I must question one critic (19TH HOLE, Jan. 11) of your selection of Bobby Orr as the Sportsman of the Year. Martin J. Aronoff's contemporary cry of racism in hockey seems to have arisen from a blatant lack of knowledge of the nature of the game. The main prerequisite for any NHL hopeful is the ability to skate. Since very few black athletes play hockey or have the skating ability that is necessary, very few play in the pros. However, I would like to point out that the Boston Bruins' roster was integrated before that of the Boston Red Sox (i.e., Willie O'Ree was skating around in the Boston Garden before Pumpsie Green took his first at bat at Fenway Park).
I am not surprised that the criticisms came from residents of New York City, home of the also-ran Rangers. Cry on, gentlemen, but don't expect the Stanley Cup to catch your tears; it is and will be ours (or Orr's) for some time to come.
ROBERT N. SHERRIFF
First of all, 95% or more of all hockey players come from Canada, which has a small black population, so where would the NHL get a larger number of black players?
As for the alleged anti-Semitic remarks directed toward one Jewish player, what about the names the French players call the players of English descent? I'm not defending such remarks, but in any game the object is to rile the opposition.
Hockey deserves recognition and Bobby Orr deserves it most of all.
Please explain to Floyd Dimond, who wrote in reference to Orr's "bad manners," that the Sportsman award is given to a man, as in human being, not as in god or saint. If he wants to give an award to a saint, fine, but he's going to have one heck of a time finding one!
Colorado Springs, Colo.
A Sportsman isn't picked on how he drives out of a parking lot or on whether he's black or Jewish. It depends on his play, his attitude toward the game and its players, and on a number of other things. I don't think SI could have made a better choice.
LANI DES ROSIERS
Fort Montgomery, N.Y.
How could Mark Mulvoy state that the New York Rangers collapsed late last season simply because Eddie Giacomin was overworked in the nets (It Takes Two to Win the Cup, Jan. 11)? There is an old saying in hockey: Get past the forwards and you have the defensemen; get past the defensemen and you have the goalie; get past the goalie and you have a red light. It became easier to score against the Rangers late last season mainly because they lost the services, through injuries, of five other key players: Jim Neilson, Brad Park, Donnie Marshall, Arnie Brown and Vic Hadfield.
A well-balanced, two-way team keeps the puck out of the net, not just the goalie. Of course Giacomin benefits from the rest he is getting this year, but be fair, last year was not his fault.
NORA E. GARDNER
New York City
I read the article while watching the Rangers' alternate goalie, Gilles Villemure, shut out the Minnesota North Stars 1-0. Mulvoy's analysis was up to date and truthful.
BRIAN P. KURTZ
Spring Valley, N.Y.
Mulvoy's article won't be the last on the Rangers this year. This time they are not going to collapse on the way to the cup.
SPORT IN ART
I am an art enthusiast as well as a sports fan, so it has always been necessary for me to subscribe to two magazines in order to pursue both interests. But your masterful article of Jan. 11 (Games Children Play) has satisfied both themes. Alexander Eliot has given us an edifying glance into Bruegel's painting that is certainly worthy of publication in any art magazine. He has also given us new insights into athletics of 400 years ago. An excellent combination.
Alexander Eliot involved me so deeply in his magnificent interpretation of the Bruegel masterpiece Children's Games that he made me forget to watch all the television sports that afternoon.
I would like to commend SI and Walter Bingham for a truly amazing article (The World's Greatest Gamesman, Jan. 11). Bingham's sincere admiration for a fellow addict of the trivial side of sport is quite refreshing, and his approach to Eddie Kantar's obsessions, and even his own, was very amusing. Obviously, Kantar, at 38, is an active and talented athlete who attacks life for all it can offer.
MARK R. SIGRIST
Until I read of Messrs. Bingham and Kantar, I thought I was the world's greatest gamesman. Thanks for the lesson in humility—and for one of the most interesting articles in my five years of enjoying SI.
Johnson City, Tenn.
Having just read (twice) Jerry Kirshenbaum's article on Stewart (Barefoot) McDonald (Top Hat, White Tie and Bare Toes, Jan. 4), I suggest you incorporate an IPS (Individual Personalities in Sport) department into your format. Articles on nonconformists in our rules-and-red-tape world will forever remain a delight to your readers who may sometimes become bored with the standard reports of events. Thanks for this one.
It's too bad we don't all have a touch of Barefoot McDonald's freewheeling approach to life. Congratulations for recognizing a man who is really living.
Re your Jan. 4 SCORECARD item entitled "The Forests' Prime Evil," I am sure that the snowmobile and the motorcycle will be with us for some time, and while it is true that their noises may give a feeling of power to some, that noise is becoming extremely irritating to others.
The answer may lie in the development of silent-running snowmobiles and motorcycles with built-in tape decks on which tapes of standard noises could be played. The user could plug in his or her earpiece and speed off in outer silence while turning up the volume and roaring along in inner sonority to his heart's content.
I am sure that the experts could also synchronize the volume control with the throttle so that the rider could get that personal feeling of power. The good citizens would no longer become irritated at this noise pollution since there would be no noise, and city fathers could then turn their attention exclusively to the safety aspects of snowmobile and motorcycle operation within city limits.
DONALD E. YOUNG
City of Spearfish
Spearfish, S. Dak.
SHADES OF GLORY
In your Jan. 4 SCORECARD section you discussed the various colors of shoes that baseball and other sports teams now plan to wear. You overlooked the ABA's Indiana Pacers, who are already setting the style: they are wearing brilliant blue shoes on the court this season.
In an article last year (Out! Short to Yellow to Red, March 30) Roy Blount detailed Charles O. Finley's and my suggestion that baseball consider using colored bases. The article ended with the question: "Where have you gone, Brian Barsamian?"
This is to inform you that I am still here in Oakland—a year older, a little wiser, but unhappy. I am distressed that baseball has taken no action on this suggestion and has apparently made no arrangements for even a tryout of the idea during this coming spring training. Where were you and the Other reputable sports publications, athletes, sports personalities and color television executives who failed to seriously research this suggestion and instead apparently treated it as a gimmick presented by the colorful and controversial owner of the Oakland A's? Would this suggestion have been given more serious consideration if it had been submitted by a person less controversial than Mr. Finley? Exciting baseball can compete with football for the title of No. 1 national sport, but can it compete against old-fashioned tradition in the hands of individuals who are color-blind?
I'd like to thank you for your recent article on the Cleveland Cavaliers (The Madcap Cavs of Cleveland, Dec. 14) because I have a feeling that they won't be around in a few years. Cleveland fans don't support a losing team. What the fans don't know is that an expansion team is going to lose games during its first few years but, after that, can turn into a great team like Milwaukee. Maybe our first-round draft choice, whether it be Sidney Wicks, Artis Gilmore or whoever, will spark the team like Alcindor did the Bucks.
University Heights, Ohio
Frank Deford tried hard in his article delineating the bores of the world (Who Blew the U.S. Nose Count?, Dec. 21), but he blew it when he concluded that repetitious use of the word "really" is confined to the Ski Bore. It is, of course, a major ingredient in the vocabulary of the Sincere-Young-Person Bore. However, it is not for this that I take Frank to task, but rather for his failure to complete his thesis. He omitted The Nod!
Even a casual observer will attest to the fact that following utterance of the pseudosincere "really" comes an even more phony series of head noddings of no known numerical limitation. Last night, in what formerly was my favorite bar but has recently been invaded by the unwashed, I overheard a stringy-haired creature of undetermined sex punctuate a sentence by The Nod 21 times (actual count).
Author Deford is simply not a student of the art. Really. Nod, nod, nod.
That article was an unnecessary bore!
ALAN J. SCHUTZ
Who Blew the U.S. Nose Count? was a very humorous article and captured the main types of bores.
In answer to Frank Deford's article, if each Ski Bore convinced just one flabby, cigarette-puffing coffee drinker that there was a wholesome, healthy, happy alternative—namely, skiing—to his sitting on his ever-spreading derri√®re, complaining about the weather and annually wishing the winter months of his life away, then we would have a much happier population. And probably much less nose blowing.
Address editorial mail to Time & Life Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.