Come on, SI, wake up! The Whalers make hockey history by winning the first WHA championship, and you treat it as if it were a grudge match between two water buffalo. In the name of thousands of disappointed New Englanders, I protest.
Kezar Falls, Maine
A DIFFERENT GAME
While watching our U.S. college basketball stars play the U.S.S.R. aggregation, I began to wonder why the American team must be subjected to such dirty tactics under the international rules of the game. Why must our players have to resort to such a crude and demeaning style? It seems to me that since basketball is an American invention and since it was introduced to the other nations of the world by Americans, the rules of the game, primarily the ones by which our collegiate game is now governed, should be as we set forth, not as they are interpreted by some international committee.
Let the foreign teams raise their level of competition to our standard, instead of making our teams lower their style of play to accommodate the brutish and roughhewn manner in which most foreign teams operate.
ALLEN E. HEAD
After seeing the U.S.-U.S.S.R. basketball games, I nominate Willie Lanier, Dick Butkus, Tommy Nobis, Alan Page and Merlin Olsen to play in the next Russian encounter. Mike Curtis would be a great sixth man and Alex Karras could coach. Frankly, international basketball brings the finesse and subtlety of an Attila to the game. Given the same circumstances, George Foreman would cover up in the corners and Derek Sanderson would turn to field hockey.
PHILIP G. DECKER II
Those of us who watched the U.S.-U.S.S.R. basketball confrontation on May 7 witnessed a classic illustration of what the dunk shot can do for the game. The crowd was on the edge of its seats watching the passing, dribbling and shooting of Ernie DiGregorio, but what really brought the fans to their feet were the successive dunks of Marvin Barnes and Swen Nater. The dunk is the most thrilling play in basketball. It detracts neither from the excitement and skills of the good little man nor from the beauty of the floating jump shot. Put the dunk back into college ball. Give us back the biggest play.
JOHN A. E. HUBBELL
I was very pleased to see your article on shotputter Al Feuerbach (The Magnificent Obsession, April 30). It shows that not all world-famous athletes are in sport for the money. Al even drives a 1964 car. It seems that Feuerbach is one of a new breed of athletes. He has long hair and a mustache, but he isn't out to knock the Establishment.
Your article on Al Feuerbach was stimulating. I, too, see a new type of athlete emerging—one who sees his life as an art and builds his very existence accordingly.
My girlfriend of four years thought the article was interesting, also. So interesting, in fact, that she dumped me because she thought both Al and I were more concerned with our "unique style of life" than with anything or anyone else.
Somehow, that "magnificent obsession" (that is, obsession with self) does not seem quite so magnificent to me any longer.
We greatly enjoyed Frank Deford's article about Joe Garagiola, baseball-player-turned-celebrity (It's Not the Game, April 9). We especially liked the comparison made between Garagiola and Harry Chiti, baseball-player-turned-obscurity. Being trivia buffs as well as baseball fans, we naturally have adopted Harry Chiti as our idol and have dedicated ourselves to obtaining for Harry the recognition that such a charismatic .238 hitter truly deserves. The culmination of this worship occurred last Nov. 16, when the four of us traveled in a one-car Citizens for Chiti Motorcade from Urbana to Kincaid, Ill., Harry's birthplace, for the Harry Chiti 40th birthday celebration. The fact that Harry had evidently moved from Kincaid at a tender age and was only vaguely remembered by two elderly gentlemen did not deter our ceremonies, and we continued with a speech on the steps of the high school to a massed throng of zero. It is heartening that we now have Frank Deford and SI as allies in our Harry Chiti crusade.