19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

April 02, 1984

HOYA TACTICS
Sir:
If one were to believe Curry Kirkpatrick's story on Georgetown basketball (Hang On to Your Hats...and Heads, March 19), Cap Weinberger should scrap the MX missile and deploy John Thompson. Come on, Curry, the Hoyas play hard, study hard and graduate. This must mean something, because blue-chippers keep coming Thompson's way.

The Hoyas aren't the Vienna Choir boys and Thompson will never host a late night TV show, but Kirkpatrick's reporting got a little mean and, yes, plenty paranoid. In fact, it reminded me of a cheap shot away from the ball—and from the truth.
GEORGE J. TENET
Washington, D.C.

Sir:
I read Curry Kirkpatrick's article with great interest. Being a student sports editor for the campus newspaper, I encounter "Hoya Paranoia" virtually every day of the year. Writing a story on the basketball team or on coach Thompson often requires weeks of planning and I sympathize with Kirkpatrick concerning some of his remarks.

Nonetheless, I found the rest of his article to be perhaps the biggest piece of garbage ever printed by SI. First, I resent Kirkpatrick's calling Reggie Williams "the Wraith" and his referring to the players as "future diplomats" and "minions." Second, and perhaps most important, I resent his unfounded attacks on the Hoyas' on-court tactics. Georgetown is not guilty of rough play or cheap shots, but rather, as St. John's guard Chris Mullin stated, the Hoyas are "just aggressive." To even imply that Patrick Ewing would have to resort to such tactics is preposterous. No, Mr. Kirkpatrick, the only crime the Hoyas are guilty of this year is being far better than their Big East competition.

As a reporter who covers the Hoyas regularly, I cannot and do not allow "Hoya Paranoia" to interfere with my objective analysis of the team's play on the court. I only wish a writer of Kirkpatrick's stature could make the same commitment to objectivity.
CHRIS WHITNEY
Sports Editor
Georgetown Voice
Washington, D.C.

Sir:
Talk about hatchet jobs! Curry Kirkpatrick threw words the way he accused Georgetown of throwing elbows and fists. I would have enjoyed reading more about the Big East tournament and less—much less—about John Thompson's relationship with the press.

To answer two of Curry's complaints: Where did the Hoyas stay? Check out the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester County, N.Y. and the Port Chester High School gym; and "Would that Georgetown abandon its foxhole mentality." Gee, after that article, would you?
IRENE SHAW
Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Sir:
Curry Kirkpatrick's story drove home most clearly a point many basketball fans have observed during recent months. "Hoya Paranoia" is alive and well at the university, and it isn't necessarily a good thing. Unfortunately, the Georgetown basketball team has demonstrated on more than one occasion that it is an unclass act that is proving to be detrimental to the image of Big East basketball.

No one doubts that John Thompson has put together a fine team, but the behavior of some of his players on the court has been far from championship caliber and this raises questions about his real coaching ability. A truly great team doesn't need to employ intimidation tactics to be successful. Perhaps Georgetown should take a long, hard look at where its basketball program is heading.
DAVID E. BRONNER
Fort Devens, Mass.

Sir:
Thank you! Just as I was beginning to doubt my eyesight, someone else finally saw the same Georgetown Hoyas I did. Curry Kirkpatrick has done a masterful job of removing the mask of the Holy Hoyas to reveal the Hoodlum Hoyas that have been terrorizing the Big East. Even if Georgetown wins the NCAA title, thus legitimizing to some degree its "war games" style of play, at least I know I won't be the only one calling foul while John Thompson continues his apparent mission to convert college basketball into the NHL.
MICHAEL S. MORIARTY
Falls Church, Va.

LOST CUP
Sir:
After 15 years of sailing and reading about sailing I've never read anything more candid and to the point on the America's Cup races than the article by Tom Blackaller (Why We Lost the America's Cup, March 12). He said what has been on a lot of sailors' minds for a long time.

Blackaller should have given credit where due, though. He talked about the failures of the American syndicates and about the fine organizational abilities of the Australian syndicate, but he never once mentioned the real reason America lost the Cup. In fact, it would probably still be in a glass case at the New York Yacht Club had it not been for superb steering by John Bertrand, the skipper of Australia II.
TOM ANDERSON
San Rafael, Calif.

Sir:
Thanks to Defender skipper Tom Blackaller for kindling within me the only spark of interest I've had in the America's Cup. Based only on a cursory look at the media's coverage, I had come to view the Cup races as an event by and for an elite, arrogant, moneyed few with little or no real understanding of rules and fair play. Thanks to Blackaller, not for changing my opinion but for enhancing it. Thanks also to Australia II and her crew for the humbling.

If horse racing is the sport of kings, what is the America's Cup?
RICK JACKSON
Dillsburg, Pa.

Sir:
If Tom Blackaller had directed less hot air into his attack on Dennis Conner and the New York Yacht Club and more into his sail program, perhaps he wouldn't have been the first skipper to be excused by the selection committee during the America's Cup Trials.

Shame on you for touting this crybaby.
BETSY WHIDDEN
Essex, Conn.

•Reader Whidden's husband, Tom, served as Conner's tactician on Liberty during the 1983 Cup defense.—ED.

Sir:
After we sports fans had suffered through endless articles on this nonsporting event last summer, did SI have to interrupt my peaceful and cozy evening in front of my fireplace with another 11 pages of hows, whys, wherefores and excuses concerning our loss of the America's Cup? May the Australians keep the Cup forever, and may they have the good sense to impose a news blackout on all future trials and challenges.
TOM TRUELSON
North Chatham, Mass.

SCOUTS
Sir:
Kevin Kerrane's article (Diamonds in the Rough, March 19) on baseball scouts brought back many fond memories, especially of Socko McCarey. Socko has been a highly respected judge of baseball talent for many years, but he was wrong about me. I was one of his 1940 prospects who "just fizzled out" and never got past Class B.

I haven't seen Socko (real first name Caleb) in many years, but I recall him fondly as a fine person in a tough field.
JACK FLYNN
Allison Park, Pa.

Sir:
Charm is the aspect of sport most frequently overlooked, and baseball is the most charming sport of all. As a kid in Chicago, I used to watch Smoky Burgess walk to the plate in Comiskey Park with three bats in his hand and a chaw in his mouth, while a fire siren screamed to announce his presence. At Wrigley Field, hopeless as the Cubs were, the prospect of Hammering Hank Sauer hitting another home run was enough to draw the fans.

What names! What else but baseball would give you a Socko or a Broadway Charlie? Kevin Kerrane's article was sportswriting at its best.
WILLIAM A. DONLON
New York City

JOHNSON'S ASCENT
Sir:
I've just read William Oscar Johnson's article (Taking Turns for the Better, March 12) about downhill-skier Bill Johnson and his climb to the top. As a police juvenile officer for 12 years, I've seen numerous kids climb to the top. The problem is that too often the climb is to the top of the court docket.

There are other Bill Johnsons who've made their own climb, but we always try to put them in their place by bringing up their past. The only larceny connected with Johnson's Olympic gold medal was the attempt by some people to steal the luster of the moment. Well done, Bill. Well done.
PATROLMAN DICK STEWART
Fairfield, Ohio

WOLFF AND SCHREMPF
Sir:
I love what Alexander Wolff is doing for basketball. Judging from letters in the 19TH HOLE, other readers have enjoyed his articles on the Jones brothers (Oct. 17), Kevin McHale (Dec. 19) and the Tarkanians (Feb. 20) as much as I have. Now, though, I have to say that his piece on Washington's Detlef Schrempf (Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, a Deutsche Mark! March 12) stands as my favorite. Schrempf is the embodiment of those qualities we find in foreigners who have transplanted themselves to this country to study and to play our game of hoops: adaptability and composure. The endeavors of such students seem infinitely more challenging than those of Americans entering college. However, as in the case of Schrempf, they turn to themselves in order to prevail, and, more often than not, we find that they succeed on both the academic and athletic level. That says something for a balanced life-style. Wolff wittily encapsuled the humor of Schrempf's personal history in an account that left me alternately giggling at his circumstances and marveling at his accomplishments. Bravo!
JOHN SHIPP
Albuquerque

BRETT'S BAT
Sir:
Why was George Brett squinting on the cover of your March 12 issue? It must have been the glare from that squeaky-clean bat handle. Kansas City folks must wish all of their players could start the '84 season by leaving sticky situations behind them.
Gus PETERMAN
Elgin, Ill.

Sir:
We Yankee fans greatly appreciated the March 12 cover picture of George Brett because the bat he was holding didn't have any pine tar on it. Has he finally seen the error of his ways, or is it just spring training?
ELIZABETH CALE
Washington, D.C.

•Sorry to disillusion anyone, but a portion of Brett's unvarnished new bat was shiny because it had been freshly coated with pine tar (see above). During every at bat, Brett works a bit of the tar farther down on the handle.—ED.

PHOTOBrett's bat handle is still a pretty sticky matter.

Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.

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