Hurrah for your fine feature on the finest sport in the world—hurling—and boo to you, too, for the "bloody" pictures you picked to illustrate it (The Gentle Irish, Aug. 28). Hurling is a tough game. But in almost 30 years of watching it, I've heard of only two serious injuries.
Joseph Carroll is to be congratulated for exploring the social aspects of hurling to the point of reaching the Dublin jackeen's attitude toward his kulchi cousins and their hurling. But it is a pity you used a photograph of a Kilkenny player showing more muscle than artistry. Kilkenny men are cherished for their style in a game that values speed and skill far above weight and toughness. Topflight hurlers have to be switch hitters and able to play a ball to and from practically 360� of the compass—by hand, using the hurley, on the ground or in the air—and all in a split second, because there's always an opponent only a step away.
Hurling has more strokes than all other sports combined. It involves so many strokes that it is impossible to try to analyze or coach them. The first manual on hurling was written only a few years ago by Tony Wall, an Irish army man serving with the U.N. forces in Cyprus, who will play for Tipperary against Kilkenny in this year's All- Ireland final on Sept. 3.
It is a pity that hurling will never become widespread, even in Ireland, any more than another fine sport, lacrosse, will in America. But if Beethoven can survive with a limited audience, I suppose hurling and lacrosse can, too.
EUGENE G. DOWNEY
New York City
Your article on the Eagle-Jet game (Flaming Tempers on Wild Exhibition, Aug. 28) again reflected your total lack of acceptance of the AFL as equal to the NFL. "Perhaps the major difference between the two teams, and indeed the two leagues, is defense," you say. On Aug. 23 the great NFL Chicago defense that held the invincible Green Bay Packers to less than 20 points yielded 66 points to the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, Vince Lombardi and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, there is an AFL. Just ask George Halas.
Overland Park, Kans.
Your acknowledgment of the Denver Broncos' win over the Detroit Lions (and the first victory of the AFL over the NFL) was captioned "Paper Lions" (SCORECARD, Aug. 14) and attempted to attribute this "upset" to the Lions' overconfidence. To what do you attribute the Minnesota Vikings' 14-9 loss to the Broncos? To the high altitude or to the sunspots?
Instead of finding excuses for NFL losses, why don't you honor AFL wins? The Broncos won both games with an offense that capitalized on its opportunities and a defense that for eight quarters held the NFL opposition to one touchdown and three field goals. The time has come for you, too, to recognize that the AFL teams "have not only come to stay, they have come to play" and to give them positive credit for doing so.
PETER F. BREITENSTEIN
The bloody trouble with Derek Morgan ("I Want My Bloody Game Back," Aug. 28) is that he apparently did not bother to go see an American soccer match in the new National Professional Soccer League. He formed his impressions from the bloody telly. He's absolutely correct about the way television has fouled up the game with phony injuries and minute-long waits for goal kicks (one game this season had two goals scored while commercials were on). American fans and the press have been screaming to no avail about the same thing.
But before writing off the entire American soccer experiment, why not give it the five or so years NPSL officials say it is going to take to get the game really rolling here? Already the NPSL game is vastly superior to any soccer that has been played in the U.S. on a regularly scheduled basis. It can only get better as players from diverse points of the world learn to blend their styles of play. From the start to the end of this year's season, the improvement was constant and astonishingly noticeable.
No one's taken your game away, Mr. Morgan. We just want to share it.
LOWELL E. SUNDERLAND