STATE OF STREAKING
Streaking ("No Time for Stitches," SCORECARD, Feb. 25) could have started right here on the Princeton campus 60-odd years ago. According to John Davies (The Legend of Hobey Baker, Little, Brown and Co., 1966), the pioneer streaker was the immortal Baker who "One night on a bet...ran naked from '79 Dormitory to the cannon back of Nassau Hall."
Of course that was before Princeton became coeducational, which no doubt will explain why this was a solo run. So what else is new?
JOSEPH W. OUTERBRIDGE
Thank you for mentioning the latest campus craze. I would like to point out Duke University's claim to the new record: 438 streakers. This record will surely be broken, but the efforts of Duke, Western Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina State and other area universities have established North Carolina's status as the Streaking State.
In streaking, as in any other sport, it is not quantity but quality that counts. We at Penn State therefore feel called upon to protest Western Carolina University's claim to fame. On a recent night one dorm alone suited up (down?) 17 people who streaked together for the better part of an hour. All this in 20° and a stiff wind. One hearty soul spent two hours streaking around Beaver Stadium, site of many performances by another Penn Stater, John Cappelletti.
Penn State's streakers are willing to meet Western Carolina's any cold wet night they feel up to it. But beware. The same drive that made Penn State's football team 12-0 and carried its basketball team to a victory over high-flying Pitt would leave the Southern lads in a cloud of dust—exposed for what they really are.
L. G. HUMMEL
University Park, Pa.
Congratulations on an outstanding article by Curry Kirkpatrick on Jimmy Connors (Jimbo Comes On Strong, March 4). There is one point that I think deserves clarification. Stan Smith stated that he did not get to play Jimmy during the early part of last year when he (Smith) was playing well. Stan was invited to play in the National Indoor Championships in Salisbury, Md., which was won by Connors. Stan was available for that particular week but chose not to come.
National Indoor Championships
I have read only half of your article on Jimmy Connors and already my impressions of him have worsened. He is very good, nobody can deny that, but how can he consider himself in a class with the top players of the world and get so uptight about not being ranked alone as No. 1? If he wants to have the recognition he thinks he should have, why doesn't he join the WCT where the big boys (Laver, Smith, Newcombe) play? Let's see how he does against them instead of the second-flight players he beats on Bill Riordan's tour.
Until Connors decides to play real big-time tennis—week in, week out—and not just Wimbledon and Forest Hills, he will not be known as the tennis player he says he is. Until then he will just have to be known as Chris Evert's boyfriend. The kid may have come a long way, but he still has a long way to go.
Every major sport has them—the Dick Aliens, the Duane Thomases, the Derek Sandersons. They give a sport the attention it needs to grow. And tennis, with its odd names and peculiar-sounding scoring, needs this more than most sports. Not for the sake of the Wimbledon purists, but for the sake of the ordinary fans. Jimmy Connors is not only one of these extraordinary people, but an extraordinary tennis player. Is it coincidence that the only player in tennis today who is able to claim consistent victory over Connors is also the one tennis player who is more colorful and controversial, namely Ilie Nastase? Thank goodness tennis is finally coming out of its shell.
Thanks for putting Jimmy Connors on your cover. The picture will replace one of Howard Cosell on my dartboard, as Howard is now full of holes.
BACK HOME IN INDIANA
I would like to express my appreciation to both Barry McDermott and Jerry Kirshenbaum for their fine articles (Who's Your Favorite Hoosier? March 4). It gives everybody a good feeling (except those who have gone down to defeat to the Hurryin' Hoosiers) to read about how Coach Bobby Knight has changed "kids playing tag" into a nationally ranked team in just three short years. And who could forget Doc Counsilman? No one in Indiana.
Jerry Kirshenbaum's notion that Hoosier success has undermined college swimming is all wet. The sport is as much individual as team-oriented, and the program at IU serves as a model for high schools and colleges alike. It also helps to keep the U.S. at the pinnacle of international competition, a spot we've relinquished in most other sports.
More competition would be fun—it seems like ages since I watched Michigan (my alma mater) capsize the Hoosiers in 1966—but let's not blame the lack of it on Indiana. A team cannot buy or bully its way to success in this grueling sport, and sunnier climes spawn more quality swimmers than the Midwest. It is not only the superstars who make IU the premier team on the circuit. IU's perennially awesome depth results from maximum development of even the less than superstar athletes.
PETER L. GUSTAFSON
In the article about the Westminster dog show (He Pointed the Way at Westminster, Feb. 25) you show a picture of what might have been a soft-coated wheaten terrier—before all that awful fluffing up by its groomer. The wheaten, as described in the Irish and English Kennel Club standard, should be presented naturally, and any kind of trimming or dressing for the show ring is discouraged. Why then doesn't Marjorie Shoemaker relax and enjoy the breed, which in its natural state is a joy to behold and looks like a dog whose ancestors did indeed guard stables and destroy rodents? I would refer her and others interested in seeing what a wheaten should look like to the International Encyclopedia of Dogs by Dangerfield and Howell, pages 434 and 435. Those interested in hours of grooming for the show ring should stick to breeds that need it, not an all-purpose dog such as the wheaten—or the Westie, of which I own two. Thank you, though, for the excellent coverage given the show.
Mrs. ALAN G. LA FLAMME
I have kept soft-coated wheaten terriers since 1957, and have bred and exhibited them since 1962. The "constant grooming" attributed to the breed is necessary for show purposes only, and really serves to remove the soft curls or waves natural to the abundant coat. This for some obtuse reason is the appearance that judges, unfamiliar with the wheaten and its standard, seem to prefer.
To say that the wheaten "requires a firm hand," however, is ridiculous. Judges who, as a practice, stand off terriers to determine how feisty they act, are frequently amazed to see these terriers sniff each other's noses with wagging tails. On the other hand, I have never known one to back away from a good fight, no matter what the odds. Their quiet ego would not allow that.
CHARLES H. ARNOLD
West Hartford, Conn.
RUNNING FOR COUNTRY
I read with interest your comments on Filbert Bayi and Major General Surakikya and the Tanzanian Olympic Committee (SCORECARD, Feb. 25). I spent three years in Tanzania and was often privileged to work with General Surakikya. Our Olympic Committee could use gentlemen of his stature.
Why indeed should Bayi run on unfamiliar boards, where victory is often determined by the fleetest elbows—not feet—or in a U.S. championship in which not even the top American milers will compete?
As to comparing the Tanzanian Olympic Committee stand in Bayi's case to that of the Kenya AAA on Ben Jipcho, the Kenyans could more properly be grouped with our own "enlightened" Olympic Committee, which is driving so many of our top athletes to the ITA. While I was in Tanzania it meant something to run for one's country, and I suspect that in Bayi's case it still does.
VISIONS OF SUMMER
This past weekend I gazed out over the ice around me, then settled down with Thomas McGuane's In the Factory of the Mind (Feb. 25). After reading it twice, my heart was warm. At first, however, I felt completely frustrated by the lack of a photograph of the Meadow Lark. But, on second thought, perhaps my image of the boat was better. I hope we hear more from Mr. McGuane soon.
RICHARD I. LOEBL
UNSUNG ATHLETES (CONT.)
As a mother of a competitive skater, I was pleased to find at least someone honest and courageous enough to write the truth about skating (The Divine Right of Queens, Feb 18). It should be brought out into the open. I would complain myself, but it is impossible because 1) I do not know where to air my grievance; and 2) I have a fear of hurting my child's chances of competing again.
I wish you would publish my letter but withhold my name, because I feel I speak for the mothers of those children who are capable of being first but are not favored by the judges' rulings. These children go through the same rigorous, long training and the same expense but with no hope of reaching the top because of the injustice of the system.
My heart goes out to Jeannette Bruce. We need more forthright writers like her.
New York City
I was delighted to see that someone had enough honesty to report the facts and challenge the newspaper accounts of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Jeannette Bruce's article hit the skating world right where it needed to be hit most.
My first trip to this national competition produced feelings of amazement and anger. The skaters' performances, with few exceptions, were quite good: the judges, with fewer exceptions, outrageous. Congratulations to the woman who took the initiative to lay things on the line.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Jeannette Bruce's article on amateur figure skating indirectly points out the inadequacies in the competitive structure of this sport—or art. Judging at a national competition too often turns out to be a formality rather than a qualified analysis of the immediate performance. The hypocrisy of the situation, however, is too often attributed solely to the judges when the entire figure-skating world is at fault.
I suspect that skating would advance much farther if competitions were eliminated completely. Perhaps this would take it out of the realm of sport, but I think that figure skating would feel more at home alongside its more earthbound relative, the dance. Then we could just enjoy the performances of Roberta Loughland, Priscilla Hill and Dorothy Hamill and leave it to personal taste as to which talented girl is best.
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