ONE MAN'S VICTORY
Congratulations to Pat Jordan for his frank but sensitive treatment of one athlete's struggle with himself (What Made Richie Run? Jan. 24).
The conditions of life sometimes prevent the most gifted among us from attaining cherished goals. However, as Richie Connors has demonstrated, both in his dedication to athletics and in his unwavering sense of personal worth, there can be even greater value for the individual in overcoming obstacles in the pursuit of an objective than in the mere fulfillment of that objective.
The message in the life of Richard Connors lies not in the circumstances of his tragedy but in the perseverance of will displayed in his triumph over addiction, imprisonment and the ensuing social rejection. He may never have had the opportunity to distinguish himself in the realm of professional football, but he has proved himself a champion in a larger sense.
A few days ago, I was deeply impressed by the speaker at our Police Athletic League football dinner. He seemed to speak directly to each boy about the values of participating in sports, about the values of living a clean life and, most of all, about how to learn to lose and then to win a game. Even his lighter remarks had meaning. The speaker was the Bridgeport Jets' Richie Connors, and we all applauded him.
February 7, 1972
Then I read your amazing article on Connors! It really shook me up to discover what he has been through. I am sorry it took him so long to find himself, but I am glad he did. My son is one of the Mount Snow boys, and he, too, voted Mr. Connors his favorite coach. Thank you for the insight.
SANDRA G. KRAKOFF
As a teen-ager who has read many articles and stories about the plights of drug users, both inside and outside the world of sports, I find this article to be one of the best. Let us just hope that it serves a higher purpose than that of merely entertaining the readers of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Little Neck, N.Y.
It was one of the finest, if not the finest, article I have ever read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I am of the younger generation (15 years old) and in love with sports just as Dick Connors was, but this article will make me think twice about drugs.
Pat Jordan's article shows in depth what drugs can do to your life. The fate of Richie Connors was a happy one but, unfortunately, this is not usually the case with most drug addicts. I have read many of your articles, but I got more out of this one than any of your others. Thank you for printing it.
Richie Connors played the game of football beautifully—but he plays the game of life even better.
East Lansing, Mich.
MR. BRUNDAGE'S OLYMPICS
Mr. Brundage rules by a double standard. There can be little difference between allowing Martini, the name of a sponsor of the Sestriere FIS event, to appear on the bibs of the skiers (The Big Man Lowers His Olympic Boom, Jan. 17) and allowing the name of the television network that pays a huge sum for the broadcast rights to the Games to appear on the television screen in the form of a logo on overlays, microphones, TV cameras and announcers' blazers. In addition, the network is allowed to sell advertising time to sponsors whose commercials are aired during the televising of the events. If Brundage were to apply the same criterion of amateurism to the organization and staging of the Olympics, then where would the Games be?
William Johnson seemed delighted to be able to disclose the extent to which the FIS has violated Avery Brundage's Olympic rules of amateurism. The FIS and many others have broken the rules because they do not respect them. And with good reason. The rules don't deserve respect. Any athlete who wants to compete must support himself financially.
Sport is, above all, a test of body and mind. This means the very best athletes ought to be competing in the Olympic Games. We're making progress, but I won't be satisfied until I can see the Boston Bruins against the Russians in the Olympic hockey finals. This is the big issue, not whether the FIS will clean up its house.
RAUER L. MEYER
Why is it that any article on Buffalo must be prefaced by a remark depicting it as a cold, drab and formidable city (Enter a Terrible Swift Sabre, Jan. 24)?
Your readers might be interested to know that some one million people like the life here. We enjoy four distinct seasons. Excellent ski resorts dot the countryside. The Albright-Knox Gallery houses one of the world's most outstanding contemporary art collections. Young and brilliant Michael Tilson Thomas leads the Buffalo Philharmonic. The University of Buffalo has one of America's leading research centers. A local professional theater troupe flourishes. Antiquated War Memorial Stadium is due to be replaced. And, despite their dismal records, the Bills, Braves and Sabres have been loyally and enthusiastically supported.
And, yes, we have Rick Martin and Gil Perreault, too.
STUART C. HEMPEL
You are right. Buffalo fans finally have something to cheer about. No doubt Rick Martin will break the fabulous record of 38 goals set by Gil Perreault in his rookie season. In any case, I am certain this won't be the last time Rick will make headlines in SI.
Rick Martin is the hottest thing to hit Buffalo since Cookie Gilchrist.
STEPHEN F. CLIFFORD
I'd like to offer my ideas as to why hockey players don't seem to want to fight anymore. It's those uniforms they wear. In what other sport do you find things held together with garters, garter belts and suspenders? Football and baseball have pulled up their socks (the Pirates look especially natty). Only in hockey do we have a lumpy, droopy stocking gap. I suggest hockey players don't fight anymore because they are afraid, what with TV, their whole outfit may disintegrate and they'll be caught with their pants down.
WARRIORS AND GAMECOCKS
South Carolina's nomination for The Most Exaggerated Event of 1972 is the scuffle between Marquette's outstanding Warriors and our fine Gamecocks. And the hands-down winner of the Inaccurate Account Award is Curry Kirkpatrick ("You Know Me, Al." "Right, Frank, and I Hate to Do It," Jan. 17). Both teams are great, both coaches are skilled, the entire basketball program at each school is a thing called class—and we can't get a decent account of a little brawl!
Al McGuire was right: a bouncer wouldn't have taken off his coat for this one. Curry added, altered and omitted several points about the tussle, but since he saw it worth reporting let us get it right: the punch that Jim Chones allegedly put on Danny Traylor somehow resulted in a bandage under Bob Lackey's eye and an injury to Tom Riker's hand. Curious, isn't it? And since it is customary to place state troopers at the scene of the slightest drop of blood in the South, may we point out that films show not one South Carolina state trooper in the house!
We are very sorry about the adverse publicity our Gamecocks are receiving about this matter. While we prefer to see the whole thing forgotten, we do insist, if it must be publicized, that it be reported in its proper perspective.
Congratulations to the Warriors for an exciting victory!
Congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick for his article on the Marquette-South Carolina tussle. It was indeed a great game, and Marquette proved what kind of team it is. Playing before some 12,000 screaming Fighting Gamecock fans, the Warriors were more poised than ever before. Even one of the great court melees of recent history could not psych the Warriors as they hung on for a 72-71 win.
I'm sure I speak for many Warrior fans in saying we respect the UCLA Bruins and those five straight national titles they've won, but we would really like to see our Warriors meet them head on in the 1972 NCAA finals. We love Coach Al McGuire and all of his boys and hope they can bring home the marbles this year.
Curry Kirkpatrick wrote a fine story on the Marquette-South Carolina game and the battling McGuires. It proves that, given enough years of apprenticeship on your publication, even a North Carolina graduate can be objective about a rough game involving a South Carolina team. Keep it up, Curry, you're doing better.
West Lafayette, Ind.
An article about either of the McGuires would certainly be interesting, but an article featuring both Al and Frank is an Irishman's delight. Brendan Behan writing about the O'Learys could not have surpassed Curry Kirkpatrick's latest effort.
I was particularly disturbed by Curry Kirkpatrick's comments regarding the brawl that erupted during the Marquette-South Carolina game, which I had a chance to see on television. The gist of his thinking seemed to be that "three minutes of heavy punching on both sides" was somehow appropriate and "not wholly unexpected" considering the fierce competitiveness and desire to win of both teams.
I was profoundly appalled by the length and violence of this fracas. One of sport's most fundamental purposes is to serve as an outlet for man's natural aggressiveness and competitiveness under conditions of fair play and sportsmanship. Athletes and spectators both undergo a healthy catharsis of these innate tendencies, as many psychologists have pointed out. But when the athletic event becomes an arena for malicious violence, it becomes in essence no more than a microcosm of our modern-day wars and persecutions.
I believe the NCAA must carefully investigate incidents of this sort and strictly enforce regulations and penalties.
Barry McDermott's chronicle (Hold Up Your Head, Tom Doty, Jan. 17) of a golf fantasy come true boggles the mind. It makes an unabashed golfing fanatic pine for spring and, ah, perhaps, a vision of Tom Doty's Camelot.
The story of Tom Doty's fantastic round of golf staggers the imagination of anyone who has ever played the game. It also makes one wonder why he and the four men playing with him did not take polygraph tests to confirm the authenticity of this fabulous round.
Given this verification, officials of the Masters tournament should extend to Tom Doty an invitation to participate.
WIRT A. YERGER JR.
If it did not have one before, the sport of golf now has a patron saint. In the name of the millions of golfers who have dared to dream of such a round, please believe in Tom Doty. He must have shot that 2-1-1-2. Otherwise, why would so many of us play such a completely unconquerable game?
MR. SEILER'S FESTIVAL
The fine article John Underwood wrote on the immortal Earnie Seiler (The House that Earnie Built, Jan. 3) brings back vivid and exciting memories to one who was there. As a university student in 1933, I bummed South during the Christmas holidays with three of my buddies. We arrived in Miami in time for the first annual Palm Festival. Around 10 a.m. we gravitated to the main gate on 36th Street and laid our plan of attack for crashing the game. As my buddies made an estimate of the situation, a skinny, red-faced man wearing a large Panama hat and chewing a long cigar came over to me and said, "Hey, Red, help with these boxes of sound stuff." What a break. Once we were in, we were in like Flynn. I assisted in setting up the P. A. system and ended up helping with the announcing of the game.
I will never forget Mr. Seiler, a man of action, moving all over the place in his rumpled white suit, chain-smoking his cigars. The temperature must have been every bit of 100° in the shade—with no shade. There were few if any sanitary facilities. There were two cold-drink stands and, true to the Florida theme of the day, orange juice was almost exclusively sold. I recall hearing Mr. Seiler tell a well-dressed dude, "I would rather be a lamppost on Biscayne Boulevard on New Year's Eve than a millionaire on State Street in Chicago."
Earnie Seiler has come a long, long way in his 39 years with his festival. May he continue bigger and better.
GLENN J. (RED) McGOWAN
Colonel, USA. (ret.)
John Underwood's article on Earnie Seiler was, I think, the best since Bob Ottum's July 19 musical about Boog Powell. (No offense. SI has great articles.)
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