THE DIONNE DEAL
Without too much of the bitterness that most Red Wing fans feel, I would like to comment on Mark Mulvoy's article A Seller's Market (Oct. 20). His account of what happened in the Marcel Dionne case was accurate. However, it did little to make people aware of the consequences of the ridiculous rise in sports stars' salaries and the random buying and selling of players. Dionne, like so many others, was looking for the buck. Who isn't? But somehow I find it hard to forget the whining way in which he achieved his newfound wealth. It appears that such qualities as loyalty, consideration and humanity are old-fashioned. The people of Detroit, with little else to cheer about in recent years, found a certain excitement in Marcel and the way he plays. The feeling obviously was not mutual.
One has to wonder where it will all end. It seems to me that it is time to answer the question: Is money everything?
Jack Kent Cooke really made a mistake by paying a selfish, goal-happy player like Marcel Dionne $1.5 million to play for the Los Angeles Kings. He made an even bigger mistake by trading two of his best players, Defenseman Terry Harper and Left Wing Dan Maloney, to Detroit to acquire Dionne. Dionne will fit into L.A. Coach Bob Pulford's rigid defensive style of hockey like a square fits into a circle. Cooke always gets his man, but it's always the wrong one.
You did not put in enough good words for Danny Maloney. He is a top fighter in the NHL, and he is playing a large part in the Dionne deal. Besides gaining the reputation of being a mauler, Danny proved last year that he can consistently put the puck in the net. He will turn the Red Wings around and bring out the best in them, while Dionne does his whimpering in The Forum.
I was surprised to read in your Scouting Reports (Oct. 20) just how much time the Philadelphia Flyers spent in the penalty box last season (almost 12 hours more than any other NHL team). The question this brings to my mind is: Are hockey penalties severe enough? Dirty hockey on the professional level only leads to dirty hockey on the amateur level. Young players risk serious injury when they imitate the Flyers' free-swinging style. What money-minded pros do is their business, but officials in amateur hockey should be strict enough about unnecessary roughness to make certain that dirty hockey is never winning hockey.
BABE AND DIANA
William Oscar Johnson and Nancy Williamson should be commended for an excellent and enlightening series on Babe Didrikson (Babe, Oct. 6 et seq.). The Oct. 20 issue in particular should be cited for its recognition of the woman athlete, since this issue not only concluded the fine saga of the legendary Didrikson but pointed to another remarkable performer, marathon swimmer Diana Nyad (A Dunk for the Apple). Didrikson's feats in a multitude of sports and Nyad's tremendous accomplishments in swimming speak well of the potentialities of women in athletics.
DAVID S. LILLIAN
Anyone who followed sports during the '30s was exhilarated by the accomplishments of Babe Didrikson. At last she is getting due recognition.
DUDLEY S. HORTH
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Thank you for Babe. She truly was the greatest woman athlete of all time.
OKLAHOMA VS. TEXAS
The annual Oklahoma-Texas game is more than an epic football battle (The Sooners Are the Better, Oct. 20). Other great rivalries, such as Ohio State-Michigan, Notre Dame-Southern Cal, Army-Navy and even Oklahoma-Nebraska, don't compare. No other game offers Friday night revelry to match that in downtown Dallas. Few other games are played in a neutral city 200 miles from either school's campus, with the seating allotments equally divided between the supporters of each school. The scalpers were getting $100 for an end-zone seat and $300 for a seat on the 50-yard line. One fan even offered his entire Willie Nelson record collection and a date with his wife for a ticket. Duffy Daugherty said it best several years ago, "People think this game is a matter of life and death, but after seeing it, I think it is much more important than that."
Re your account of the USC-Iowa game (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 13), Iowa did play "a helluva game" against talent-laden USC. USC Coach John McKay's comment concerning Iowa's "lousy fans," however, was not only inaccurate but terribly unfair. Despite the unfortunate actions of a few individuals, we submit that Iowa fans are the best in the country. Crowds of 57,200, 52,780, 54,600 and 59,160 were on hand for each of the first four Hawkeye home games this year. Last year Iowa ranked 21st nationally in attendance, averaging 48,683 per game. Yet Iowa has won only eight of its last 51 games and has just ended a nine-game losing streak. It is easy to be a fan of a winning football program; it takes dedication and character to be an Iowa fan.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
In this day and age of sport, when so many people are concerned with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, it was refreshing to read that "...play is as worthy an experience as love or beauty" (Imagine Going to School to Learn to Play, Oct. 13). Bil Gilbert's article paid tribute to a unique individual. We need more Bill Harpers—and more articles like this one to let other people know about them.
Bill Harper should be commended for his innovative techniques. Play is an important part of American life and should be valued more highly.
In Bil Gilbert's extraordinarily interesting essay he writes that Bill Harper had difficulty defining play. I suggest "Activity for pleasure."
New York City
Sports departments at two of the three daily newspapers in Philadelphia are open at 3 a.m. on weekdays (SCORECARD, Oct. 13) or else I've been working in my sleep for the last 3½ years as assistant sports editor of the Daily News. What often prevents callers from getting through during those hours is their unawareness of the Centrex direct-dialing number. Sometimes it's tougher to get those phone numbers than it is to answer a question to settle a bet.
Concerning your statement about Hawaii being a latecomer to organized sport in the U.S. it may be of interest to note that athletics occupied a prominent role in the ancient Hawaiian culture. Once sailing ships began crisscrossing the Pacific, Hawaiians eagerly adopted the newest game from the latest passenger. Consequently, Western sports caught on in Hawaii almost as soon as they were introduced on the Mainland.
Alexander Joy Cartwright, one of baseball's originators and later a Honolulu businessman and fire chief, introduced baseball to Hawaii soon after his arrival on Aug. 28, 1849. There was a regularly organized baseball league in the Hawaiian kingdom before the sport had been introduced to half of the continental U.S. Mark Twain later commented on the attraction baseball held in the Islands.
Honolulu high schools competed in football in 1880 and in basketball in 1898 (seven years after James Naismith invented the game). There are accounts of tennis tournaments and interscholastic track meets as early as 1882. Polo began in the Islands in 1886, shortly after its introduction on the Mainland. Swimming has been a way of life in the Islands from earliest antiquity, and Hawaii received world recognition from Duke Kahanamoku's aquatic feats in the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Olympics.
University of Hawaii at Manoa
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