Now that the Supergame is set to be played in Los Angeles on January 15, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NFL for blacking out the Los Angeles area. I know I speak for the many sports fans who have made this the sports capital of the country. The average fan here spends about $150 a year supporting the Rams, Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Blades, USC, UCLA, plus approximately 30 state and junior colleges. So now, after five years, we finally get the game we have all been waiting for and the NFL tells us we can either go to the Coliseum or forget it. Blacking out an area of 10 million people hardly seems like the answer.
I am told that the NFL wants this to be the biggest gate ever. I am sure it will be. But, like so many people, the NFL officials get money and class mixed up, and the two don't always go hand in hand. Now, if they had class they would realize that they already have $2 million in the kitty from TV. They would price the 30,000 best seats in the Coliseum at $10 per seat, bringing the total to $2.3 million for an afternoon's work. The remaining 60,000 seats could then be given to needy kids, and the NFL would have 60,000 screaming, grateful, future fans. But who cares about the future?
If I sound bitter it is because I am—not because we are not getting the game on TV, but because I love all sports, and I hate to see what some men are doing to them for a dollar.
HARRY T. BOOSO
Congratulations. It is about time someone gave Ned Harkness the national recognition he deserves (Poison Ivy in the Ivy League, Jan. 2). But there is one drawback. Mark Mulvoy presents him as a man who has to use questionable tactics to win. This is far from the truth.
I played lacrosse under Ned Harkness last year at Cornell. His fantastic record is explained by the fact that he is one of the few coaches who instills confidence in everyone who plays for him. This is a man who teaches his players to want to win and to feel confident that they will win.
Thanks for introducing sports fans to a man who knows how to build winning teams.
It's about time you gave some credit to college hockey! This sport is enjoyed by thousands every year. But somehow you forgot to mention the strongest team in the East, as well as the rest of the nation—Boston University. This team, I'll admit, has many Canadian players, but it also has just as many great Americans.
BU and Cornell met this year and the score was 3-3. However, after seeing the game twice on TV, I have no doubt as to who outplayed whom.
Mark Mulvoy was reasonably accurate in his portrait of Cornell Hockey Coach Ned Harkness, but he is sure to incur the wrath of some 25,000 Rensselaer alumni with his reference to RPI as "obscure." Doesn't he know that Rensselaer is world-famous for having lost 43 football games in a row?
You should have been at the RPI invitational hockey tournament in Troy, N.Y. when a poor, slow-skating, undermanned RPI team with its unheralded sophomores played the powerful, previously unbeaten and untied Michigan sextet literally off its feet to a 6-6 tie.
This was a great moral victory for RPI and a fine tribute to Coach Gary Kearns, a Ned Harkness protégé, and to a valiant band of fighting Engineers.
H. RICHARD WELTMAN
QUACKS AND BRAYS
As a season-ticket holder to the University of Houston basketball games, I was delighted to see your story, Elvin, Melvin and The Duck, (Jan. 2). That is, I was delighted until I read it. Curry Kirkpatrick spent a great deal of time describing how they play defense like a jackass, don't shoot very well and are lazy, some of which, no doubt, is true. However, he could have given equal or more space to the many talents of Don (The Duck) Chaney and had a much more informative story. Chaney has the quickness and moves of only one other player his size that I have ever seen—and that is The Big O. Without the presence of The Big E in the lineup, The Duck would be on his way to making All-America himself.
Perhaps your nationwide audience will get to see the Houston players later in the year at the NCAA finals. Then Mr. Kirkpatrick can eat his story for breakfast, for there won't be any jackasses there.
Now I've heard everything! Your article on Elvin, Melvin and The Duck is not only insulting, but ridiculous. You make the Houston basketball team sound as though they are long-lost Greek gods. That's O.K. We at Tulsa wish our longtime football and basketball opponents all the best—until they play us. What is ridiculous is your statement indicating that Tulsa might be afraid of playing Houston. Are we not in the best cage conference in the nation, the Missouri Valley? Don't we meet the likes of Unseld, Allen, Holden, et al, when we play Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis (not just once a year, but twice)?
Again, I wish Houston luck. But don't take it away from the rest of us when you write them up. After all, with its schedule and results, Coach Joe Swank's Tulsa team deserves good recognition, too.
I'm sure I speak for many Providence College fans when I say you have done Jimmy Walker, PC's All-America, a gross injustice. In your article on Houston you stated that Lew Alcindor's talent is matched (or approached) by only three men in college basketball today. Make that four. Jimmy Walker is the best. He averages about 30 points a game and could make it 50 if he didn't pass off so much. He also gets his share of rebounds and assists, and possesses the best moves in the country.
SPIRIT OF 76
I can't tell you how much I appreciated Frank Deford's fine article on Alex Hannum and the Philadelphia 76ers (Sarge Takes Philly to the Top, Jan. 2). It's about time someone told Boston that from now on they're only second best. It is felt in Philadelphia, and I'm sure in other basketball towns, that Alex Hannum has a greater knowledge of the game than any other single person. As Deford pointed out, making a playmaker out of the phenomenal Wilt Chamberlain is a feat matched by no other coach in basketball history.
I have become an avid 76er fan since they invaded the City of Brotherly Love. Never before has such enthusiasm existed. Never before has old Convention Hall held standing-room-only crowds. No one can tell me now that Boston can compare to the 76ers. SI knows a good thing when it sees it.
MARK J. FRIEDMAN
Cherry Hill, N.J.