Frank Deford's piece on "El Chubbo" ( Mrs. Billie Jean King! May 19) obviously required "no sweat." His facts are most definitely "where it's at," with no engaging in any "party pooping" for him. The article was an application of the "way-to-hustle" theory and certainly doesn't "tick me off." In fact, "dear hearts," it's really "tight city." If you have read the article, you will understand how there is "no way" the "vibes" about this lady could be more "right on." As Mr. Deford's reward for this "truly beautiful" sketch of Mrs. King, I will simply say that I'm convinced "I've just got to love it." Thanks.
Please include my name among the 85,712 "honeys" who have been suckled with a "poison pen." At first, Frank Deford makes a laudable case, propounding that Billie Jean King is "the most significant athlete of this century." But later he characterizes her as "the little woman" and "this broad."
Talk about conditioned reflexes! Even Pavlov's dogs would be howling.
You forgot to mention that Mrs. Billie Jean King also has the best of both worlds. Or does she have a Selective Service number, too?
SAMUEL A. NIGRO, M.D.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Why, oh, why, does Australia (and a few other countries) produce exceedingly fine tennis players who are ladies and gentlemen, while we of the United States produce such distasteful champions as Billie Jean King and Jimmy Connors?
EDITH LANG BLAKE
The lofty place in the annals of sport assigned to Mrs. Billie Jean King by Frank Deford, although certain to spark controversy, is nevertheless legitimate. Any numerical ranking of significant athletes may be debatable, but the presence of Mrs. King in the top ranks cannot be questioned.
Since I first read about her more than 15 years ago, I have followed Billie Jean from her early court triumphs through her growing effect on tennis—indeed, on society. As is the case with most individuals who dominate the news, she reaps both plaudits and venom from the public and sportswriters. She is, perhaps, an eccentric, but in the very best sense. It is largely because of Billie Jean King that young females across the country are actively involved in sports as never before. For that, if for nothing else, she deserves unmitigated praise.
DEVON J. METZGER
Billie Jean King has done an immeasurable service (pardon the pun) for tennis, women's sports and people in general. The article and Mrs. King are right on, way out and truly beautiful.
I remember Billie Jean's passion to play artistically. A pudgy 14- or 15-year-old girl named Moffitt came to the Eastern Pennsylvania Championships at Haverford, Pa. Her partner in a mixed-doubles match was Donald Dell, a seasoned Davis Cup player. The match started badly for Billie Jean. Her complaints were long and loud, but this rudeness was directed at herself and nobody else. In about the third or fourth game it was her turn to serve, and suddenly things got a lot better. "It's about time," she shouted. With the score 30-love, she put her first serve in and followed it to the net. When a lob came back, she smashed the ball and it hit the chalk and bounced over the backstop—a brilliant shot.
At this point she clammed up and then stomped, lips compressed, back to the baseline. Aside from a gasp from the crowd there was a dead silence, until Dell, who had been left a mere spectator at the net, was heard to mutter, "Why don't you play better, Billie Jean?"
Bryn Mawr, Pa.