Sports Commentary, Monitor Style

While I have only a very small passing interest in sports, I've been reading sports columnist Douglas Looney since July. I appreciate his opinionated observations and presentation of the subject, which I feel puts sports in a more proper context. I had thought about writing to let you know that his articles are reaching beyond the niche of the sports-fan reader. But when I saw him get hammered in "Reader's Write" (Sept. 8), I really got motivated to write!

Unlike other sports writers, Looney has something interesting to convey. Others generate mindless verbiage that inflates the importance of sports beyond its real significance to the average person. Looney writes of mere mortals while his peers seem to have a propensity to embrace sports heroes as god-like figures.

The direct material effect of sports to the lives of most folks is essentially nonexistent. But the attitudes of diehard sports fans and sports writers is regrettably inconsistent with that fact. Looney's seem to be the rare exception, and a most welcomed one at that.

I think his opinions are well founded and adequately explained. I appreciate that he doesn't hold any punches. The Monitor editorial page should take lessons from him, instead of filling their allocated [letters] space with criticisms of his work.

So, Mr. Looney, don't start soft-peddling or holding back on your opinions. Your perspectives are very refreshing. And thanks most of all for elevating the intellectual quality of sports reporting and dispensing with the hype!

Harvey Neilson

Manassas, Va.

I object to the misleading and inaccurate letter written by Loren Crabtree, Provost, Colorado State University (Sept. 4), concerning an article I wrote on the school's fine football team.

Provost Crabtree writes, "There is, of course, more to a university than a football team. But somewhere along the way, Looney loses sight of this." Not true. Never have I thought there was no more to a university than a football team. Nary a person on earth does. That's an absurd accusation.

The provost also accuses me of making "it seem like poor old CSU has never had success in anything." Not true. Never was that equally absurd notion stated or implied.

Crabtree finally accuses me of writing a "tall tale." I await an apology.

Douglas S. Looney

Lafayette, Colo.

Noncompetitive sports

I am writing to object to the opinion piece "Maybe It Does Matter Whether You Win or Lose" (Sept. 8) criticizing the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association for not having winners and losers in their tournaments. Maybe if more children were exposed to this kind of thinking, instead of the pro-sports brainwashing they experience from toddlerhood on, sports would go back to being just a fun thing to do - rather than the over-inflated sacred cow it is now.

Elena Brady


The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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