In SCORECARD (Sept. 2) you describe the World Hockey Association plan to eliminate the center red line to speed up the game. Please note that in NCAA hockey there never has been a center red line, and any question as to its effect on the game has long since been answered.
The American Hockey Coaches Association has fought NHL pressure to use the red line in college in the belief that we have a better game.
RICHARD F. VAUGHAN
Past President AHCA
I think the new NHL rule permitting substitutions only on the fly is a good one. However, the free-shot rule is bad. It might cause more whistles and delays than it stops when players accidentally enter the face-off circle, or when opposing players continue to flop on the rebounds, thus causing a game of free shots. Also, in the heated struggle to clear the puck a fight might develop, which would waste more time.
The rule that makes it illegal for goalies to go to the bench without a substitute coming in may be unfortunate for goalies with legitimate equipment problems but is necessary because of the number of times goalies claim to have such problems.
As for the WHA suggestion of eliminating the center red line, I hope it doesn't catch on in the NHL. There probably would be conservative games by the dozen, with each team trying to keep the other from getting breakaways.
Landover Hills, Md.
It the NHL changes its rules to permit substitutions only on the fly, what are the players supposed to do in televised games during those necessary evils, the commercial breaks—just stand around catching their breath?
Curiously, as pro hockey grows by leaps and bounds, the networks completely ignore the high caliber of the college game, particularly the NCAA championships. Since the semifinals and finals of the NCAA tournament have produced some of the most exciting contests in recent years (e.g., Wisconsin-Cornell in 1973 and Minnesota-Boston University in 1974), I have to wonder why the networks do not televise them.
ERIC E. JAKEL
If the NHL really wants to speed up the game, it might get the network to cut down on the number of commercials it allows. As more and more games are televised, more and more fans wait, bored, while the sponsors have their say.
"NFL exhibition season attendance was up in the stadiums because attendance was nearly perfect at camp" (FOR THE RECORD, Sept. 2). This conclusion has been widely published, but I reject it in favor of another that I think more significant.
I believe NFL attendance went up because the owners stopped allowing tickets to be returned for refunds. Given no alternative, more season-ticket-holders attended the games.
The only way to prove which conclusion is correct would be for all preseason tickets to be an optional extra for all season-ticket-holders (we should live to see the day). Or the owners should adopt the one good WFL innovation they ignored—omit the preseason as such and make all the games count.
RICHARD D. SACHS, D.D.S.
Now that Joe Rudi of the Oakland A's (A Man Who'd Never Bite a Dog, Sept. 2) has pretty well been disposed of as "the most sung unsung hero," I think it is about time we start looking for a new unsung hero.
I was surprised that Ron Fimrite did not even mention Ken Henderson of the Chicago White Sox, a superb ballplayer who has been outshone by such Sox stars as Dick Allen, Wilbur Wood and Bill Melton. Through games of Aug. 30, Henderson was hitting .291, had 80 RBIs, 15 home runs and had scored 61 runs. In comparison, Rudi had a batting average of .293, 83 RBIs, 15 home runs and had scored 60 runs. Henderson's fielding and speed are also commendable.
I agree wholeheartedly that Joe Rudi and the others are unsung heroes. But where was Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs? The fact that he wasn't even mentioned proves what an unsung hero he is.
WORTH LISTENING TO
I congratulate William Leggett on his article about the backup broadcasting team of Maury Wills and Jim Simpson (TV/RADIO, Aug. 19). My own opinion is that NBC could promote Wills and Simpson to cover all of its nationally televised baseball games and do away with its present No. 1 team. Wills and Simpson make the games much more interesting and informative, and they don't try to predict the divisional races.
Well, now that Monday Night Football is returning for another season we can look forward to more of Howard Cosell's vitriolic platitudes, Frank Gifford's error-ridden play-by-play drivel, and a new member—Fred Williamson—whose chief contribution to the show consists of telling us when the linebackers are out of position. Big deal!
When will the networks learn that we would like to watch and enjoy the games without all of the unnecessary conversation. If they ever got up the nerve to poll the viewers, I have no doubt that Keith Jackson would be back to stay. That would be too good to be true.
ROBERT E. STEWART
Regarding Red-Hot Factory for the Pros (Aug. 12), the Baltimore amateur baseball program is indeed productive. However, when it comes to factories, most people think of Detroit. The Adray Photo team of the Detroit Adray League polished off New Orleans 6-1 to take the 30th annual All-American Amateur Baseball Association tournament in Johnstown, Pa. last month and record its fifth championship in 11 years.
Baltimore, which was eliminated just before the finals, has a .639 AAABA percentage, good for fourth place in the alltime standings. Detroit's .744 easily outranks every other participating city.
Baltimore's star, Willie Aikens, may be a replica of John Mayberry, but why settle for second-best. Mayberry was in Detroit's program, as were Ted Sizemore, Bernie Carbo, Tom Walker, Frank Tanana, Willie Horton, Alex Johnson, Steve Garvey, Merv Rettenmund, Mike Marshall, Ted Simmons, Larry Jaster et al. Detroit manufactures more than automobiles.
As a faithful follower of SI, I have read hundreds, nay, thousands, of articles on individual athletes. One thing above all puzzles me. Is there some reason why all those college-educated, $30,000-plus-per-year pro athletes cannot assume some sort of respectful posture while the national anthem is being played, or is respect for the flag a violation of their personal freedom, too?
Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
I was thoroughly disgusted with SI for having the inexcusable audacity to print such absurd ideas for correcting college football's current recruiting and revenue problems (SCORECARD, Aug. 26).
I am amused that the proposal of a California orthopedic surgeon and a California State College professor calling for a draft of high school players similar to the professional draft would even be mentioned in such a reputable magazine as SI.
There is no good way to recruit college players, but you cannot make me believe that an outstanding high school athlete could ever be paid enough money to perform in some out-of-the-way town where the Saturday night action is limited to dragging Main Street. Such a draft would make slaves of young men and deny them the vital opportunity of picking the educational institution of their choice.
And as for your New Jersey buff's suggestion that pro teams reimburse the colleges once they sign their players, I say nonsense. Just because the pros are too dumb to run their own league (as the players' strike proves), they should not be given the opportunity to ruin the college game, too.
The diehards say football is a character builder, but it is still only a game. And proposals such as these, if they should ever be adopted, would be a slap in the face to college football fans everywhere who desire to see the campus game remain as free as possible of all professional adaptations.
DAVID LEE GOSSER
AVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Your article Women in Sport: A Progress Report (July 29) was fascinating. I knew things were changing in the realm of women's sports, but I had no idea that big-time athletics for women were at hand. I'm not at all sure the idea pleases me.
I happen to be the recipient of a women's academic-athletic scholarship to the University of Chicago, where I'll be a freshman this year, so it may seem rather incongruous that I find some of these changes disquieting. But there is a big difference between my scholarship and those described in your article.
The University of Chicago places particular emphasis on amateurism in sports for both their men's and women's programs, an attitude that sets it aside from most other institutions of higher learning. What you have described as advances in women's athletics seem to be no more than giant strides toward the professionalism that pervades college athletic programs for men.
It's one thing to expect adequate funding for your program and quite another to say, "I'm a basketball player. Send me money." While right now that statement by one female athlete may be the exception, it's not inconceivable that such an attitude may become the rule if a big-time sports philosophy is to rule women's athletics in the near future.
In my mind there are two very distinct types of competitiveness: the will to do your best and the will to be the best. In fact, I believe that the difference between the two is the difference between amateurism and professionalism. Until an athlete is involved in sports to make a living, I can't help but feel that pressure to be a world or national champion should be minimal.
Those who really excel in sports constitute an elite group, certainly a small portion of those who actually participate. Therefore, it seems that the emphasis in funding ought to be to provide programs for everyone rather than a lavish program for a few. That, anyway, is the policy at the University of Chicago, and that, I feel, is the direction in which women's sports ought to be moving.
In any case, too large a step is better than no step at all, and anyone who has ever struggled for women's sports has to be pleased that at long last we are being recognized as athletes.
BY THE SKIN OF THEIR SUITS
Thank you so much for that fantastic article on skinsuits (Light, Tight and Right for Racing, Aug. 12). I just recently got a Belgrad suit and can hardly believe the difference it made for me in a state championship meet on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Two of my friends were the first on our team to get skinsuits, and when they told me that the suits were supposed to cut at least two seconds off their times, I just laughed. But at the next meet they were the ones who laughed, because their times were incredible. After that, other girls on our team tried skinsuits, and my mom promised me one for Christmas.
Then came our championship meet. I was entered in the 15- to 17-year-old girls' 200-yard freestyle relay, but because a friend had broken her arm I also had to swim in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. I swam the freestyle first in my regular workout suit with the water- and air-catching "skirt." I tied my best time and placed sixth. Then my mom saw some Belgrad suits on sale and bought me one, though she made me promise I would do well. The suit psyched me up so much I beat my best time in the breaststroke by four seconds.
A couple of hours later I wore it again in the relay. At the time my team, the Oyster River Otters, was battling for the lead with our archrival, Hanover. Hanover has beaten us in Division I for as long as I can remember, although the scores have always been very close. The outcome of this meet depended on the relay. All but one of us were wearing skinsuits and we looked like real killers. When it was over and we had the 50-yard splits for each of us, I found I had beaten my best time by .6 second. Our team won the championship by five points over Hanover and is now the No. 1 swim team in the Granite State Swimming Association. From now on, I'm wearing my skinsuit to all swim meets.
That was an interesting article on field trials on Long Island (A Series of Trials and Tribulations, Aug. 19). The faces of the "doggy bunch" shown on page 52 were wonderful, but unfortunately the names of some were omitted. One attractive young lady (pictured in the middle of the top row) is Chris Lende, a member of the talented Lende family of Castleton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Her sister, Leith Lende, has been mentioned in SI on several earlier occasions for her victories in Alpine ski racing.
The Lende family exemplifies the fine qualities of sportsmanship SPORTS ILLUSTRATED upholds. Their achievements and their grace in victory are matched by their grace in defeat.
The leader of this remarkable family, Dr. Richard Lende, chairman of neurosurgery at Albany Medical College, died this past year following complications from a ski accident in Colorado. Leith went on to win Alpine races in Europe and in the U.S. and is now a member of the U.S. ski team. Mrs. Danielle Lende and the other Lende children have pursued horsemanship, dance and field trials. While Dr. Lende did not achieve international recognition in sports, he was an outstanding neurosurgeon, photographer, writer, poet and ski-patroller, to mention a few of his interests.
ROBERT B. CHODOS, M.D.
Head, Nuclear Medicine
Albany Medical College
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