I can't hold back any longer (It's Sockey, the Way They Play It Here, May 6). When are you guys going to face the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers are an excellent hockey team? You have been down on them all year. Fighting is part of the game. The Hammer tells it as it is: this is the National Hockey League, not the Ice Capades. Maybe someday SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Clarence Campbell will realize this.
Bobby Clarke is justified in feeling weary of hearing so much about the Flyers' boxing talents and so little about the other skills the club has at its disposal (These Nice Guys Finish First, May 13). However, as long as the Flyers persist in the kind of antics they displayed in Game Three against the Rangers (19 minutes of penalties in the first three minutes of play) they will continue to be regarded as villains. The word "stupid" may also begin to crop up in press reports.
TIMOTHY J. STORY
Your criticism of hockey officiating (SCORECARD, May 6) was arrogant and unfounded. If both Philadelphia and New York had complaints during their semifinal, then I am inclined to think that the refereeing was fair.
With regard to the rule changes in the NFL (The Pro Football Revolution, May 6), in essence what the league has done is go back to basics. Last year the NFL worked mainly off a rushing offense. With wide receivers being mugged by defensive backs at the snap of the ball, teams had no alternative but to come out running or throw short.
Of all the altered rules the restricted bump and run may turn out to be the most surprising and effective. Perhaps an entirely new breed of receiver may spring up. There is no doubt that the already established receiver can only get better.
The NFL's 15-minute sudden-death period certainly is a most welcome addition, but each team should be entitled to have possession of the ball at least once during that time. The toss of the coin should determine only who gets possession first. After all, why should one team gain possession, score a cheap field goal and be declared the winner? In baseball, basketball and hockey each team gets a reasonable chance to score.
I sincerely hope Mr. Maule enjoys himself covering this new sport. We real football fans are going to turn away from the gimmickry of the pros and get our kicks from the college game this fall.
I was glad to see your interesting story about a very exciting sport (King of the Road on Two Wheels, May 6). Unfortunately, many people put down motorcycles and their riders. Your story on Kenny Roberts shows that clean-cut, intelligent young men also ride. He is a wonderful example for aspiring racers.
Motorcycle racing comes in a variety of types, from road racing to moto-cross, and there are many fine young men who have earned recognition for their achievements in this demanding sport. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that you will continue to write more stories about them.
Sam Moses' article surely put motor cyclist Kenny Roberts in his proper place—in the limelight. Kenny deserves to be there.
EVEL ON EVILS
Re your comments about me in SCORECARD ("Rated PG," April 29), your readers should be informed that for eight long years I have traveled this country, trying to do all that is possible with youth concerning motor safety, the wearing of helmets, the use of seat belts, etc. I have always tried to discourage everyone, and especially youngsters—including my own—from taking unnecessary chances, not because taking a chance is something society may think is dangerous but simply because the person or child may not be capable of handling the circumstances. I further have stated that I do not perform a wheelie or a jump without a helmet and that no one ever should.
Throughout my career I also have spoken against drinking, smoking and narcotics. I have never performed anywhere in this country where I have not spoken out to all in attendance—children and adults, each and every one—against the dangers of these three things.
I took off my black leather jacket and replaced it with a white one. I have fought to destroy the outlaw image of motorcycling in every way I could.
We agree with Dan Jenkins that Sam Adams (A Bogey! Play It Again, Sam, May 6) is having a tough time making a living on the PGA tour. But Sam is no loser. We were locker-room attendants at the 1973 Quad-Cities Open and had an opportunity to meet many of the pro golfers on the tour. Some were very cordial—Dave Stockton and Tom Watson, to name two—but nobody was any nicer to us than Adams. He was very gracious and good-natured and always had time to talk to us, even on the last day when the tournament pressure was on him. Although Sam might not win a million dollars on the tour, he certainly is going to win friends wherever he goes.
Y'S AND WHEREFORES
Jerry Kirshenbaum is to be congratulated on his fine grasp of the grass-roots feel of the National YMCA Swimming and Diving Championships in Fort Lauderdale (High, Y and Then Some, May 6). Having done that job so well it is too bad he didn't feel secure enough as a literary sophisticate to resist the temptation to disassociate himself from Middle America by coating his article with a layer of cynical condescension.
Downgrading the Y Nationals because the competition was not up to the AAU Nationals makes about as much sense as downgrading the local high school football team because Notre Dame would clobber it. (Or didn't Jerry know that AAU Nationals include all the top college swimmers while YMCA Nationals specifically exclude college swimmers?) His statement that YMCAs don't produce superstars doesn't jibe too well with his later statement that Mark Spitz started out with the Sacramento Y. And when Kirshenbaum says the records broken "were merely YMCA records" should we then sneer at the latest high school scoring champs because the records are only high school records?
My compliments to William Johnson and Nancy Williamson on their article about the All American Red Heads (All Red, So Help Them Henna, May 6). Having seen them play in person I can testify to the basketball talent they all possess. They played before a packed crowd of 1,300 in our wood-ceilinged high school gym. That was the most people our gym had held in a long time. Although our local all-stars beat them, I was impressed with the fantastic ability the Red Heads showed. I also enjoyed the comic routines. They are fine basketball players, and we felt lucky to have them in our town.
More important, however, the Red Heads carry with them the true meaning of basketball. They play for the love of the game, not for huge salaries. Also, they play to entertain people and to help other groups, as they did our school band. It is only because of groups like this that sport remains what it was meant to be.
South Fulton, Tenn.
If happiness is a rigorous seven-month schedule that calls for 60,000 miles of driving, quickie meat-loaf dinners, an average salary of about $30 a game and Christmas in Joplin, Mo., then utter despair must be playing for the New York Knicks.
Somebody should take the blinders off those girls.
HIGH ON DENOON
Regarding the article on Mary Decker (Mary, Mary, Not Contrary, April 22), let's set the record straight. When Don DeNoon drove Mary to some 200 meets in his Duster, nobody else wanted to go. But when he made her a world-class athlete and the meet directors started offering two airline tickets to track events in faraway places, suddenly everyone was interested in going, and the coach came up excess baggage.
The Blue Angels are 100% behind Don DeNoon. We will put up the record of our young club against anyone. Last year we placed three teams in the cross-country championships and one became national champion. Currently we have some of the best 880 runners, including the finest 9-year-old-and-under in the country, two of the best 10-and 11-year-olds, a 13-year-old who is tops and a 16-year-old who will run under 2:10 this year.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
We feel that the article did an injustice to our coach, Don DeNoon. We do not feel that Don works us or pushes us too hard, and he never forces anyone to do anything she does not want to do. If the workouts are easy, then we feel we are not working hard enough. But when the workouts are strenuous, we know we are getting better and closer to our goals.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
I just read the story about outrageous puns in SCORECARD ("Organ Stops and Desist," April 29). Sorry about this, but here is one more from a diehard Chicago Cub fan:
Reuschel on down and see the never Frailing Cubs. Start a Hooton and a hollerin' as much as you can. They're sure to beat the Cardenals and the rest of the National League clubs. With a Mitter like wald's behind the plate, how can they lose? Anyone can see they have the division title Mad-locked up (as well as Lockmaned). Monday or any day of the week the Cubs will win. You'll be seeing Morales of them come October.
Highland Park, Ill.
WHO'S ON FIRST? (CONT.)
Frank Deford's exposition on the invasion of our formerly "sugar and spice and all that's nice" little girls into the hitherto all-male Little League (Now Georgy-Porgy Runs Away, April 22) is one of the most amusing articles I have seen in SI for some time.
The hilarity of the altercation between the Little Leaguers and the feminists gives rise to several questions. Do the girls want to participate with the boys or are they being provoked into a situation they would just as soon live without? Why aren't the Little Leaguers hastening to organize and support similar leagues of reputable quality for the girls? And most of all, why are so many adults acting like little boys and girls?
If the present state of affairs does not improve, one can only jokingly await the day we begin fighting over the patently unfair "His" and "Hers" of public restrooms. Thank God there are only two sexes.
LONNIE T. YEARWOOD
There couldn't be a better candidate to represent the Little League girls than Frances Pescatore! The minute I turned to page 26 and saw her photo, I fell in love with her.
KEVIN J. MICHEL
Being a boy, I have an opinion on girls being allowed to play Little League baseball. In my first year I did not want girls to play, but last year I fractured my arm two weeks before the season started, and I spent the whole year watching my teammates from the first-base coach's box. I concluded that watching is no fun for me, so it must not be fun for girls. I say let them play.
In response to Dale Allison's letter (April 29) regarding Little League lasses, please be advised that an all-girl baseball program, the Sally League, has been established in Ocean-side (Long Island), N.Y. this year. The Sally League follows Little League rules and regulations and, as far as I know, may be the first hardball program for 10-to 12-year-old girls in the United States. The league is made up of six sponsored teams and, according to Sally League Commissioner Sam Cooperman, boys are not eligible.
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