Mark Mulvoy mentioned in his article (All Ablaze at Center, Feb. 26) that Flyer General Manager Keith Allen turned down five players for superstar Bobby Clarke. The fact is nothing could get Bobby away from Philadelphia. The Flyers are winning now. Rick MacLeish is scoring, as are Bill Flett and Gary Dornhoefer. Bob Kelly and Dave Schultz are checking, and Doug Favell is stopping rubber consistently. But Bobby Clarke does it all. He is the best center in hockey. So how come Gil Perreault is on your cover?
I commend you for finally realizing that the Buffalo Sabres are not a third-or fourth-rate team and putting one of our star players, Gil Perreault, on your cover. I attend school in New Hampshire and am continually harassed by Boston fans who think only God reigns above the Bruins. Buffalo will show them, in time.
I was outraged. I don't deny that a flock of young center icemen has appeared, but Mark Mulvoy ignored the Boston Bruins' up-and-coming rookie, Greg Sheppard. Curt Bennett may be an intellectual, but he's not nearly the hockey player that Sheppard is. Also, Punch Imlach's statement that Perreault "is the best center in the game—bar none" is ridiculous. Gil may be a dazzler on offense but he simply does not possess the all-round talents of players like Bobby Clarke, Walt Tkaczuk and Stan Mikita. And none of them compare with Boston's all-time great, Phil Esposito.
While it is true, as Mark Mulvoy says, that Buffalo has the best home record in the NHL and Gil Perreault may well be the successor to the greatest of them all, Jean Beliveau (although Jacques Lemaire's 178 goals in fewer than six seasons are not to be taken lightly), certainly the ultimate criterion by which to judge a team's performance is whether it wins. In this regard Montreal has demonstrated that it is the best team, and with its seemingly never-ending supply of young legs pro sport's greatest dynasty seems assured of continuing.
THOMAS G. MCCARTY
DOWN TO ESSENTIALS
Kenny Moore's tribute to Ron Clarke (But Only on Sunday, Feb. 25) is a fabulous statement of the real essentials of amateur sport. Although only a mediocre runner myself, I often attempt to emulate the ideal qualities of those more proficient in the sport. Ron Clarke now heads my list.
One Sunday morning a few years ago I ran with Ken Moore in a club race around Honolulu's Kapiolani Park. It was not his winning that impressed me, but the love of running that he shares with Clarke. Someday the public will understand that there is much more to distance running than just crossing the finish line. Thank you, Ken.
I applaud Kenny Moore's story on Ron Clarke. It is unfortunate that this great athlete was more often cited for what he failed to do than for what he achieved. Maybe this fine article will help right the wrong and point the criticism at the critics, for they are the ones who deserve it. Maybe Clarke did not win any Olympic or British Commonwealth Games gold medals, but I would like to see some of his critics attempt the number of races he did and come up with the same percentage of wins.
Ron Clarke states, "If youngsters are taught that losing is a disgrace, and they're not sure they can win, they will be reluctant to even try. And not trying is the real disgrace."
It takes deep thought to understand the implications of that simple statement. If only parents would instill some of this philosophy in their youngsters instead of the old cliché, "winning is everything."
LENARD W. WAHLERT
In the oh-so-clever lead paragraph of his story on Steve Smith (He's Raising the Roof, Feb. 12), Ron Reid gave us this assessment of a pole vaulter: "He is a super-special, technique-mad, slightly ridiculous pseudo-athlete, an oddity for size, speed and stamina and unsuited to sane events."
After seeing how Pole Vaulter Bob Seagren devastated Joe Frazier, Johnny Bench, Elvin Hayes, Rod Laver, Jean-Claude Killy, Johnny Unitas, Rod Gilbert, Jim Stefanich and Peter Revson in the Superstars decathlon (You Got To Have a Gimmick, March 5), I shudder to think what he might have accomplished had he not been a mere pseudo-athlete unsuited to sane events.
JOHN P. WIRTZ
Thank you for the article on the Westminster show (Doggy Doings in the Garden, Feb. 26). Dog people are indeed a different and dedicated breed. As a member of that breed, I am pleased to see dog showing being given its proper status as a sport.
Salt Lake City
Please inform Robert Boyle that, for the most part, knowledgeable dog people do form the galleries of the best-in-show judgings. This does not mean all will agree on the final decision. Did the Russians really win the Olympic basketball gold medal? Still, my hat's off for an article well done.
Westminster is a status show. Come out and cover a Western show and see the difference. Even the dogs smile out here.
Salt Lake City
I cannot express in words my delight on reading Dan Levin's excellent article Wisconsin on the Ice: Hullabaloo! (Feb. 19). As an avid fan of college hockey, I have long awaited the day when SI would acknowledge that the sport exists apart from Boston University. But it was particularly gratifying that you should choose to "break the ice" in Madison, Wis., where hockey is king.
TIMOTHY P. LODGE
So Dan Levin wants to talk about college hockey in the WCHA? Fine. But let's forget about Wisconsin's rubber chickens and Mad Dog fans who spit on opponents from section CC2. Let's look at the Badgers when they come out to play against a real hockey team.
Last March, Wisconsin needed to gain only a tie in its last two home games against Denver University in order to celebrate both Coach Bob Johnson's birthday and its first WCHA championship. Denver spoiled both celebrations by sweeping the series and claiming its sixth title in 12 years.
This season Denver has again won the WCHA and been ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Pioneers have done this without the advantages of home ice. Indeed, for this year's games against Wisconsin, Denver had to play at "home" in Colorado Springs. Without its own section CC2 Denver split, giving the Pioneers an overall lead of seven wins and four losses against the Badgers.
When Wisconsin's hullabaloo is long over, both Dan Levin and the Badgers will know that rubber chickens don't win championships—but hockey Denver style does.
I am proud to be a member of the somewhat infamous CC2 section at University of Wisconsin hockey games. However, I am disappointed and offended by Dan Levin's implication that the members of CC2 are former political activists who go to the hockey games only because there are no longer political demonstrations on campus. While Wisconsin has been known for its political activities and some of the group may indeed have some interest in politics, we are all in that section for one reason alone: we love hockey.
UP IN THE VALLEY
It was exhilarating to read the accolades extended to the Memphis State Tigers in your issue of Feb. 26 (Dr. K, Big Cat and Little Tubby). Since the article was written, the Tigers have indeed wrapped up the Missouri Valley championship.
One omission should be noted: there was no mention of Bill Laurie, who, in the opinion of some, is the best of them all. One minor correction: Memphis State did not lose the conference title to Louisville in the 1972 playoff. MSU and Louisville were co-champions. The object of the playoff was to decide who would go to the NCAAs.
LEON M. STEVENSON
I heartily congratulate you for the article on the fine basketball team at Memphis State. We Tiger fans hope to see Larry Finch, Larry Kenon & Co. go far in this year's NCAA tournament. Bring on UCLA!
New Haven, Conn.
Many thanks to Barry McDermott for his fine article on the Bulls' Norm Van Lier (You Can't Keep a Wild Man Down, Feb. 26). Norm is the personification of the hustling, unselfish type of basketball that makes the Chicago Bulls an exciting—and winning—team. Even though Van Lier was passed over in the All-Star selections this year, he is No. 1 among Bulls fans. His recognition is long overdue.
Winthrop Harbor, Ill.
The Norm Van Lier I remember while an undergrad at St. Francis College was an individual who gave everything 100%. Your article, though accurate, failed to give a complete picture of the man and gentleman behind the player. Norm is one of the most inspiring persons I have ever known. If we all had the motivation and joie de vivre he has, there would be no losers in this country.
Thanks anyway for an enjoyable story on the best player, inch for inch, in basketball.
Drexel Hill, Pa.
Barry McDermott's article on Norm Van Lier was a sensitive and honest look at an outspoken athlete battling the giants of court and country. A worthy profile.
It was with surprise and enjoyment that I read the article Tennis in a Royal Selling in your Feb. 19 edition. For many years Bill Sweeney was the club professional at the Bronxville Field Club, of which I was a member during my youth. Through his patience, skill and kindness, I and many other children learned much about tennis and character. Visitors to the Acapulco Princess Hotel will not only be able to stay in what appears to be a tropical Shangri-La, but they will also, if they take some time out to play a little tennis, meet a great teacher and personable individual in Bill Sweeney.
I was extremely impressed with Walter Bingham's article and fascinated with how immaculate the courts looked. But it hurts to have all this right in front of me as I do my income tax.
Van Nuys, Calif.
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