Steve Kelley is certainly speaking for all of us when he asks for accountability from Ray Rhodes...

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Seahawks


Ineffectiveness speaks


Steve Kelley is certainly speaking for all of us when he asks for accountability from Ray Rhodes (Seattle Times, Dec. 21). If Rhodes doesn’t want to be held accountable, then maybe he shouldn’t be in an environment that demands accountability to a large volume of fans.


It all comes down to Mike Holmgren, though. He chose Rhodes, he can dismiss Rhodes if Rhodes isn’t doing his job. It sounds far-fetched to let Rhodes go at this point, but maybe it’s what the players need. There’s still a chance at the playoffs; why not get a fresh start on defense?


— Edward Chaides, Gardena, Calif.




Rhodes accountable only to Holmgren


I know fans want to hear from the employees of their favorite teams. But Ray Rhodes is only accountable to his employer. He is not a public employee. He is under no obligation to say anything to anyone about his performance outside his place of employment.


The reality of professional sports is that it is a product sold to us. A performance service we pay money to see. Fans feel we have ownership of some kind — from the money, emotion, hope and face paint. But buying the product doesn’t give us any rights. They give us no guarantee that the product be a good product. They tell us it will be good, with their marketing-sales speak. But all we can do if we don’t like the results is to stop paying for it. Our right to spend our money somewhere else is our only right.


This is the reality we suspend as fans. Because we need to feel like we are a part of our team. That our emotion, hope and years of interest count for more than money poorly spent on a company, a business, whose only care for the heart we give is for the dollars it means.


— Jeremy Brown, Salt Lake City








Believes in Rhodes


I still believe that Ray Rhodes is a top-notch coach. If the Hawks were relatively healthy and they couldn’t produce any better then they are, well, I’d be inclined to be taking a real serious look at the coach (Rhodes). If the Hawks had put as much into building their defense (Holmgren era) as their offense, they would be more balanced. Hopefully, they can do that before they have to do a massive rebuilding.


— John F. Anderson, Tacoma




Team weak mentally


At least Ray Rhodes is candid when he talks. This defense, even at full strength, would still be a problem. The built-for-speed thing just hasn’t worked. When have the Seahawks ever had a defensive end who racked up 10 or more sacks? Jacob Green?


All our secondary needs is a little more pressure to do its job. We have 20 picks already this year; imagine how many more there’d be with more quarterback hurries?


Our special teams have been awful, too. We routinely give up 30 yards on kickoff returns and our punter(s) stink. I knew when Pete Rodriguez left it’d be trouble. I guess he was independent, which Holmgren didn’t like, but Rodriguez obviously knew what he was doing.


— Mark Hansen, San Jose, Calif.



Sonics


McMillan takes over


As the spokesman for Sonic Fans United, the group responsible for the “Go Sonics, Fire Wally Walker” banner last spring, I am interested in objective, honest analysis of the team’s recent success. We are particularly interested in focusing attention on how Nate McMillan has taken control of a previously out-of-control team.


When asked if firing Wally was the only thing we would accept, our answer was no, that it really was a metaphor for change. Management’s insistence on dictating playing time and such to Nate was not only hurting the team, but Nate’s future as well.


When Nate asserted himself this year, it was the first necessary step to refocus the Sonics and build them in Nate’s image, not Wally’s. To be honest, we had no idea that it would work this well.


Our goal now is to get Nate signed to a long-term contract and given increased input in personnel decisions. The question of Nate’s contract should be of prime importance to all Sonics fans. We are fortunate to have a man that not only has spent his entire career here, but has done it with class, dignity and unquestioned talent and devotion.


— Jim Hawley, Kent



Pro sports


No more heroes?


Our society and youth are a mirror image of pro sports in current-day America. We all want instant gratification, to be a champion. Millions of dollars are thrown around to achieve this goal, and our society supports the dream. Unfortunately, in each pro sport there is only one champion.


Each city every year strives to be the best and holds out a glimmer of hope that it will be “the chosen one.”


A good portion of Americans spent their free time living vicariously through our modern-day sports teams and heroes. In light of recent events in the world and in pro sports, you see where the trend is heading. Americans want escapism from our troubled times of being world crusaders. We are a society that demands success. This is an added pressure on fans and the athletes.


All of us want to be the best. This fuels the desire to engage in escapism. This will spiral into catastrophic proportions within a few years. Pro sports tap into a delicate cord of volatility within each of us. Others recognize this, and we need to as a society. If it is not our own culture fighting ourselves, it will be another targeting it. They will tarnish what we hold closest to our hearts.


Our society lives on the shoulders of our heroes. What happens when there are no heroes left?


— Dan Anderson, Seattle



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Brian Holman


Another story told


Having just finished Steve Kelley’s column on former Mariners pitcher Brian Holman (Seattle Times, Dec. 19), I wanted to share my admiration for Holman with a personal story.


As a Mariners bat boy in 1990, I was privileged to witness many slices of baseball history, including Seattle’s first no-hitter (by Randy Johnson) and the first-ever pairing of a father and son (the Griffeys) on the same team. But of all the thrills I had, the moment that stands out most came that September.


Toward the end of the season, players typically send the bat boys around the clubhouse, getting baseballs and other items autographed by their teammates. Brian Holman, who along with Harold Reynolds and Alvin Davis had already struck me as one of the nicest guys on the team, gave me four baseballs, asking me to have the entire team sign them as soon as possible.


A couple of days later, I hand them back to him. Holman tells me, “I only wanted three.” I insist, “No, Mr. Holman, you gave me four.” He smiles and turns away.


Fourteen years later, that ball still sits proudly in my home. My heart sank while reading Kelley’s powerful and heart-wrenching story on the hardships Holman’s family has endured. But Holman’s attitude can inspire all of us. He may have missed baseball’s Hall of Fame by one out, but he’s a first-ballot entry into the human hall of fame.


— Steve Bunin, anchor, ESPN



Holiday greetings


Twelve days of sports


On the 12th day of Christmas, Seattle gave to me


Shaun Alexander,


Hasselbeck’s right arm,


World champion Storm,


A forward named Fortson,


Young Luke at point guard,


Ra-shard maturing,


Ray Allen’s three-shot,


EEE-EEE-CHEE-ROHHHHHH!


Lefty Jamie Moyer,


Big Richie Sexson!


Adrian Beltre!


and a reason to watch my TV!


— Steve Farone, Seattle



Washington sports


Kill that Husky logo


Now that the UW has taken care of the football coach vacancy, could they please move on to the final adjustment to get the Dawgs back to being Dawgs? That would be to get rid of the ferret-looking logo!


— C. Whitten, Auburn



Volleyball


Keep McLaughlin


The UW women’s volleyball team has just concluded its most successful season in school history. A 22-match win streak, winning the Pac-10, making the Final Four. However, coach Jim McLaughlin’s contract has now expired and he is a serious coaching candidate for the U.S. national team.


With his success as men’s coach at USC (where his team won the national championship) and women’s coach at Kansas State and UW, he would obviously be a hot commodity with both national team positions open.


New athletic director Todd Turner needs to step forward and get Jim signed to a long-term contract. The team is headed in the right direction, and the system and the plan put in place by coach McLaughlin are working very well.


We obviously have one of the best in the business. We need to make sure we keep him.


— Scott Taylor, Kent




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