BILL BRADLEY'S GAME
Bill Bradley's article on what it takes to build a true team (You Can't Buy Heart, Oct. 31) was the best I have ever read in your magazine. Bradley was my favorite player not because he could dunk like Dr. J or block shots like Wilt (he couldn't), but because he was the ultimate team player. He personified on and off the court the admirable qualities of self-sacrifice, dedication and discipline.
Unfortunately, many of today's players are too self-centered to heed the message in Bradley's article. I would rather see a Bradley 15-foot jump shot off a Dave DeBusschere pick than a Darryl Dawkins dunk any day. The NBA has suffered a great loss with Bradley's retirement. For me at least, basketball will never be the same.
Bill Bradley described what team sports should be, yet seldom are. Individual egos usually are bigger than the collective heart.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
In a few days I'll be trying out for my high school freshman team, and Bill Bradley's inspiring article put me in just the right frame of mind. I'm not much of a scorer. I'm the guy who looks more for the open man than the tough outside jumper. I was worried that I wouldn't make the team because of my lack of shooting ability, but now I have more confidence in myself.
November 14, 1977
It is encouraging to read an article that deals with teamwork and the value of subordinating oneself for the betterment of all. Surely this message is important not only in sports but also in everyday life.
JOSEPH P. LAPETINA
Bill Bradley makes a simple game seem very complex. Basketball on any level is a game matching strength, speed, coordination, stamina, desire and other physical skills. I've seen Bradley play many times and all he ever did was throw unimportant, simple, fundamental passes, which can be done by most teen-agers. I would prefer that articles like this be written by players who played well rather than talked well.
ON THE ROUGH SIDE
Congratulations on an incredible pro basketball issue (Oct. 31). Besides providing us with great basketball insight, your stories showed heart and warmth. Bill Bradley's concept of the game is so right. But I would like to correct John Papanek on one point in his article on the enforcers (When the Going Gets Rough). He wrote that in earlier days "enforcers were more crudely known as 'hatchet men.' "
An enforcer is one thing, a hatchet man another. An enforcer is a basketball player. A hatchet man was (and still is) a 12th man on the team whose purpose is to go in there and hit, a role I have played. I rode the bench for many long games, but whenever anyone started trouble, I would go in. If our opponents had a superstar who was burning us, I would get rough with him, start a fight, so both of us would be ejected from the game. My team lost nothing, the opponents usually lost not only their superstar, but also the game. That is a hatchet man.
Union City, N.J.
After reading John Papanek's glorification of unnecessary violence in the NBA, I suggest that you confiscate his typewriter. There is no question that basketball requires a certain amount of physical contact and that strength is a tremendous asset in the game. Accepting those facts, an article about basketball's toughest competitors, or its strongest men, would be of some interest. But the Papanek article highlighted blatant rule breaking: Kermit Washington dropped John Shumate "with a flurry of hooks and haymakers. Shumate came apart in sections." Calvin Murphy "howitzered [Sidney Wicks'] face into a bloody pulp."
Let's not blame TV or radio for inciting violence; let's blame irresponsible journalists who encourage it by giving coverage to athletes who turn a game into a lousy street fight. Your article will be a stimulus for impressionable young athletes to turn high school and playground basketball into bloody street brawls.
The sport is having enough trouble handling violence without the "hooks and haymakers" of Kermit Washington and others being put up for idolization. It hasn't happened yet, but I would hate to see basketball suffer the same fate as hockey by resorting to intimidation and scare tactics to compensate for lack of talent.
What kind of reflection is this on our society? Are we heading into a future in which sport will be legalized combat? I hope not.
BOB CUSHMAN JR.
THAT PORTLAND FEELING
Will Curry Kirkpatrick stop at nothing? His article on Blazermania (A Fever Called Blazermania, Oct. 31) was wonderful. I am a dedicated 76er fan, but the people in Portland have the right idea. Perhaps Philadelphia fans can get the feeling. Who knows, maybe we could win the championship that way.
Curry Kirkpatrick certainly was on target in his assessment of what Blazermania has meant to the city of Portland and all of Oregon. It was a real happening that proved the value of teamwork in any walk of life, not just in the field of sports. But please ask him to point out that while Portland is a city of 400,000, it also has a metropolitan area population of 1,100,000. Otherwise, enforcer Maurice Lucas will be happy to see that Kirkpatrick personally counts each one of us on his next trip to Blazerland.
Reading your article on Ted Lindsay (Welcome Back, Scarface, Oct. 31) brought to mind a recent New York Ranger game in which their rookie center, Ron Duguay, scored his first NHL goal. The entire Ranger bench cleared to congratulate him. So much warmth and emotion was evident, the TV viewer could feel it. At the end of the game the Ranger bench emptied again, this time to congratulate Goaltender Wayne Thomas, who had just shut out the Cleveland Barons.
Aggressive hockey, yes; violent hockey, no. If benches emptied more often for moments like these and less often for ugly, senseless brawls, well, I think I could even get my mom to watch a game.
OUT OF THE LABORATORY
In his article Pricking Up Their Ears (Oct. 31), Jerry Kirshenbaum quoted several swimming coaches who expressed concern that they would be forced to abandon their intuitive judgments and their anaerobic workouts if they used the East German earlobe blood tests. They need not feel such apprehension, because this test is simply intended to monitor the balance of aerobic vs. anaerobic training in order to avoid overexertion, and possible breakdown, in an athlete. Instead of relying solely on the outward appearance of the athlete (does his hand "turn green" when he's really tired?), the coach can add this objective information about the state of acidosis of the athlete to his intuitive feelings, and then make judgments accordingly.
As for those who worry about science turning athletes into automatons, this test can no more make a robot of an athlete than can a treadmill test. In fact, the coach who lacks the means to objectively monitor the state of fatigue of his athlete and who unwittingly gives him too much anaerobic work is the one who is likely to create a robot whose enthusiasm for sport has been dimmed or extinguished by misguided overwork.
THOMAS F. ROBINSON, PH. D.
Lecturer in Physiology
University of Pennsylvania
MORE FATHERS AND SONS
I enjoyed the item on football's coaching fathers and playing sons (SCORECARD, Oct. 24). Here are some others who should be noted: John David Crow of Northeast Louisiana and son Johnny, a running back at Alabama; Bob Tyler of Mississippi State and son Breck. a wide receiver at the same school; Bob Frederick and Quarterback-Punter Chris Frederick of Lamar University; and Coach Bill Davidson and Safety Billy Davidson of Arkansas State.
Bruce Allen, son of Washington Redskin Coach George Allen, is the punter for the University of Richmond Spiders. Bruce has a strong leg and has been an asset to the Spiders all season.
Virginia Beach, Va.
When I was the sports information director and Hayden Fry was head football coach at Southern Methodist University, I looked forward to the time when his and Mrs. Fry's four sons—Randy, Zach, Kelly and Abe—would all be playing in the same backfield with their father as the coach. Hayden left SMU before this potential publicity event took place. Since he became head coach at North Texas State, however, Randy, Zach and Kelly have won their letters there, and it is likely that Abe also will become a letter winner. Randy and Zach have finished their college careers, but Kelly is a starter on this year's team, which at this writing has won seven games and lost two.
Incidentally, the best athlete in the Fry family is probably daughter Robin, who is a high school basketball star.
Please add to the list Chip Mark, son of Shippensburg State College Coach Joe Mark. Starting his first game at quarterback for the University of Virginia after the team had lost its first five games, Chip led the Cavaliers to a 14-14 tie with highly favored Virginia Tech. His 28-yard pass to one of the sons mentioned in your article, Ted Marchibroda Jr., was the longest pass play for the Cavaliers up to that point in the season.
D. N. TUCKER
•For other additions see SCORECARD.—ED.
FOR MEN ONLY
Richard Oles' list of the virtues of men (SCORECARD, Oct. 24) is admirable. But perhaps he should add wisdom—wisdom enough to know that self-reliance, bravery, honor, personal responsibility, etc. are not only the virtues of men but also of women.
I can't help wondering if the boys he coaches in fencing will come to see outsiders as a threat to their mastery of these qualities. I suspect the boys may fail to learn that no man who truly possesses these virtues will be "emasculated" because someone else—woman or man—also possesses them.
VIRGINIA V. CHANDA
Thanks for the publicity. However, in all fairness, the results of our boys-only fencing program should also be pointed out: three national under-16 champions, four national under-19 medalists, a dozen Maryland state champions in every age bracket, finalists in the adult Mid-Atlantic sectional championships, medalists in the New Jersey high school championships (they're open) and two selectees to the U.S. World Youth Championship teams in 1977 and 1978.
Now let me blunt in advance some of the hate letters you're going to get from the lunatic fringe: I also have a club for women and have been teaching the ladies since 1961—but differently. Equality of the sexes does not mean sameness.
RICHARD F. OLES
Tri-Weapon Fencing Club
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