BEGINNINGS OF AN ICE WAR
In reference to Mark Mulvoy's article Hockey's Turn to Wage a War (June 19), if Bobby Hull wants to jump over to the WHA, let him go. I live in a minor league hockey town, so when I go to an NHL game I make sure it's going to be a good one, and seeing the great Bobby Hull in action is no special thing. The Golden Jet is no longer as thrilling a figure as he once was. Now when I see the Black Hawks come rushing down ice I see six hockey players, not five and one superstar. Don't get me wrong; the NHL and the Black Hawks won't be the same without Hull, but the other Hawks who have played in the Golden Jet's shadow could, I think, more than adequately fill in the hole dug by Bobby's departure.
I really would like to know what the WHA thinks an aging Golden Jet would do for it. It is going to take much more than Bobby Hull, John McKenzie and Bernie Parent to get this mini-league going. I'd just like to see the New England Whalers play a game against the Boston Bruins, or the New York Raiders play the New York Rangers. The players should forget about the WHA. It is not going to do any better than the NHL.
New York City
The WHA will definitely get off the ground. All it needs is a little more interest and for Bobby Hull to jump leagues. If Hull goes, many other players will jump also. The WHA will at least play competitive hockey, something Clarence Campbell's NHL has not done with all its ridiculous expanding. Philadelphia hockey fans will be attracted by the acquisitions of ex-Bruin John McKenzie and Bernie Parent. If Bobby Hull does not sign with Winnipeg, it will be the biggest mistake of his life.
One thing in the WHA's favor is that Boston (Hockey Town, U.S.A.) will without a doubt sell out every Whaler game. Most people in New England want a chance to see professional hockey, and they can't get into a Bruin game for all the beans in Boston.
THE BLALOCK CASE
I'm all for fighting for the underdog, but Barry McDermott's article Keeping a Close Eye on the Ball (June 19) was slanted to an extreme. It was insulting to the LPGA. It is totally absurd to claim that Janie Blalock's "single-minded devotion...is why she is not admired by the other women." Many of those women were devoted and dedicated enough to play on the tour before the money got halfway decent or the public even recognized the LPGA.
I found McDermott's article offensive. He was right about one thing. No one could be a winner—least of all the LPGA—after this biased, belittling article.
I am amazed that the members of the LPGA are able to actually grip a golf club. One would expect their claws to interfere. Jane Blalock's innocence or guilt remains to be seen, but the fact is that the whole affair is being handled with all the grace and dignity of a second-grade Brownie meeting.
Jane Blalock must have been reading Kin Hubbard, the practical philosopher who said, "Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit a lot of people."
ROBERT L. CAHILL
East Hampton, N.Y.
Having seen Janie Blalock before, and after seeing Cynthia Sullivan in your article, I know which one I'll be keeping an eye on over the next 20 years.
Your article on Jane Blalock's dispute with the LPGA has caused me to wonder what the rationale is for the rule that ball marks may be smoothed on the green, but nothing else can be repaired. This rule seems to have indirectly led to the Blalock difficulty, and it struck me as ridiculous on the final day of the U.S. Open, when a TV announcer reported that a ruling was requested on whether one player's line was obstructed by a ball mark or by a spike mark. Why not let a player smooth or remove any obstruction in his intended line and thus eliminate the necessity for rulings, suspicions, etc?
PAUL G. HERRICK
Cherry Hill, N.J.
SOMETHING TO PRESERVE
I was moved by Dan Levin's article about the Rappahannock River (Sentinels Along a Stream of Memories, June 19). Not since reading Bernard de Voto's Course of Empire have I come across an author with an ability to weave such pictorially precise yet lyrical descriptions of the present with events of the past. Levin has done more than tell about a canoe trip down a beautiful, half-forgotten stream. He has gently taken up a bit of our precious and coveted wilderness and caressed it—an act of affection by a man committed to the future.
The sports enthusiast and the historian have a common bond, an appreciation for the land, and a common cause, the need to preserve it. My students often ask why they must study history. Perhaps the Corps of Engineers should ask the same question.
PAUL C. MURPHY
The Dutchess School
As a canoeist and lover of history, I was charmed by Dan Levin's article. I was appalled, upon reaching the end, to learn that there are those who would destroy a portion of the Rappahannock River. I am sure that the Corps of Engineers can justify this pork barrel spending, but if any river is to be damned, it should be the Potomac, thereby flooding Washington and flushing out the bureaucrats who would mar the unspoiled Rappahannock.
FRANK LEA III
Jack Olsen's piece on Lamar Hunt (Biggest Cheapskate in Big D, June 19) is the best I've seen on a man who has never been better described in print than in SI. As publicity director for the Dallas Tornado Soccer Club in 1968, when it finished a miserable last in the North American Soccer League, I can personally attest to L.H.'s acumen when it comes to the world of professional sports.
He told the Fords, Hofheinzes and others it would take a minimum of 10 years for pro soccer clubs in the U.S. to even begin to turn a small profit. He also told them that by the time his son Clark reaches adulthood, soccer could very well give baseball a strong run for its money. That is, unless America's fading national pastime makes Lamar Hunt its commissioner.
JEFFREY H. GALE
San Anselmo, Calif.
It was quite interesting to read about Lamar Hunt and his philosophy of spending money. As the owner of "three ball clubs, 32 tennis pros, all kinds of little old oil wells—and one suit," Hunt hates to spend money on the kind of things which "when they're gone, they're gone, and you can never get the money back."
If most Americans—as oil and gas consumers—and all tennis, football and soccer fans held the same philosophy, Mr. Hunt's "a little too heavy for hot Dallas summers" suit might be the only one he could afford.
Coral Gables, Fla.
After reading your article on Lamar Hunt I thought the man was crazy. Not buying more than one suit, or new shoes or new furniture when his net worth is well into nine figures sounded ridiculous.
Then I remembered I had read about another rich man several months ago in another magazine. Aboard his yacht one night, a party ended with the guests throwing expensive china plates into the ocean. Somehow, Lamar Hunt didn't seem so ridiculous anymore.
Hunt has had his only suit so long he has been in and out of style three times.
ROBIN F. HEALEY
New York City
PICTURES AND WORDS
West German Artist Hans-Georg Rauch's visual description of the frantic preparations for the upcoming Olympics (Munich's Billion-Dollar Baby, June 19) has strangely contradicted the adage that one picture is worth 1,000 words. In his case it seems 10,000 lines are worth a jillion words.
As an artist myself, I would say he has the talent of Michelangelo, the social bite of George Grosz and the patience of Job. My only question is how does he do it!
ROY A. BAKER
That is a great picture accompanying the story about Riva Ridge's win at Belmont (They Follow in His Footsteps, June 19). Everyone always seems to admire the writing in your magazine, but it is about time someone gave the photographers on the staff a hearty pat on the back. After all, the magazine is called SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
The writing in SI is normally good, but you have had superb writing two weeks in a row. Sarah Pileggi (Mists, Mountains and Magic, June 12) made me feel as though I was back in Carmel, Calif., and I breathed and saw the mist and mountains and heard the surf. The only trouble was that I had just gotten immersed when the story ended.
Dan Levin's Stream of Memories in the next issue is a place I have never been, but I now know each spot of bright white and blue water on the Rappahannock, each bridge and eddy. That article, too, was not long enough, but still was beautiful.
You must take one rap for two compliments, though. I thought Jack Olsen's Biggest Cheapskate in Big D was a bore.
R. L. AUTEN
ON THE MAP
I noted with pleasure your short article on the little Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks, "Big Little Town" (SCORECARD, June 19). I think, however, that those who follow college football may already have heard of McKees Rocks. Perhaps you remember Chuck Burkhart, quarterback at Penn State, who led the Nittany Lions to two straight Orange Bowl victories in 1969 and '70? And Ted Kwalick, another Penn State player and All-America, who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers? And what about Dave Havern, the quarterback for the University of Pittsburgh for the past two years? All of these are from the McKees Rocks area and, along with John Hufnagel, played for Montour High School. Western Pennsylvania has some fine football talent, and I am proud to see it mentioned in your magazine.
MICHAELANNE M. BLACK
In a state such as Kansas, any liberal undertaking deserves notice. Ohio's "experiment" to resolve ties at high school football games (SCORECARD, June 12) is nothing more than the plan used in Kansas last fall.
A survey of reactions to the plan by the Kansas State High School Activities Association was returned by 313 principals and 338 football coaches and brought the following response: 278 principals and 301 coaches in favor.
There were 70 ties, 46 of which were resolved in one extra period and all but five in two extra periods or less. Score a point for Kansas for taking a positive step.
The Wichita Eagle
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