Frank Deford's article on the Thunderbirds ( America the Beautiful's Team, Aug. 3) was outstanding. At the Air Force Academy's graduation in May, the Thunderbirds "screamed" over the stadium in perfect formation just as the graduates threw their hats in the air. It is a sight I will never forget.
Deford has outdone himself. I could have read 12 more pages. Everyone should see the Thunderbirds perform at least once in his lifetime.
I wish you had run more of Joe McNally's photographs of the "hardest thing I've ever had to do with a camera."
I enjoyed the article, but the rather unflattering remarks about the Navy's Blue Angels bothered me. Having seen both perform, I would give the best rating to the Blues, not only for their performance but also for a routine that all naval aviators (not just pilots) perform. It is called night carrier landing!
After following Vinny Testaverde's career at the University of Miami, I have no doubt that his transition to NFL quarterback on Florida's other coast will be smooth (Vinny's Ship Has Come In, Aug. 3). With Vinny's rifle and the new leadership of Ray Perkins, the Bucs may once again regain respectability in the league.
But if Perkins can gain a first down on a third-and-five from his opponents' four-yard line, as Phil Simms mentioned in his hypothetical pregame talk with Perkins, the Bucs will regain respect, but the NFL may have to remeasure its fields!
Your story about Testaverde was an embarrassing look at a young athlete with more money than sense. Is it the role of your publication to let people know in what kind of and how expensive a boat Testaverde cruises Florida waters? Or to fill them in on his recent appearance at a Beach Boys concert? We want to read about the sports side of Testaverde, not the playboy-about-town side. When Vin takes the field, let us know.
ROBERT O. SELF
Grants Pass, Ore.
Kudos to Boris Becker and the West German Davis Cup team's victory for both the score and their sportsmanship (Yankee Flameout in Hartford, Aug. 3). Bring back Randy Gregson, former U.S. Tennis Association president, and relegate "McEnbrat" and his boorish disdain for sportsmanship to the pits. Winning without honor is shallow victory.
JAMES R. ROGERS
Huntington Beach, Calif.
John McEnroe's behavior toward Eric Jelen was appalling. It was a pleasure to watch tennis when he was on a break.
To be patriotic is one thing, but to be rude, insulting and unsportsmanlike is something that the U.S. Tennis Association should not tolerate.
River Forest, Ill.