Frank Deford and especially Major Pete Dawkins are to be commended for their work in setting an example for emulation by others.
JOSEPH L. LUVARA
In your article concerning Peter Dawkins, I'm afraid Pete comes off a lot better than Frank Deford. Being a recent ex-serviceman myself, I found Major Dawkins' comments on the past few years to be excellently expressed. I'm afraid that I can't say the same for Mr. Deford. The only fault I can find with what is otherwise an excellent article is Mr. Deford's constant overgeneralization concerning a) the late 1950s, b) military brass hats, c) the public "mind" concerning the military Establishment and d) the whole syndrome of the athletic hero. I think the author would have done well to study Major Dawkins' comments as well as quote them. It could be said of Deford that he is one of those who does not want to believe that his stereotype is wrong.
Many people in the state of Michigan were proud of all Peter Dawkins accomplished when he attended West Point. It is wonderful to see that he has continued to grow both as a military man and as a person.
I am a captain in the U.S. Army. I entered and graduated from West Point in the 1960s. To say, "The U.S. Military Academy is largely inhabited by young men who have not been moved by events of the 1960s" is to further distort the military stereotype of which Major Dawkins spoke.
Your sports coverage and analysis are highly accurate and literate. You would be well advised to confine your comments to the arena of sport, where your expertise is considerable, rather than dabbling in an analysis of the military in the '60s, where you display a marked ignorance.
MICHAEL P. PETERS
Fort Benning, Ga.
Frank Deford, in his article on Pete Dawkins, quotes Major Josiah Bunting, Dawkins' "close friend who is a novelist and a history professor at West Point." May I point out that Si Bunting, First Captain of the Corps at the Virginia Military Institute, captain of the swimming team, first-ranking English major and Rhodes scholar, is hardly less than Dawkins an exemplar of the "Joe Renaissance" tradition.
WILLARD M. HAYS
Associate Professor of History
Virginia Military Institute
Bravo for your tasteful article on the England- Ireland rugby game (A Rare Wearin' of the Green, Feb. 21). It was indeed written in the spirit of the competition it describes and is a testimony to the harmony rugby creates every time the game is played.
Congratulations must certainly go to the author, Dan Levin, who showed particular expertise in going to the heart of the matter in search of quotable items. In a fitting testimony to sport in general and rugby in particular, one speaker was quoted as saying, "Today's game is a great indication of what sport has to offer the world, that our friendship can break any barriers. Any fellow who goes through life without experiencing the comradeship that sport can offer is a poor man indeed." To a rugby man the truth of that statement is self-evident. But to any man, whether sportsman or bystander, the final quote is universal in its meaning. It is indeed "too bad politics can't be played the same way."
ANTHONY W. SCOTT
CORE OF THE GAME
During high school and college I played and coached a great deal of basketball and developed what I thought was a full understanding of and a deep love for the game. But Walter Iooss Jr.'s poignant pictures (The Dawn of the Possible Dream, Feb. 21) and the simple supporting words so crystallized the very core of the game that I became suddenly aware of how much more basketball had given me than I had ever appreciated.
HERBERT B. SHANNON
Your Feb. 7 article on Jerry West was great; identification was the key word there. But your article and pictures on schoolyard basketball are stupendous. Beauty is the key word here. Thanks for giving every kid in America another chance to hit that buzzer shot.
Scotch Plains, N.J.