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.