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Stop picking on kicker

By Evan Thompson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 26, 1999
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To the editor,

"Mark: throw in the towel" was exactly the wrong thing to write in the wake of Saturday night's results.

Dan Rosen should be ashamed of himself. First, writing a column about Mark McDonald's struggles this season is extremely unnecessary. Even a third-grader can tell that Mark is having a rough time. Second, if it took "witnessing what happened after McDonald missed" for Rosen to realize that "there is no need to remind (McDonald) of his kicking woes," then something is terribly wrong. Like Rosen pointed out, Mark is well aware of his slump, so why write an entire column about it? Isn't this rubbing salt into an open wound?

Mark doesn't need reminders. He doesn't need harassment, ridicule, boos or threats. He needs support. Not support as a kicker, but as a person.

The fans who booed should be ashamed of themselves. When Mark trotted onto the field for the final kick, he was attempting his biggest FG of the season. Talk about pressure! Rose Bowl hopes were on the line! He needed major encouragement. Shame on you for booing! He needed loud cheers to pump him up and ease some pressure.

Coach obviously thought Mark could make the kick. I honestly thought he could nail it as well. As the ball hooked, I was heartbroken, not only because we lost, but also because I felt for Mark. I have only seen five athletes look as dejected as he did while heading for the bench: Sleepy Floyd, Donnie Moore, Bill Buckner, Scott Norwood and Tony Womack. I'll bet that wasn't perspiration I saw glistening on his face. And then to see and hear the fans tear into him... then his teammates! If he can't turn to his teammates for consolation, to whom can he turn? I'm sure Mark wanted to crawl into a hole and hide, and the harassment made it worse. He needed a coach to talk to him, to console him like Coach John Thompson hugged and consoled Sleepy Floyd or Coach Dwayne Murphy consoled Tony Womack in New York a couple of weeks ago, but no coach was in sight. It's no wonder Mark exploded the way he did. Shame on Idris Haroon for screaming at Mark. Contrary to Rosen's belief, this was not a good idea; it was not being a good teammate. I must commend Ega Usu for shielding Mark from the fans, media, TV cameras and angry teammates - for sticking up for him. At least somebody cares.

Mark should not throw in the towel. Sleepy Floyd didn't quit, and he went on to have a good NBA career and even get a couple of rings.

Scott Norwood had a great season for the Bills the year after Super Bowl XXV.

I can assure you Tony Womack will return next year. So why should Mark quit the game he loves? Mark, if you're reading this, I totally support you and will back you up no matter what. I hope the rest of the student body will wake up and follow suit.

Evan Thompson

History sophomore

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