THE ICEMAN SPEAKETH
Congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick for his fine article on the San Antonio Spurs and George Gervin (Iceman Cometh and Scoreth, March 6). I would especially like to thank him for the examples of pro basketball jargon that he has been giving us lately. It might be fun to have Gervin and Bernard King (It's Whoooosh! Boom! Whoop! Time, Feb. 20) oppose each other in a debating contest.
Whereas the Iceman's gig is double-speak, otherwise Edwin Newman be comin' at 'em. With a club in each hand. Uh-huh.
George Gervin is a super basketball player, but his facts about the punching incident that ended his college career are all wrong. Being the recipient of that Gervin punch, I believe I am a qualified observer.
In your article, George says, "Whereas the cat bowled me, so I got up fast and he went down faster. Boom. TKO." The only accurate part of this statement is "Boom. TKO." The Roanoke College Maroons, of which I was a member, were beating the highly regarded Eastern Michigan Hurons with about seven minutes to go in the semifinals of the NCAA College Division tournament in Evansville, Ind. Gervin was having a super game (25 points), but he could not beat us by himself, and he became visibly frustrated.
I retrieved a rebound, Gervin came over my back and a foul was called on him. He punched me in the mouth, a flagrant foul was called and he was tossed out of the game. As I was walking upcourt to take my foul shots, Gervin came off the bench, eased his way through the players and hit me with an overhand right, a la Kermit Washington. I woke up five minutes later in the locker room with a black eye and swollen cheek.
Roanoke went on to win the national championship that year. I went on to have a fine college career at Roanoke and a short pro career. Gervin went on to make a mint in professional basketball.
JAY J. PICCOLA
IOWA GIRLS' GAME
Girls Win, Boys Lose (March 6) was one of the most delightful pieces I have read in a long time. I grew up in southern Indiana with "Hoosier Hysteria" in my blood, but it never occurred to me that, beyond turning a few cartwheels or waving pompons, girls had anything to do with basketball. It wasn't until my family and I were living in Iowa and our daughters were in grade school there that I learned that "Hawkeye Hysteria" is just as fervent as the Hoosier brand and that the six-on-six game is just as exciting as the five-on-five variety.
Now we're living in Illinois with a ninth-grade daughter who's playing the five-on-five game in a small grade school gym across town from the big high school gym where the boys play before a "crowd" of 30 parents. I'm the biggest "feminist" in this town of 7,000, perhaps because my athlete daughter gets the leftovers. But I wonder if the feminist movement doesn't make a mistake by always assuming that equality means taking over whatever males do. Five-on-five girls' basketball will always get the leavings; the boys have a lock on it. But no boys will ever match those Hawk-eye girls in the peculiar beauty and excitement of the six-on-six game.
(THE REV. DR.) JOHN R. MCFARLAND
Author Douglas Bauer almost had it right. Except that the town was Montezuma, Iowa, the year was 1954, the girl's name was Barbara and I couldn't make the boys' team.
Thanks for the beautifully done article on Prairie City, Iowa by Douglas Bauer. He missed the boys' heyday in Prairie City, however. As a former Prairie City High School coach—football, boys' and girls' (1946-47 only) basketball and baseball—allow me to point out that in 1946-47 Prairie City girls and boys won every high school contest at home (29 of them) in football, in boys' and girls' basketball and in baseball. The boys' football and basketball teams were state rated in 1946-49 and the football team was ranked the No. 1 six-man squad in Iowa in 1948.
In those days both the girls and the boys won, and they are now a wonderful group of adults.
KENT H. KING
In his article on DePaul Coach Ray Meyer (Reawakening the Glory, Feb. 27) Larry Keith stated that Meyer has won more games—570—than "any other active coach and more than all but six men who ever diagrammed a play." Coach Clarence (Big-house) Gaines of Winston-Salem State University has won 618 basketball games. I know George Mikan is always associated with Meyer and DePaul, but I would venture to say that today the name Earl Monroe is on more lips and minds than Mikan. Monroe is a Gaines and Winston-Salem product.
•SI's statement applied only to major-college coaches. Gaines is the winningest coach of the smalls.—ED.
HOCKEY PUZZLE SOLUTION
I enjoyed working out The Old Farmer's Almanac hockey problem presented in your Feb. 13 SCORECARD, but you never supplied us with the correct solution. I certainly hope, in the interest of the sanity of those who racked their brains attempting to solve it, that you will publish the answer.
JOHN C. SAUNDERS JR.
•Because the puzzle was part of a 1978 Old Farmer's Almanac contest that remained open until March 1, the solution was unavailable until after that date. However, the Almanac has now offered to share the answer with SI readers, hundreds of whom were fascinated by the problem. Here it is.
Games between the Bombardiers and the Esquimaux, and the Canadiens and the Esquimaux, had not been played.—ED.
THE GREAT GRETZKY & CO.
E. M. Swift not only made the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds sound like a one-man team ("Learned in All the Lore of Old Men," Feb. 20), but he also made the whole Ontario Major Junior Hockey League sound like a one-man league. Swift says of Wayne Gretzky, "Without question, he is the most exciting Junior hockey player since [Guy] Lafleur left Quebec City in 1971." Obviously he hasn't been watching Ottawa 67's star Bobby Smith. Smith leads the OHA with 173 points, compared to Gretzky's 161, and will undoubtedly be the first player chosen in the NHL's amateur draft. After defeating Gretzky in a penalty-shot contest, Smith received a prolonged standing ovation from 7,000-plus fans in Ottawa who know that he is not only the best Junior hockey player in the world but also the most exciting. Maybe Gretzky is great, but Smith is superior.
I am happy to see Wayne Gretzky get the recognition he so much deserves. I watched him play in the World Junior Championships and can truly say that I've seen only a few players in all of hockey with moves like his. The way he controlled the play and took the puck up the ice and around the defense was amazing. Right now Gretzky, age 17, is in a dogfight for the OHA scoring championship with 19-year-old Bob Smith, who most say will be drafted first or second this year. Gretzky has three more years of Junior hockey to play.
C‚Äö√†√∂¬¨•te St. Luc, Quebec
AAU RECORD SETTERS
Perhaps the AAU fell short in its handling of the national indoor championships (He Sure Goes Like Sixty in the 60, March 6), but SI can't be far behind. Just ask Deby LaPlante, who won the 60-yard hurdles. Two world records were set that night, and it's beyond me how you can justify putting one record holder (Houston McTear) on the cover and giving the other, LaPlante, only an afterthought remark in FOR THE RECORD.
New York City
I don't think the spaceships will be able to find the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 7 for the Braves' home opener (SCORECARD, March 6). They are out there listening, but you'd better have the Atlanta Radio Club change the directions for landing. "Latitude 85 degrees 25 minutes west, longitude 33 degrees 44 minutes north" won't get them to the stadium. It'll probably keep them in outer space. Better make it longitude 85 degrees 25 minutes west, latitude 33 degrees 44 minutes north. Or better yet, make it longitude 84 degrees 25 minutes west, latitude 33 degrees 45 minutes north.
But let's not worry about a few degrees or minutes. We'd all better get our tickets in order to be on hand for the landing. Do we get refunds if the ships do not arrive?
GEORGE H. HOFFMAN
•The message has been corrected.—ED.
The Atlanta Braves' effort to invite a UFO to their opening night is unique, but they've got something even better right under their noses. They are opening against the Dodgers. What more could they want?
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.