Mostly I felt empathetic to the Tsunami players. We too hold down full-time jobs and must train in the evening. We also must pay for our own equipment and travel arrangements. In addition, some of our club members playing on the U.S. National Men's team must train and keep themselves fit for the U.S.'s international matches. Like the Tsunamis, our sidelines are mostly filled with spectators who have some sort of link to a club member (girlfriend, roommate, etc.), and rarely do we see any mention of our games in the local papers. Yet the media love to go out of their way to depict many professional athletes as overpaid, pampered crybabies. So why do they cover them? If it's such a chore and the players are such sullen, distant personalities, why doesn't the media start covering amateur sports such as rugby, soccer, and lacrosse? Wouldn't it be more interesting to profile an athlete who works and (gasp) actually resides here in the Bay Area?
The city is constantly claiming it does so much for its citizens who participate in amateur athletics, yet all I see are a few trails for some bikers or Rollerbladers and the occasional handful of stoned wannabe Deadheads playing Ultimate Frisbee. If the city is serious about doing something for amateur athletes, it should take a look at what Vancouver, B.C., has -- lots of city-run clubs and fields for amateur football, basketball, baseball, cricket, and rugby. Or perhaps the apathy facing athletes like the Tsunamis is indicative of an overall problem here in America -- we are a sports-watching nation, not a sports-playing nation.
Are Raiders Fans Wimps?
Yes, football is all about camaraderie: It seems to me that you were looking for a fight when you went to those games ("The Raiders Are Losing. Would You Pass the Tea?," Dog Bites, Jan. 16). That would have given you the opportunity [for a] "Raider fans are violent" slant on your story. It's apparent that we couldn't win either way. If you want to experience what Raider fans are about, come out as my guest to the parking lot and tailgate with me, my family, and friends and get the real taste of the camaraderie and "good-natured" ribbing that comes to us all at some point -- and of being among people who are celebrating a beautiful NFL Sunday simply for the fun of it.
Scott M. Fareas
Department of Park and Wreck
Street vendors, maybe, but we'd rather not piss off construction workers: I don't know where you get your misinformation, but I can assure you that the members of the Dolphin Club and South End Rowing Club (which I am proud to be a member of) both have strongly protective feelings for the Aquatic Park area and do not wish to see any part of it paved over for additional parking ("Balkans by the Bay," Matt Smith, Jan. 16). In fact, any additional parking would be used up by construction workers, followed by hotel workers or hotel guests or street vendors. Perhaps you'd like to speak ill of those populations.
The Power of Prayer
A question: Does it work on hangovers?: Thank you for your article exploring prayer and healing ("A Test of Faith," Jan. 9, on a scientific experiment to determine if prayer and meditation by spiritual healers can improve the health of AIDS and brain tumor patients). As a lifelong Christian Scientist, healing through prayer is a daily occurrence, and it's gratifying to now see so much interest in prayer and healing in almost every part of our culture. It's important to know that many healings [I have read about] were accomplished and witnessed in the presence of doctors and nurses. Thank you again for this important article.