In regard to your article on the NCAA basketball championships (Nothing Could Be Finer, April 1), it was extremely kind of Curry Kirkpatrick to mention that the Marquette Warriors were present in Greensboro, N.C. We are very sorry that our team defeated Kansas in the "B class division," forcing 42 million people to suffer through a "sick joke" of a championship.
As for our expiring subscriptions to " Bill Walton Illustrated," big deal. See you next year in San Diego, Curry.
MICHAEL T. MEYERS
BARRY M. ORIENTE
I wish to congratulate Curry Kirkpatrick on his fine article on the NCAA tournament. He undoubtedly will be criticized for not devoting more space to the finals, but in fact the championship was decided the previous Saturday. I would also like to thank Bill Walton, David Thompson & Co. for an outstanding season and one of the best-played championship games ever.
WILLIAM H. WHITE
North Carolina State certainly is to be congratulated for defeating UCLA and Marquette en route to the NCAA title. However, I feel the Wolfpack's victory points out a vital flaw in the college game—the absence of a 30-second clock. N.C. State, the most talented and surely the most explosive team in the tournament, twice resorted to stalling tactics, which predictably caused it to blow leads.
From a spectator's point of view, the stall is enjoyable only when it is employed by one's own outclassed team at home. The 30-second clock is needed. When David Thompson el al. were forced to play UCLA, the excitement of college basketball was unleashed.
New York City
I object to the cavalier treatment Dan Levin gives the game of rugby in his article on the Monterey ( Calif.) National Rugby Tournament (Bloody Go in Monterey
, April 1). When played well, within proper legal limits and by skilled, experienced players, rugby is not the brutal, ragged, chaotic and disorganized mayhem Levin's description makes it out to be. Rather, it is a disciplined yet spontaneous exercise of strength, speed, agility and endurance, played under a tight and complex set of laws and an even tighter unwritten code of ethics.
To emphasize the brutal or chaotic aspects of rugby as it is played in the U.S. is to give your wide readership an entirely erroneous impression of what the sport, when played on a high standard, is all about; and this kind of unfavorable publicity, in turn, tends to hinder the development of the sport in America. Indeed, rugby as most Americans play it is not really rugby at all but rather some kind of game about halfway between rugby and football, and as such it would not be tolerated by a proficient non-American rugby referee conscientiously enforcing the laws of the game.
There is a vast educational effort under way in U.S. rugby circles, the thrust of which is to attempt to teach players and referees real rugby and to unteach them American football. Only when our best footballers have made a complete conversion can we hope to put together a side capable of a creditable performance against a national all-star team from a rugby-playing country. The task is difficult enough without Dan Levin providing an additional obstacle by tacitly legitimizing the insufferable crudeness of the American version of the game.
ROBERT S. SEGELBAUM
New York Rugby Football Club
New York City
You emphasized size and weight a lot. Agreed, size and weight have much to do with the game, but smaller people can also play rugby; some of the best rugby players are not human battering rams. Jeff Sevy's comment that rugby is "a great social sport" is quite true, and I hope that it always will be so, since this is what gives rugby the spice and conviviality that are missing from so many other sports.
You also commented on the American football style of tackling. I believe that many, if not all, rugby players will agree that tackling a player American football style is not the healthiest thing to do, but tackling the rugby way enables one to stay fit and as unbroken as possible.
ELLIOT I. STOKES