EVEL ON EVILS
Re your comments about me in SCORECARD ("Rated PG," April 29), your readers should be informed that for eight long years I have traveled this country, trying to do all that is possible with youth concerning motor safety, the wearing of helmets, the use of seat belts, etc. I have always tried to discourage everyone, and especially youngsters—including my own—from taking unnecessary chances, not because taking a chance is something society may think is dangerous but simply because the person or child may not be capable of handling the circumstances. I further have stated that I do not perform a wheelie or a jump without a helmet and that no one ever should.
Throughout my career I also have spoken against drinking, smoking and narcotics. I have never performed anywhere in this country where I have not spoken out to all in attendance—children and adults, each and every one—against the dangers of these three things.
I took off my black leather jacket and replaced it with a white one. I have fought to destroy the outlaw image of motorcycling in every way I could.
We agree with Dan Jenkins that Sam Adams (A Bogey! Play It Again, Sam, May 6) is having a tough time making a living on the PGA tour. But Sam is no loser. We were locker-room attendants at the 1973 Quad-Cities Open and had an opportunity to meet many of the pro golfers on the tour. Some were very cordial—Dave Stockton and Tom Watson, to name two—but nobody was any nicer to us than Adams. He was very gracious and good-natured and always had time to talk to us, even on the last day when the tournament pressure was on him. Although Sam might not win a million dollars on the tour, he certainly is going to win friends wherever he goes.
Y'S AND WHEREFORES
Jerry Kirshenbaum is to be congratulated on his fine grasp of the grass-roots feel of the National YMCA Swimming and Diving Championships in Fort Lauderdale (High, Y and Then Some, May 6). Having done that job so well it is too bad he didn't feel secure enough as a literary sophisticate to resist the temptation to disassociate himself from Middle America by coating his article with a layer of cynical condescension.
Downgrading the Y Nationals because the competition was not up to the AAU Nationals makes about as much sense as downgrading the local high school football team because Notre Dame would clobber it. (Or didn't Jerry know that AAU Nationals include all the top college swimmers while YMCA Nationals specifically exclude college swimmers?) His statement that YMCAs don't produce superstars doesn't jibe too well with his later statement that Mark Spitz started out with the Sacramento Y. And when Kirshenbaum says the records broken "were merely YMCA records" should we then sneer at the latest high school scoring champs because the records are only high school records?
My compliments to William Johnson and Nancy Williamson on their article about the All American Red Heads (All Red, So Help Them Henna, May 6). Having seen them play in person I can testify to the basketball talent they all possess. They played before a packed crowd of 1,300 in our wood-ceilinged high school gym. That was the most people our gym had held in a long time. Although our local all-stars beat them, I was impressed with the fantastic ability the Red Heads showed. I also enjoyed the comic routines. They are fine basketball players, and we felt lucky to have them in our town.
More important, however, the Red Heads carry with them the true meaning of basketball. They play for the love of the game, not for huge salaries. Also, they play to entertain people and to help other groups, as they did our school band. It is only because of groups like this that sport remains what it was meant to be.
South Fulton, Tenn.
If happiness is a rigorous seven-month schedule that calls for 60,000 miles of driving, quickie meat-loaf dinners, an average salary of about $30 a game and Christmas in Joplin, Mo., then utter despair must be playing for the New York Knicks.
Somebody should take the blinders off those girls.