I thoroughly enjoyed your feature on sports in Appleton, Wis. (Hooray, Appleton, U.S.A.!, Aug. 11). I'm a transplanted Appletonian, and reading your series of articles about my hometown was almost as good as going home. I always knew it was a great place to grow up. Riverdale Drive had the perfect setup for kickball games and kick the can. Does anybody play those games anymore? Thinking back now, I realize it really was a great time in my life. I think I'll call Mom and Dad and have them send me some bratwurst and an Old Style beer. Then I'll really feel at home.
ANN (VAN STRALEN) JOHNSON
Moses Lake, Wash.
The articles brought back many wonderful memories of my first year (1972) of professional baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization. I was one of the fortunate ballplayers who had the pleasure of starting their careers in Appleton. It's heartwarming to see that nothing has changed. There may be a few new faces, a few old faces and a few missing faces, but the friendliness of a community that opens its homes and hearts to complete strangers is still evident 14 years later.
You have made a retired minor league ballplayer feel young again. I may never have made The Show, but not every professional baseball player can say he played for the Appleton Foxes. Congratulations, Appleton! Keep on doing what you're doing. America, start taking notes!
PAUL W. PATTERSON
The stories about Appleton were a golden delicious surprise. They gave this big-city boy a real appreciation for Main Street, U.S.A. Thank you for making my day.
You touched on almost all my memories of growing up in the Fox Cities. I do, though, want to mention that the NFL 1,000 Yard Club and the Red Smith Sports Award dinners have been held there. As a child I attended both with my grandfather. These benefit dinners have contributed thousands of dollars to Wisconsin area athletics. Without them, many kids would not have had a chance to learn and compete.
Only one very brief line was written about the dean of Wisconsin sportscasters, Bob Lloyd. He epitomizes small-town broadcasters with his classic play-by-play of local events. He has done more for Fox River Valley sports than any other single person in the area, and he should be applauded.
Thanks for letting America in on my wonderful hometown. You made me remember this old high school cheer: A-P-P again, L-E-T-O-N. Appleton, Appleton, Yay!
In the article on Appleton native Rocky Bleier, Rick Telander mentioned that Bleier gets $5,000 for a speaking engagement. Four years ago I was able to enlist Rocky's services for an assembly at our school. I was told by his secretary that he would speak to the students for a nominal fee of $150 because we couldn't afford the regular price.
He talked to our sixth-graders for one hour about doing your best, doing well in school, setting your goals and going after them. When it was time for me to pay him he said, "Forget it—no charge." I have always remembered that, especially in this age of money-hungry athletes, some of whom wouldn't even sign an autograph for free, let alone take an hour from a busy schedule.
As a teacher, I know how impressionable our young people can be. I am pleased to see an article of this type for a change. Bleier may not have been the greatest football player in the world, but I will always remember him for what he did, and for being one of the few "good guys" left.
Thank you for a delightful report on Appleton. I take exception, however, to the statement in the account of the Fox Cities Amateur Golf Tournament that J.P. Hayes "is still the biggest name in Wisconsin golf since Bobby Brue...." Hayes beat Steve Stricker of Edgerton this year for the Wisconsin amateur golf title, but last year it was Stricker who beat Hayes. In addition, Stricker, as a freshman at the University of Illinois, was Big Ten comedalist, qualified for the NCAA Championship and this past summer was medalist in the prestigious Western Junior Golf Tournament in Durham, N.C. I submit that Stricker is at least as big a name in Wisconsin golf as Hayes.
DALE E. POPE
After reading Rick Telander's piece (Go Downpitch And Buttonhook Smartly, Mate, Aug. 11) on the Bears-Cowboys exhibition game in London, I imagined I was watching Super Bowl XXXIII from Wembley Stadium as the London Broils, under head coach William (the Refrigerator) Perry, were taking on Moscow Dynamo for the NFL championship. The Soviets had made the Super Bowl after slipping past a game but outmanned Brussels Sprouts squad, whose hopes were dashed by some highly questionable officiating by a Bulgarian referee. Tell me: It was all just a bad dream, wasn't it?
North Haven, Conn.
Your coverage of the "Jolly Good Show" was great, but before the NFL expands internationally and the London Rippers take on the Tokyo Kamikazes, I think the Bears should be playing teams in cities like Oakland, Baltimore and Phoenix, to name a few.
A FAR CRY FROM $1.32 BILLION
I was very disappointed by the outcome of the USFL's antitrust suit against the NFL (The Award Was Only Token, Aug. 11). The award of only one dollar in damages was an unjust blow. Now we do not have a choice as we did in the past with the All America Football Conference, the AFL and the WFL. It was the AFL that gave rise to the Super Bowl. Like the three-point shot in basketball (an ABA legacy), the AFL's contributions improved the game. The NFL is a monopoly, and it's time the government broke it up!
DOUGLAS C. BUFFONE
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
In your May 19 SCORECARD, you noted this item from the AP wire: "A federal court jury will be asked to determine the future of professional football in America when the USFL's $1.32 [sic] antitrust suit against the NFL goes to trial next week."
Did the AP know something we didn't?
Your article on the trial was interesting but failed to recognize its fundamental message: The USFL brought about its own demise by not producing a product that the American public wanted to buy.
It is inconceivable that, if viewers had wanted to watch USFL football in large enough numbers, a TV network would not have jumped in with both feet.
Just because the USFL took a poor concept and made it worse by paying too much for "talent" and shifting its season to the fall, head-on with the NFL, is no reason to blame the NFL. The NFL is a monopoly because the public dictates that it be a monopoly, not because the NFL legislated it.
The public made its decision on the USFL long ago, and the courts have only now reaffirmed what a good decision it was.
FOR SPORT'S SAKE
I was surprised and pleased to see an article about the World Lacrosse Championships in your Aug. 4 issue (Of Brew And Bonhomie). As Bob Kravitz so aptly points out, the lacrosse following in the U.S. is small but rabid.
An ex-football player, I was introduced to lacrosse in college, as an alternative to what I had found to be an increasingly tainted sport. At times, I was a little frustrated by the meager following our lacrosse games attracted, but I have lately come to appreciate the close-knit lacrosse crowds. "Unsullied" is a good way to describe lacrosse here. It has not yet fallen prey to media overkill, college dollar politics, drug scandals and the like. It's a fast-paced, exciting game in which some good athletes can get together, share a few beers and continue to keep alive the fires of childhood athletic dreams. I hope it stays that way. (Maybe I shouldn't have written this letter.)
Cocaptain Stanford Lacrosse Team
My special thanks go to Kravitz for noting that lacrosse is "among the last of the unsullied amateur sports, one that retains many of those old-fashioned notions of fairness, friendship, and competition for competition's sake." It is refreshing to know that some sports are still played for the sake of the sport. TED MOON
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Once again Frank Deford has written an outstanding story combining sport and social comment. His account of Martina Navratilova's return to Czechoslovakia (Yes, You Can Go Home Again, Aug. 4) brought out her courage and warmth. It also emphasized the suppressed atmosphere of the Communist countries and made me think how lucky we are to have the freedom and liberty we often take for granted.
With all the media coverage of Martina Navratilova's return to her homeland, it was your Frank Deford who made us truly share this triumph with her. Politics and nationalities aside, her warm reception proves that people everywhere will acclaim the courage, gifts and humanity of a champion.
New York City
Your Aug. 4 issue was quite a study in humanity. The successful return of Martina and the adoration of her by her former countrymen; the travails of Leni Riefenstahl, who apparently would love to record only the beauty of life; and the troubles of a disturbed Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd—all made me use up half a box of tissues. Fortunately, the victory of Greg LeMond and the happiness of Ray Knight and Nancy Lopez dried things out a bit. Great issue!
Paw Paw, W.Va.
Frank Deford's story on Leni Riefenstahl (The Ghost Of Berlin, Aug. 4) was a delight, as is everything he touches. I would quibble, however, with his reference to Riefenstahl's prominence at the 1936 Olympics: "She was, in some respects, a greater presence than Hitler himself...."
As I recall, Hitler was the commanding presence at the Opening Ceremonies, when he led the Olympic officials onto the field, and his appearances during the track and field events evoked perfectly orchestrated ovations and the cadenced cries of "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" from the tens of thousands of Nazi faithful, their arms extended in salute. Hitler was himself a media event, and regardless of his possible boredom at what went on below, he was well aware of his central role in the spectacle and acted accordingly.
I know whereof I speak. I had a choice seat in the press section above Hitler. What I could not know was that only a few years later I would be joining millions of other Americans in fighting Hitler's war machine, or that my twin brother would be a wartime casualty. I did know that Hitler was a "presence" at the Games, above and beyond any other individual.
ROY D. CRAFT
The Skamania County Pioneer
It seems a shame that while reporting that Greg LeMond was the "first American victor" in the Tour de France (An American Takes Paris, Aug. 4), national TV and magazine writers, and even Denver broadcasters and newspaper writers, ignored the fact that in 1984 another American, Marianne Martin, won the inaugural women's Tour de France, a 24-day, 633-mile race.
Martin, a graduate of the University of Colorado, was born in Fenton, Mich., and now resides in Boulder, Colo. I think she should receive acclaim as the first American winner of a Tour de France—not to overshadow the great victory of LeMond, but simply to set the record straight.
Appletonian Lisa Jerrett takes a mean cut.
Martin with '84 Tour winner Laurent Fignon.
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