© St. Petersburg Times, published September 8, 2002
I do not diminish or dispute the tennis prowess of Andy Roddick. As a matter of fact, I see him as the next great American star. But (Thursday) night his idol became his teacher. Pete Sampras, a class act, was cool, calm, purposeful and masterful in his triumph over his young opponent. In his overpowering demonstration he not only proved that he still can compete, but that his sportsmanlike demeanor, throughout the match, was that of a professional without the element of braggadocio too often seen in other players. I salute him, and congratulate him, and offer him to those looking for a role model for their own rising hopeful stars of the future.
-- Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
I am sick of hearing about the exclusion of women from Augusta National. Our society condones segregation of the sexes when it comes to sports. Society understands men like sports and are much more competitive in sports than women, and therefore establish certain all-male sports leagues and clubs before women are interested enough to create a league for themselves. Case in point is the NBA and the WNBA. Before the WNBA was created, it wasn't discrimination that there wasn't a basketball league for women. It just took time for women to be interested enough in basketball to generate support for a women's league. Asking Augusta to include women is like asking the Miss America pageant to include men.
-- Tim Caravello, Howard Beach, N.Y.
Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, probably has accomplished two things: one, she has made the Masters even more enjoyable to all TV viewers by eliminating all advertisements; two, she probably has set back the very cause she is promoting, i.e., forcing private clubs to have women as members. It should be noted that the Augusta National Golf Club has no exclusionary bylaws and allows women to play on its course.
Suppose the LPGA had a carbon copy of the Masters at a private club with only female members. Would she approve of being coerced into admitting male members? She might, but I'm sure the bulk of the members would not.
Many women are delighted to have their husbands belong to private clubs that have no female members. They know where their husbands are and what they are not doing.
-- George W. Wilde, Beverly Hills
Even though Steve Spurrier left the Florida football scene in January, Times sports columnists continue to snipe at him whenever they get the chance. Gary Shelton's Sept. 1 column (As introductions go, not bad at all) is the most recent example. He used the occasion of Ron Zook's first game as Gator coach as an opportunity to take shots once again at Spurrier. Zook deserved better.
Perhaps this inability to let go of Spurrier is because Spurrier never curried journalistic favor and never toadied up to columnists. It must have hurt, being made to feel so unnecessary. But Shelton, Mizell, et. al. need to get over it. Spurrier has moved on. So have Gator fans, and so should the Times columnists.
-- Rena Stevens, Largo
Why do you devote so much coverage to the first games for Miami, the Gators and the 'Noles? Even a bigger question is why do they schedule such patsies as opponents? I know the answer to the latter is "no guts," and the desire to run up big stats for rankings and bowl purposes. No statistics should count unless a team is playing against a Top 25 opponent. Initially, for this purpose, we would accept the preseason rankings by coaches and the media.
Have any of the "big three" Florida teams ever played a ranked team in the first game of any season? This system would act as a deterrent against scheduling "Sisters of Mercy" for their openers. Grossman's, Dorsey's and Rix's statistics wouldn't look so good if the patsies are left out.
-- Scott Woodward, Largo
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