. As a Virginia fan, I'm not particularly proud of the football team's win-loss record over the past two seasons, but the resolve of Colter Phillips—and of the many athletes touched by the tragic death of lacrosse player Yeardley Love last spring—proves that the game must go on.
Carrington Williams, Richmond
While I was duly impressed with the strength of the three Phillips boys in speaking at their father's memorial service and son Willy's not giving in to the lure of pain medication, I was even more astounded by Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and what he did for this family in its time of need. Whether it was offering Willy a scholarship, creating a family wall in the Cardinal locker room or writing a touching letter to Bill's widow Janet, Harbaugh proved that being a football coach isn't just about the X's and O's—it's also about showing compassion to the kids who are busting their butts each and every day for that program.
Dave Sonkin, Babylon, N.Y.
After reading the article about Bill and the incredible courage displayed by his family in the aftermath of his death, I only hope his sons won't mind if I end each text message to my two children: Love you, Dad.
Britt Rodgers, Austin
Joe Posnanski's article on the Army-Navy game (POINT AFTER, Dec. 20) went straight to the heart of the most important rivalry in college football. There is indeed "something more" at play when these two academies face off on the gridiron. Knowing that many of the participants will go on to risk their lives for their country makes the experience even more humbling.
James McCreath, Toronto
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article on the Army-Navy classic, which I believe is truly the greatest rivalry in college football. From the march in to the flyovers to the distinguished guests who attend each year, I've never felt such electricity during a college game.
I agree with Posnanski's assessment that the Army-Navy classic has lost some of its luster. It's easy to mistake it for a high school football championship. I hope that the rivalry can regain the passion that it once had.
Your recent football photos of the Patriots versus the Bears in the snow, Eastern Washington versus North Dakota State on the red field and Michigan versus Michigan State on the ice in the Big House (LEADING OFF, Dec. 20) are three of the best sports pictures I've ever seen. The wide angle and grand scale of each photo is impeccable, impactful and full of the elements that make sports so wonderful.
While I concur with Richard Deitsch's favorable review of ESPN's 30 for 30 series (SCORECARD, Dec. 20), I disagree with his offhand assessment of its Silly Little Game documentary about fantasy leagues as "muddled." I found it to be one of the series' best and most revealing offerings, documenting a reaction to the worst trend of the last three decades: the commodification of sports.
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