In your article The Cold Cold Heart of Hockey (Jan. 25) you mentioned that Norm Ullman of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays for a loser. This seems to be a very hasty conclusion considering the fact that, since Dec. 9, the Leafs have been the hottest club in the entire National Hockey League.
Despite this small criticism, I compliment Tony Triolo on his photographs.
The Maple Leafs are presently entrenched in fourth place and seem assured of a playoff position with their young and rising team. To us fans the Leafs are never losers!
Your Feb. 8 issue contained interesting stories on English steeplechasing and Scottish boxer Ken Buchanan. While the LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER reviewed the achievements of Hugh Mcllvanney, the British sportswriter who did the Buchanan piece, nothing was said of John Lawrence who wrote the short article that accompanied the photo essay on steeplechasing (Down to Earth in Britain).
Describing "the rider's life" is easy for Mr. Lawrence, for in addition to writing and announcing, he is one of England's finest amateur jump riders. He is one of the jockeys who enjoys the "matchless thrill" of clearing one fence and sailing on to the next.
I enjoyed the story, having seen a number of steeplechase races in England last year, including the Grand National. In writing of the falls that are so much a part of steeplechasing, however, he might have included the fact that though there were 28 entries in the 1970 Grand National, only seven horses—and jockeys—completed the race.
BLACK IS BEST (CONT.)
Supplementing Martin Kane's fine article (An Assessment of "Black Is Best," Jan. 18), I would like to point out that fencing is a nonprofessional sport in which black athletes have, in recent years, attained prominence. This is largely due to the fine coaching of J. R. Moss, the world's only black fencing master, at Malcolm X High School, Philadelphia. (There was an earlier black fencing master in France a century ago.) His fencers have won six national junior championships since 1966, and several of his graduates are currently among the nation's finest collegiate fencers. A 21-year-old graduate, Tyrone Simmons, now at the University of Detroit, placed second in the 1970 national foil championships. More will be heard from Moss' students.
These athletes, plus four other black fencers on the University of Detroit team, have succeeded mainly for reasons cited in Mr. Kane's article. And their success in this intricate, high-speed sport completely discredits the archaic image of the quick but unintelligent black athlete.
RICHARD J. PERRY
University of Detroit