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X Games requires use of safety gear

This is in response to a damaging and, we feel, irresponsible article by Dr. Koco Eaton (April 19). Dr. Eaton opened his sports fitness column titled "Pros and cons of safe gear" by saying "many athletes in the X Trials, held in St. Petersburg, do not wear helmets, wrist guards or knee pads while competing on in-line skates and skateboards. Unfortunately, this sets a bad example for many who idolize these athletes."

This statement is deceptive and misleading. Unfortunately, this statement makes it seem like these athletes do not wear protective equipment while at the X Trials. The organizing body for the ESPN X Games requires all aggressive in-line skaters, skateboarders and bicycle stunt riders wear helmets when competing or practicing. While we do not require skateboarders or bicycle stunt riders to wear wrist guards or knee pads, most opt to wear them. The Aggressive Skaters Association, the X Games in-line sport organizer, requires its athletes to wear knee pads for competition; an ASA rep knocks the competitor's knees to check for pads before dropping onto a course or vert.

The X Games organization has worked very hard for more than three years of involvement with the alternative sports industry to create a positive image for kids to mirror. That begins with requiring our athletes to wear helmets. We take the challenge of promoting safety very seriously.

Dean Stoyer,

assistant director of marketing

and communications, ESPN X Games

Poor decision by TCI

Well, the last thing we racing and baseball fans wanted has happened, thanks to people like Steven Cooley and Nick Martin (April 19 Commentary). Long before baseball was in Tampa Bay, there were us, the race fans. Our demographics prove we are here, and we are very loyal to the sponsors of our sport. We are not all tobacco chewing, toothless good ol' boys who like pit bulls and professional wrestling.

Stereotypes can be dangerous. Many of us are professionals; we are literate and well-spoken.

Seeing your precious Devil Rays was never an issue; if I am not mistaken, isn't Channel 32 the "Official home of the Devil Rays?" Isn't Tropicana Field a hop, skip and a jump from anywhere in the Tampa Bay area? Going to the race in Texas was not an option for me, nor was plunking down $1,000 for a satellite dish.

I live 10 minutes from Tropicana Field; I am excited about living in an area where there are so many professional teams to support. I am not going to pit my sport against any other; this is like arguing religion. All we ask as race fans is that we are not forgotten in the shuffle to make the Devil Rays feel welcome.

And the next time you decide to lump us all in one group, Mr. Cooley, do your homework. This "good ol' boy" is a 38-year-old professional woman with a major in English lit.

Connie Glotzbach-Sturgeon,

St. Petersburg

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