As a member of the Beijing University basketball team during the 1986-87 season, I particularly enjoyed your examination of the development of sports in China (Aug. 15). I agree with William Oscar Johnson (The Image Has Altered) that the concept of Friendship First, Competition Second is often given only lip service in today's China. However, it would be wrong to assume that the Chinese have adopted a Win At Any Cost philosophy. Respect for officials, coaches and players is deeply ingrained in all of the athletes I had the privilege of competing with. The attitudes and styles of, for example, Billy Martin, Bobby Knight and the devotees of "basebrawl" are as foreign to Chinese athletes as dragon-boat races are to Americans.
JOHN D. McCARTHY
To have Frank Deford, E.M. Swift, Sarah Ballard and Rick Reilly, among others, in one issue was to have the best reading material imaginable. The only suggestion I would have is that in 10 years these same writers again travel to China to report on the changes. Presumably, they will find many.
The story (Here No One Is Spared) about six-year-old gymnast Zhang Liyin made me feel ill. To inflict such drastic and potentially dangerous punishment on a child for the sake of sport is going much too far. I admire her talent and obviously vibrant personality. I just pray they don't break her back in the process of training her to be a top athlete.
Last year I attended two women's college basketball games during a tournament at Shanghai University of Science and Technology, where my parents were teaching for the summer. Although the game was very sloppy and the fans seemed not to fully understand the sport, the players showed much more effort and enthusiasm than most American collegiate players I have seen. I believe this is the main reason the Chinese will become an athletic power: They are very, very hard workers.
Please show us a picture of the "tiny" world-record-setting (115-pound class) weightlifter, He Zhuoqiang, described by Ron Fimrite in POINT AFTER.
?Here he is (below), indulging in some table tennis in a park in Shilong.—ED.
As an Expo fan, I remember when Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Jeff Rear-don were part of the Montreal organization. I also remember when Dawson was allowed to leave as a free agent and when Carter and Reardon were traded. I can only hope that the Expos' management will not make the same mistake with Andres Galarraga (Cat's Meow in Montreal, Aug. 8).
East Providence, R.I.
I'm confused. In Hank Hersch's article we are told that Expo fat cat Andres Galarraga is "powerful and agile, reliable on defense," and that defensively he "handles first base with aplomb." Furthermore, "He has good range on hard ground balls."
Apparently, the author meant to say that Galarraga handles first base with aplomb for a klutz. A scant 14 pages after these plaudits were heaped upon Le Grand Chat, we learn that Galarraga has earned the dubious distinction of being named to SI's All-Klutz Team (INSIDE BASEBALL, Aug. 8). It left me wondering: Who's on first—the Klutz or the All-Star?
San Bernardino, Calif.
Your characterizaton of the players who lead in errors at each position as an All-Klutz team was too harsh. It's a squad that includes past and, no doubt, future All-Stars and MVPs. It's a team that could lead the league in errors—and win the World Series.