THE FINAL FOUR
Congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick on a most enjoyable article (Memories, March 31) about past Final Fours. His recollections support my contention that the NCAA basketball tournament is the best sporting event of all. Now that this year's college season is over, I will enjoy the NBA championship series, the World Series and the Super Bowl. But deep down I will be waiting for March 1987, when the truly greatest show on earth starts up again, in New Orleans, and another chapter of memories can be written.
Basketball has contributed so much enjoyment to my life. And the writers who tell of the game have added immeasurably to the impact. Of the many scribes who come to my mind, your Curry Kirkpatrick stands out as the unquestioned dean. What a trip down memory lane!
In reading Kirkpatrick's fine article about Final Four memories, I had to suppress a scream of dismay at the drawing of Wilt Chamberlain. Heaven forbid, you had the great University of Kansas star wearing (gasp!) purple! Horrors!
As any KU fan will tell you, that ghastly color is worn by another team in our fine state—archrival Kansas State (Silo Tech). Chamberlain wore the regal colors, crimson and blue.
SARAH A. DUCKERS
WOMAN OF ACTION
As a female judo player who has been in the sport for 22 years—and who remembers only too well having to dress in a broom closet—I applaud Gary Smith for his article on Rusty Kanokogi (Rumbling With Rusty, March 24). At last Rusty has been given the recognition she deserves for getting women's judo out of the closet and into the 1988 Olympics, even if only as a demonstration sport.
Twenty-two years ago, women judo players were not taken seriously by anybody—and there were no official competitions for women because of that fact. But today, because of the tremendous efforts of this beautiful "classic maniac," women in judo can look forward to competing in national, international and world class competition.
Rusty had the tremendous energy, drive and narrow sense of purpose that it took to get us where we are now. Her achievements will endure, while those who opposed her will simply fade away.
Second-degree Black Belt
I have been one of those fortunate enough to take a self-defense/judo class from Rusty Kanokogi. I can testify to her importance as a role model for women's judo and women's sports in general. I can also testify to the qualities she instills in those of us in her classes: a sense of our own possibilities, strength, will and confidence.
With her wonderful sense of humor, her gift as a storyteller and her seemingly endless supply of encouragement, Rusty gave courage even to the timid among us. She is not only a fighter, and a woman ahead of her time, but also that rare person who can impart her gifts to others.
New York City
While attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I had Ryohei Kanokogi as an instructor in a self-defense class. Some native New Yorkers shared that class, and they always said, "If you think Kanokogi is tough, you should see his wife!" Now I know what they were talking about.
MAUREEN A. MCKEEVER