The Canonization of Connors
I can't fault Jimmy Connors for his athletic prowess, his love of tennis, his hustle or his will to win (Open and Shut, Sept. 16). These characteristics set a fine example. However, his explosion at the chair umpire during his match with Aaron Krickstein once again showed a part of Connors that was usually overlooked or laughed off during his canonization at the U.S. Open. His outburst was disgraceful, as was his pathetic complaint, "I'm out here playing my butt off at 39 years old and you're doing that?" When he won the next two points to take the tiebreaker, Connors shamelessly pointed at the umpire to ridicule him and further inflame the crowd. What does it take to get a penalty point in Grand Slam tennis?
Silver Spring, Md.
Two of the real winners at the U.S. Open were Patrick McEnroe and Aaron Krickstein. Just to survive the screaming of the raucous, insensitive spectators, encouraged at every turn by the gamesmanship of Connors, was enough to make them winners.
Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Football at Gallaudet
Bruce Newman's terrific article about the football team at Gallaudet, a university for the deaf (Clear Signals, Aug. 26), brought to mind some of the happiest memories I retain from my college football experience. In 1981, I was the middle linebacker for the club team at Appalachian State. We traveled from Boone, N.C., to Washington, D.C., to meet Gallaudet, our toughest opponent. We were intimidated until we got accustomed to their drum and their trick plays. Still, their defense seemed to know our every move. That is, until we noticed Gallaudet fans standing behind our coach, picking up his calls and signaling them in to the Gallaudet players.
I admire how hard the Bisons played and the superb treatment they gave us after the game, but what I'm proudest of is that we, the underdogs, came back to win the game.
Greensboro, N. C.
September 29, 1991
Carl Pickens from Murphy
We read with interest your article on Tennessee wide receiver Carl Pickens (Dude with a 'Tude, Aug. 26). As lifelong residents of Murphy, N.C., we take pride in seeing one of our own succeed, but we take exception to your portrayal of both Murphy and Pickens. Murphy is a small, sleepy town. It is not a hotbed of racial discrimination. While discrimination certainly exists here, it is no more prevalent than anywhere else in white America. You mentioned that the Ku Klux Klan "marched in Murphy," but you failed to mention that the white and black communities were united in boycotting the march. The KKK marched to empty streets and closed stores.
If you wanted a reason for Pickens's 'tude, why didn't you see a small-town boy caught up in big-time college athletics? For example, one reason Pickens picked Tennessee was Kippy Brown, the Vols' receivers coach at the time, but Brown left early in 1990 to become the running backs coach of the New York Jets. Our impression of Pickens is that he has both feet on the ground.
We hope he will find time and a reason to visit Murphy. He continues to be the best role model, for black as well as white youth, that Murphy has ever had.
Murphy, N. C.
The Long Jump
Excellent cover story on Mike Powell (Great Leap Forward, Sept. 9). I am a fellow track and field athlete—in shotput, discus and hammer—and a friend of Powell's. I can't tell you the joy and excitement that everyone at the World Championships in Tokyo experienced when he made that amazing jump. I feel lucky to have been competing at that meet and to have seen Powell's jump in person. It is a moment in time that none of us will ever forget.
PAMELA C. DUKES
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