Congratulations on Bob Ottum's article about Brigham Young University (When the Latter-Day Saints Go Marching In, Dec. 8). I appreciate SI's recognition that differences in convictions and religious beliefs are a precious right we enjoy in this country, and that being different isn't necessarily wrong. "Mormons" and BYU Cougars are proud to have a style of their own, and we thank you for pointing it out without pointing a finger of scorn at what we value so highly.
We agree that in today's world "...purity gets you no points," but we'll stick with our standards just the same and let the Cougars continue to score the points. They seem to have a knack for it, don't they?
PAUL J. BLANCHARD
My compliments to Bob Ottum for an excellent article. However, baseball was one sport not mentioned. Under the coaching of Dr. Glen Tuckett, now athletic director, the BYU baseball team won 10 consecutive Western Athletic Conference Northern Division championships between 1967 and 1976. During this time, BYU won two NCAA regional titles and twice appeared in the College World Series, in 1968 and 1971. Under Gary Pullins, the current coach, BYU has continued its Northern Division dominance.
Two fine American athletes, Mike Render and Stan Younger, who, incidentally, are black, recently contributed greatly to the success of the BYU baseball program. They experienced the same challenges and opportunities to excel as did Homer Jones and Eric Lane, who pioneered in football. Mike and Stan met or exceeded the required standards of excellence. This was done at a price, but as a result they are a cut above their contemporaries at other universities and have gained adult survival skills that will sustain them throughout their lives. They also helped win the WAC championship in 1979.
Finally, although Render is not of the Mormon faith, he is a brother in Christ and a terrific human being.
Ignorance, like fear, lives in two places: in the dark and in the mind. BYU is courageously trying to eliminate them in both places.
After reading the profile of Brigham Young University, I came to the conclusion that Mormon life is dull, plastic and racist. How can BYU expect to attract outstanding black student-athletes when it offers a backward social/cultural environment that was typical of the 1950s?
South Bend, Ind.
I found it interesting that the university doesn't allow beards when old Brigham himself wore one.
Brigham Young Athletic Director Glen Tuckett was mistaken when he said only BYU and Indiana finished in the Top 20 in football and basketball last year. North Carolina and Ohio State also appeared in the final football and basketball polls of both the AP and UPI. In addition, Missouri and Purdue were each included in three of those four final rankings.
Sports Information Director
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C.
William Nack's coverage of the Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran rematch (The Big Bellyache, Dec. 8) was sensational, emphasizing the brilliance of Sugar Ray's performance. That was vintage Leonard in New Orleans. But let's not write off Duran. A third Duran-Leonard match would be in order if Duran first stopped Thomas Hearns—and as quickly as Roberto lost his well-deserved macho image, he would regain it.
William Nack's article says it all. The Duran-Leonard rematch was a big bellyache for the fans and for the sport. I say no màs, no màs to return matches within one year of any fight. That way other fighters would have a chance at the champ, and the fans would once again enjoy the sport.
I still don't believe that Duran quit because of stomach cramps.
One might say that Sugar Ray cramped Roberto's style.
Sugar Ray Leonard didn't beat Roberto Duran. Duran beat Duran.
North Riverside, Ill.
THE BLACK GHOST
I find it surprising and appalling that a major sports magazine would include an article glorifying someone who has spent his life breaking the law (Shhh! It's the Black Ghost, Dec. 8). Trespassing and poaching are violations of one of America's basic freedoms, the right to own and hold property. People like Art Broadie only make it harder on the average hunter or fisherman who obeys the law.
The article about the poacher really turned me off. Guys like Art Broadie may think they're heroes, and you may think they're heroes, but I think they're outlaws.
Also, the picture of Broadie setting out decoys is ridiculous. I've been setting out decoys here in Wisconsin for about 50 years and have never seen such a stupid technique.
ERNEST E. BRUNS
Robert Boyle deserves an ice-cold beer and a good cigar for his well-written article. Art Broadie must be an excellent outdoorsman and a true individual. America needs more people like the Black Ghost.
WARREN BYERS WATKINS JR.
I delayed reading Frank Deford's review of the TV movie Fighting Back (TV/RADIO, Dec. 8) until after I'd seen the show, because reviews usually have a way of influencing opinion. Not this time. Deford to the contrary, I think that the scenes showing Rocky Bleier with Steelers owner Art Rooney at the start of the movie did reveal that Rocky was troubled. Since Bleier didn't tell Rooney about his self-doubt, one assumes it was something he was very sensitive about.
I just hope the rest of the country liked the movie more than Deford did. Being from the Pittsburgh area, I'm proud of it.
Bethel Park, Pa.
I thank Frank Deford for the warning about the TV movie on Rocky Bleier. It's a shame that moviemakers feel they must incorporate romance and sex into the stories of fine individuals. I can only hope that if a movie is made of the life of the late Cal quarterback, Joe Roth, who died of cancer in 1977, it will be done in an unsensational manner. If there is an athlete who displayed more courage than Bleier, it's Roth.
ROBERT J. KUWADA
Long Beach, Calif.
CARDS ON THE TABLE
Franz Lidz' article on APBA Major League Baseball (SIDELINE, Dec. 8) has caused a commotion in my household. After reading it, I admitted to my family that I too am an APBA addict. Now I can come out into the open and shake those itty-bitty red and white dice to pit the 1977 Red Sox against the 1977 Yankees. But the fiction of APBA baseball resembles fact too exactly. My APBA Red Sox pitching staff always collapses in September, and the hated Yankees win the pennant, just as in real life.
FRANK DRIGOTAS III
I am a Strat-o-Matic Baseball fanatic, but thanks to Franz Lidz' article on APBA baseball my wife now realizes that I'm not crazy just because I have my cards run laps around the kitchen table after a bad game. The cards do come to life!
KEVIN T. PESTA
East Lansing, Mich.
RIDING THE RAILS
Your Nov. 24 SIDELINE on the railcycle conjures up pleasant fantasies. The open vistas, the sense of freedom and challenge all act as a powerful magnet, drawing the potential railcyclist to the tracks.
However, such an idyllic picture is clouded by some harsh realities. Anyone engaged in railcycling would be trespassing on railroad property, and the second-leading cause of death associated with railroads arises from trespassing. In 1979, 516 trespassers—those with no legal right to be on rail property—were killed and 805 were injured.
Although the inventor of the railcycle usually makes use of unused or abandoned lines, his occasional use of active lines is extremely disturbing. Even more disturbing is the casual description of his head-on meeting with a train coming around a bend.
You say that Dick Smart "fears what would happen if [his railcycle] were used by people not as careful as he." We fear what Dr. Smart intends to do with his recently acquired patent on his invention. Such a dangerous pastime does not deserve encouragement.
LAWRENCE H. KAUFMAN
Vice-President, Information and Public Affairs
Association of American Railroads
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