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Original Issue


It is gratifying to read about Joe Namath and learn how his life
has evolved into that of a real family man.


When Joe Namath was busy jet-setting in the late 1960s and early
'70s, I was a young fan in awe of my hero (Off Broadway Joe,
July 14). Now, at 34, recently married and looking forward to
starting a family, I am once again in awe. We can't all be Hall
of Fame quarterbacks, but we can strive to be model husbands,
fathers and citizens. Nearly 20 years after his retirement from
football, Namath is still living every American boy's dream. He
remains an inspiration to a generation.

As a soldier working at a military hospital in Japan and a
Baltimore Colts fan, I couldn't wait for Namath's USO visit to
the sick and wounded after Super Bowl III. I was ready to tell
him what I thought about him and his New York Jets. When we were
introduced, Namath looked at me with that irresistible smile and
said he had heard that I was a big Johnny Unitas fan and that he
was also. We talked for a while, and I realized that this was
one class act, not the egomaniac I had read about. Although I
still haven't framed his autographed picture, with the
inscription TO BILL, JETS 16, COLTS 7, HA HA, I still cherish
the day he took time to speak not only with me but also with the
BILL SLEMMER, Cascade, Md.


No one should be surprised by your report that some hotly
recruited high school athletes may have cheated on their college
admissions tests (Troubling Questions, July 7). The NCAA works
hard to convince us that requiring high school athletes to get a
minimum SAT or ACT score will help clean up intercollegiate
sports and end the exploitation of minority athletes. But as
long as this multibillion-dollar athletic enterprise is hitched
to the back of our higher education system, setting testing
standards will not end the corruption.
CHARLES ROONEY, Cambridge, Mass.

We need either to downplay college sports by ending athletic
scholarships or to call them what they really are, farm systems
for the pros. If we choose the former, we will return to the era
of the true student-athlete. The number of high school seniors
opting to bypass college to enter the pros will increase, but at
least the moral questions will have been resolved. In the second
scenario we hire players to represent colleges without regard to
academics. The players would be pros at a minor league level who
represent colleges instead of communities.
ROBERT J. KING, North Massapequa, N.Y.


Randy Johnson of the Mariners is awesome, but has he really
outpitched Lefty Grove and Sandy Koufax (An Armful, July 7)?
Grove and Koufax had to bat and run the bases. Between innings
neither one watched "the game on television while lying on his
back on a table" or "lay on a blanket of towels on the floor of
the runway between the dugout and the clubhouse until it was
time to pitch again." If the American League still played
baseball and Johnson didn't have the luxury of resting his back
between every inning, would his record be as glittering as it is?


I have mixed feelings about your SCORECARD item on cricket (July
7). It was nice to see SI introduce a sport that is probably
unfamiliar to 99% of its readers, but your description makes
cricket seem like a game played by unathletic, unskilled men
compared with those who play rounders (baseball). In cricket the
ball is heavier than a baseball and the fielders do not have
gloves to soften the blow of a line drive off the bat. The
bowler can throw the ball at 90 mph or more, just as fast as a
major league pitcher can. Plus, the batsman must hit the ball
off a bounce. As for players' taking a break for lunch and tea
during a test match, is that worse than chewing tobacco and
downing Gatorade?

COLOR PHOTO: ADRIAN MURRELL/ALLSPORT With its bare-handed fielders and one-hop pitches, cricket is no cup of tea. [Three men playing cricket]