BIG E AND STRANGE COMPANY
Many thanks to Manny Millan for his amazing basketball photography this season. First it was his Feb. 13 cover picture of Sidney Moncrief, then it was Gene Banks on your March 13 cover, and now it is Elvin Hayes (May 8).
•Take a look at this week's cover for still another Millan photograph.—ED.
EEEEasily the best cover shot of the year!
Falls Church, Va.
Before I read in your article (The Bullets Are Flying, May 8) that Spurs Guard Mike Gale had to borrow a Washington road uniform and wear it inside out because his San Antonio uniform had been lost in an airline baggage mixup, three possible explanations for his strange appearance on your cover came to mind: 1) there was a third team on the court; 2) the Bullets had rehired Dancing Harry, with a suitably far-out uniform included; 3) the player in the peculiar-looking uniform was a Spur trying to avoid the dreaded SI cover jinx.
Please let me know Ron Laird's most recent address (Going Through Life at a Walk, May 8). Because he equates money with trash, and I'm short of money, I want to mail him a 10-pound bag of trash.
I find loopholes in Laird's personal manifesto. If he is not in serious training for a year, why not take a job? He could certainly find something as "boring" as race walking.
Every American amateur athlete deserves sympathy, but Laird's attitude is self-pitying; and now he has joined those food-stamp users who can work but refuse to because it doesn't suit them.
RAY AND MARGARET CHETTI
Your article on Ron Laird says it all. His relentless dedication to race walking has caused the sport to grow throughout the nation. New York State is a prime example. The state now boasts walking events in both indoor and outdoor high school track and field championships (boys' and girls'). Laird has held numerous clinics all over New York as well as in the other states in which he has traveled.
I, for one, applaud Laird's efforts to qualify for a fifth Olympics. I also wish to congratulate Barry McDermott for this honest look at Laird. I hope I never hear the phrase, "Ron Laird, former race walker."
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
In an era when sports franchises move around with the frequency of corporate executives, when athletes negotiate incentive contracts for routine performances, when trashsport is the ultimate vulgarity, Ron Laird emerges as an exceptional individual. Let's run to help Ron walk in Moscow. I'd like to send him a contribution.
PAUL C. O'SHEA
There are three major reasons why the New York Islanders lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL playoffs (Battered Into Submission, May 8). The first, of course, was Lanny McDonald's overtime goal in Game 7. The second, as Mark Mulvoy emphasized, was the Islanders' lack of aggressiveness compared with Toronto's. And the third, which Mulvoy failed to play up enough, was Goal-tender Mike Palmateer. He was brilliant, making spectacular clutch saves for the Leafs. Unfortunately for Toronto, the Leafs could have Montreal's Ken Dryden in goal and still not beat the Canadiens.
Without a police record? The Toronto Maple Leafs? Maybe. But Mark Mulvoy ought to have consulted the records of the Flyer-Leaf playoff series of '76. It takes two to tangle. Canada's lumbermen are not in the woods, but on the ice in Maple Leaf uniforms.
In the '76 and '77 quarterfinals against Buffalo, the Islanders knew that their chances of winning would be greatly enhanced if they intimidated the Sabres. They proceeded to do so very effectively. Now they in turn are intimidated by Toronto, and they and Mark Mulvoy cry "Foul!" For shame!
It was comforting to read your accurate account of the Islander-Maple Leaf confrontation. It was disquieting, though, to read about "one general manager's" eye-for-an-eye approach to playing. What he was admitting is that his team has no room for a high-caliber professional hockey player unless that player is willing and able to retaliate on the ice. With these misdirected values, we can look forward to seeing more players like Mike Bossy needlessly hurt, when what the sport really needs is more players like Denis Potvin who turn and skate away!
College Park, Md.
One night in Chicago eight years ago, I saw Bobby Hull get crushed into the boards and then turn away from a senseless fight. He spent the rest of the night giving hockey lessons to fans and players alike. Now that was intimidation! It was a lesson in hockey and in life I never forgot. Why don't the NHL and WHA enforce the rules of hockey and let our youngsters learn the law of the jungle by watching old Tarzan movies?
DENNIS C. RAUSCH, D.D.S.
West Bend, Wis.
THE MASTERS AND THE PRESS
I would like to set the record straight about the SCORECARD item (April 17) concerning the Masters and the barring of the press from the locker room each day until the last pair had teed off.
This was not a decision made by me and Will Grimsley of the Associated Press the week of the Masters, but one that had been carefully studied for some years. In recent years the locker room and the adjacent grillroom have been vastly enlarged to accommodate both the players and the press. In fact, the grillroom was open to the press before tee-off, and the players had to walk through it to reach the locker room. The press could also request players to come into the grillroom for interviews. Further, the matter was submitted to the Golf Writers Association by Grimsley at its meeting last summer, and the writers voiced no strong objection to it on a trial basis.
The Masters recognizes—and always will recognize—that it was the news media that built this tournament, but it also feels that it can adequately accommodate both players and the news prior to tee-off.
Let me emphasize that there was no collusion between Will Grimsley and me in this matter.
WILLIAM H. LANE
In reply to a SCORECARD item in your April 24 issue, the "first" intercollegiate skateboard championships that I am aware of were held at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. on a glorious Saturday afternoon in May 1967. These included downhill, slalom, giant slalom and freestyle competitions.
The championships were a full decade ahead of their time and they also were coed, with representatives of such women's colleges and junior colleges as Endicott, Bennett, Briarcliff and Connecticut College competing against men's teams from Trinity, Harvard, Yale, Penn and others.
The team trophy was won by Trinity, whose squad was captained by All-America Peter (Stroke) Strohmeier and included Tony (Crash) Bryant, Jeff Tilden and Steve Griggs.
Probably the most interesting event of the tournament was the beer-can slalom, in which each contestant had to pick up the first and last "pylons" and drain their contents while negotiating the course. Although several competitors had perfect runs the first time down the course, a winner was never determined because no one was able to complete the second and tie-breaking run.
So, as you can see, when the skateboard craze first reached the East Coast in the '60s, there were some hardy collegiate souls who risked life and limb competing on the "old" aluminum boards with fired-clay wheels. I should know; I was the sole member of the Harvard team that fair weekend.
WARREN W. BOWES
I enjoyed William Zinsser's article on skateboarding (Super Rad Means O.K., Dad, April 24). However, I disagree with the advice given in his last sentence. When your son says, as mine did, "Come on. Mom, go for it!"—don't!
Completely forgetting that I am in my 40s and the mother of five, I jumped aboard. Three seconds and three feet later our skateboard investment had escalated to $5,024—$24 for the skateboard and $5,000 to repair my broken hip.
I recommend skateboarding for housewives who hate housework. There is almost no way one can push a vacuum or a shopping cart while using a walker. Still, as I watch my sons skating down our driveway, I have to suppress a strong urge to "go for it" once again.
ANNE MARIE FREDRICKSON
Shaker Heights, Ohio
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