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Original Issue


After reading Dave Scheiber's article about Mary Pierce (Too Much, Too Young, May 7), I was appalled by Jim Pierce's arrogance toward the U.S. Tennis Association.

In his impatience to make his daughter another Jennifer Capriati, Pierce has denied his family a stable home, jeopardized his children's education and alienated many in the tennis community. On top of that, his treatment of Mary is deplorable. No 15-year-old should be put through such verbal abuse by her father.

Capriati has been tutored by some of the finest players and coaches in tennis, which is one reason why she's ranked 25th in the world and Mary Pierce is only 186th. Unless Jim Pierce realizes this and provides his daughter similar tutelage, Mary will burn out before she ever becomes a star.
Raleigh, N.C.

I used to think that the worst story of a childhood lost to a parent was that of USC quarterback Todd Marinovich. He had to give up many of the pleasures of his youth to his father's obsession with having a son in the NFL. But now I know an even worse story: Mary Pierce's. She has had to give up her entire childhood to come through for her father.

What kind of a father would deny not only his daughter but also his wife and son the opportunity for a real life?

In a way, I am glad that Mary has not had great success. Maybe that will keep other parents from following her father's example.

William F. Reed's column on racehorses' names (POINT AFTER, May 7) brought back memories. Some names are indeed horrible. I knew a horse owner who deliberately chose bad names "to discourage hunch players from betting on my horses." Among his prizes were Ugly Mary and Losing Clod. He tipped his hat to a friend who thought of Bug Juice.

As Reed notes, there have been some good names. My favorite: Native Dancer, who was by Polynesian out of Geisha. And a salute to the owners who wanted the name Seven No Trump. It wasn't accepted, so they settled for Spectacular Bid. The rest is history.
Wyoming, Ohio

Reed completely misses the point. We have been in the business of breeding American Saddlebreds for more than 25 years and we give much thought to every name, as I am sure all horse breeders do. In 1979 our stallion Boola-Boola—not to be confused with the thoroughbred of the same name mentioned derisively by Reed—won the Five-Gaited Stallion Division of the World Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair. The reason for the name? Many members of our family have graduated from Yale.

As for his suggestion that names on a julep glass should be noble—hmmmm. What about Vagrant (1876), Fonso (1880), Joe Cotton (1885), Whiskery (1927), Burgoo King (1932) and Hoop, Jr. (1945)? Horses' names have a personal meaning to the owner, and that is more important than whether or not Reed likes them.
Simpsonville, Ky.

Glove Story (May 7) brought back bittersweet memories of my first glove, a Whitey Ford signature model, which I used from Little League through Babe Ruth League. My teammates acquired newer, larger gloves, but I kept my Whitey Ford.

When I made my junior high team as a shortstop, my glove became the source of some amusement. Once, as we were taking the field, a coach said to me, "You know, Whitey Ford was a lefty." I stopped in my tracks and looked down at my right-handed glove. He was right. Whitey Ford was a lefty. What did he know about right-handed gloves? And he was a pitcher! I got rid of that glove.
Kensington, Md.

Steve Wulf's POINT AFTER (April 16) is right on the mark. Athletes do have an obligation to give to those who make the players wealthy. The Montreal Expos understand that.

In the summer of 1988, my son Dana, then 12 years old, was warmly received at Olympic Stadium by virtually the entire Montreal team. Dana got to shake hands and make small talk with Graig Nettles, Tim Raines, Andres Galarraga, Tim Wallach and many other Expos. We have a photo album of pictures of famous athletes taking time out to share a few moments with a kid from Connecticut. In fact, we joked with the players that Dana was maybe the only Expo fan in Connecticut.

Dana didn't want any of this made public because it would draw attention to his leukemia. All he wanted was to be a normal kid, and he was that even after his disease was diagnosed in 1983.

Dana loved the Expos, as do we for their kindness. He died on April 3, 1990. The Expos helped make his short life a happier one. They know the obligations of fame.
Middletown, Conn.



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