The basic answer to the "problem" of officiating doesn't lie in berating or baiting officials. The answer lies in the simple understanding and acceptance of the fact that officials are human and make mistakes. These mistakes are just as much a part of a game as the much more numerous mistakes of players and coaches. A simple comparison of the number of a team's turnovers, missed assignments, poor coaching decisions, etc. with the number of poor calls by officials will clearly demonstrate that the effect of officials' mistakes on the won-lost column is very small.
Hyde Park, N.Y.
Your bridge quiz (Only One Way to Get There, Dec. 25-Jan. 1) was superb! Years ago you had many bridge articles. I hope the millions of bridge players will get more chances to test their brains in the future.
In regard to your article on Canadian sports mogul Harold Ballard (A Tongue on the Loose, Dec. 11), I was serving a sentence in Millhaven Institution's maximum security prison when Ballard arrived at Millhaven's minimum security camp, now called the Bath Institution, to begin serving his sentence.
The two prisons are completely separate from each other, and there is no contact between inmates. So when Ballard received that furlough to attend the signing of Darryl Sittler's contract and shot his big mouth off to the media about how good the food was at Mill-haven and that it was "more like a motel than a penal institution," he was talking about the minimum security camp and not Millhaven Maximum, as everyone was quick to believe.
I have no doubt that Ballard was very popular among the inmates at Bath Institution, but any popularity he had with those of us in the main joint was quickly lost when it was splashed across the country that we were living a life of ease and had steak regularly.
To Ballard's credit, when he was later released on parole and interviewed by the media, he pointed out that he had been talking about the minimum camp.
New Westminster, British Columbia
I would love to invite Harold Ballard to taste some of the meals we eat here in the Millhaven maximum security prison. And no inmate receives passes at Christmas time or at any other time.
We have read many articles about Ballard, and he keeps mentioning that he was in this prison. Possibly he wants his fans to think he is hard-core, but to us he is just a pussycat, like his football team.
Chairman Prisoner Committee
*�1915 by Edwin Arlington Robinson, renewed 1943 by Ruth Nivison—used by permission of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.