Apparently Jerry Kirshenbaum (Good Times by the Cut-ups, June 28) missed some great performances while covering the U.S. Swimming Trials in Long Beach. While reporting that the American women "looked as if they were in shock" in the wake of the East German Trials, he neglected to even mention some notable occurrences—like an American record in the 200 back by Maryanne Graham and another American record in the 200 fly by 1972 gold medalist Karen Thornton.
No one is going to argue that the East Germans are anything short of awesome, and unquestionably Shirley Babashoff is the class of the American squad, but the rest of the U.S. team deserved better than Kirshenbaum's account.
I enjoyed your article about the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials (Marching on Montreal, July 5), but you failed to mention one occurrence that took more guts and determination than anything I've seen in a long time. In the 10,000-meter run, a race of more than six miles, Garry Bjorklund lost his left shoe during the race and had to run the rest of the way wearing only one shoe. At the end, Garry gallantly kicked past Bill Rodgers to finish in third place and win a spot on the Olympic team.
Your article failed to mention one high-schooler on the U.S. track and field team. She is 16-year-old Rhonda Brady of Calumet Township High School ( Gary, Ind.) in the women's 100-meter hurdles. Her winning time was under the American record but was not allowed, as she was helped by an excessive following wind. Rhonda is the youngest member of the 1976 squad. She has been running strong all season, and with the rest of the "unknowns" who have made the 1976 squad, the track and field competition will be right at world-record pace. Keep her name in mind.
William Johnson's article ( Bronx Boy Makes Good, July 5) was every bit as realistic as its subject, Steve Kelly. The true spirit of amateurism as practiced by Kelly and countless other athletes illuminates the value of Olympic competition. Obviously, nationalism, glory and money don't drive these superb athletes, which in these days is a refreshing change. I might even pay money to watch Steve Kelly perform, something I refuse to do for a bunch of $100,000 crybabies and their lawyers, agents and egos.
STEVEN J. SMITH
In today's world of greedy athletes, including ex-Olympians, Steve Kelly is certainly one of a kind. Even if he is not one of the best paddlers in the world, I feel that he is one of the best men in sports today. Congratulations to him for being what a man and an amateur athlete should be.
ROBERT W. LONARDO
Much to my delight, pro basketball will once again be played by only one league. And the NBA-ABA merger (One Last Hurrah in Hyannis, June 28) could be the panacea for the pro game's ills. An effective de-escalation of the player salary war may now be achieved. Part-time guards may cease to earn more than corporate executives. More important, the merger allows Dr. J to set up practice on national television.
In your listing of former ABA franchises, you overlooked the Texas Chaparrals. Dallas renamed itself one year and played some home games in Fort Worth and Lubbock. The experiment ended on a cold January night in Fort Worth when only 500 fans (including my father and me) showed up to watch John Brisker score 42 points and lead the Pittsburgh Condors to a narrow win. After that the Chaps moved all their games back to Dallas, but I still have my Texas Chaparral pennant, and my memories of Manny Leaks' leaky defense.
BRUCE G. HOPKINS
After reading in SCORECARD (June 28) of the business motives behind the rescheduling of Indiana U's home football games, as well as of the low percentage of pro football players completing their college educations, I've a suggestion to make. Why not remove the myth of collegiate athletics as strictly sport and allow those athletes being trained for the professional ranks to move about freely among those schools which offer them the best chance to achieve their ambitions? Just to maintain some of the aura of the educational environment, though, the headlines announcing an interschool football trade could, for example, read, "State U trades hard-running history major to City Tech for malcontented mathback."
Carlos Monzon again showed his mettle by toying with the fine Rodrigo Valdes (There Was a Fight in Monaco, July 5). Nearing the end of his remarkable career, Monzon surely should be acclaimed the greatest active fighter, Ali not excepted.