For years I thought I knew a lot about sports, but Douglas S. Looney has shown me that I was all wrong (A Most Unusual Man, Sept. 4). I often praised coaches like Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson for their ability to field top-notch teams year after year. Now I realize that the greatest coach in football is Roland Ortmayer, and he has reached this pinnacle without having appeared in one bowl game or ever having popped off about the rankings. Isn't it obvious? Ort for Sportsman of the Year.
Cobleskill, N. Y.
I am a juvenile-court counselor specializing in substance abuse, and whenever I need to remember what's good with the world I head down to the University of La Verne to see Roland Ortmayer. As a football player and student at La Verne. I never skipped practice or one of Ort's football theory classes for fear of missing something. I also have kayaked with Ort and his wife, Corni, since I was 12. Every time I jump into my kayak I have to smile, because I learned from the best. Incidentally. Corni, thanks again for pulling me out of the Salt River in 1975.
Grants Pass, Ore.
I enjoyed your special report Sports and Japan (Aug. 21), but you left out a milestone in Japanese sporting history. In May the Japanese national rugby team stunned the world—or at least the rugby world—by beating the Scottish national team 28-24. Scotland is one of the world's best rugby nations.
In June I had the honor of working with the All- Japan lacrosse team at the International Friendship Games in Tokyo. Although lacrosse has been played seriously in Japan for only three years, more than a thousand university and high school students are now on teams. The International Friendship Games attracted more than 7,000 spectators to Olympic Stadium to watch the All- Japan team challenge St. Paul's School of Baltimore (St. Paul's won 9-3) and Johns Hopkins lake on Australia (Hopkins won 15-14). The fans were enthusiastic and seemed to embrace the sport.
Stony Brook, N. Y.
Any story on Japanese sports should include mention of Hironoshin (the Flying Fish) Furuhashi and Shiro Hashizume, two teenagers who stunned the swimming world in Japan's dark hours after World War II. Barred from the 1948 London Olympics because of lingering ill will following the war, they swam in a national meet held simultaneously in Japan that year; both surpassed not only the winning 1,500-meter freestyle time in London but also the world record. Their performances weren't recognized—also simply because they were Japanese.
In 1949 they came to Los Angeles and beat their own best times. On this occasion their clockings were recognized, and the Flying Fish was credited with having set the world mark. Furuhashi and Hashizume gave the Japanese psyche a big boost. I can't think of any other sports heroes who had as much of an impact on their country.
JOHN B. HOLWAY
Your brief report "Money Fuels the Honda Wonder" touched on many key factors contributing to our success in Formula One Grand Prix racing. However, I suggest that "Money Can't Buy Everything" would have been a more appropriate title. While it is true that Honda spends what is needed to get the job done (though if you divide the "reputed" figure of $100 million a year by two, you'll be closer to what Honda actually spends), we feel that our advantage comes not from our budget but from our policy of allowing our engineers to push themselves to their limits, to make suggestions without being afraid of failure and to work as a team. In McLaren International we have a partner committed to a similar philosophy.
Honda F/1 Public Relations Manager
In the short piece titled "Grandpa Would Be Pleased." Masato Mizuno of the Mizuno Corporation, maker of sporting goods, says. "We want to be able to meet every sports need.... And we want true internationalization. Those are our goals."
This statement strikes a chord of disaffection in those Americans who can't sell their goods in Japan because of Japanese trade restrictions.
Sportsmanship is a two-way street.
New York City