I was delighted to read Rick Telander's story about his tryout with the Chicago Blitz of the new U.S. Football League (A Final Farewell to Football, Feb. 28), and I was glad to learn that the new league is taking football seriously. The USFL is just what I need to keep up my boycott of the NFL after its ridiculous strike. I know a lot of people have forgiven the players for their midseason walkout, but I can't.
RANDY J. ROSS
Rick Telander's description of his experience with the Chicago Blitz was absorbing. If the USFL can hold my interest the way Telander's article did, it will be a success.
Rick Telander's fine piece left me as sad as he apparently was about leaving the Blitz training camp. To cheer him up I made this drawing [below]. As you look at it, imagine that Telander did make the team and that he survived a long season all the way to the USFL championship game against the Philadelphia Stars. With the score 17-17 and time running out, Quarterback Chuck Fusina of the Stars lofts a long sideline pass intended for Scott Fitzkee. Telander, playing a deep zone from his safety position, races over and makes a leaping, fingertip interception. Then after juggling the ball, he dodges three tacklers and lunges past a sprawling Fusina to score the winning touchdown.
Every time Telander writes a piece for SI, he scores a winning touchdown.
Rick Telander's excellent portrayal of his training camp fiasco with the Chicago Blitz showed that the USFL has a long way to go to compete with the NFL. Most of the USFL clubs seem disorganized, which is what one might expect when as many as 340 players are signed by one team. But what I find appalling is the recruiting of convicts by George Allen. Are these the role models we want our youngsters looking up to?
Although the recent signing of the magnificent Herschel Walker by the New Jersey Generals will help the new league greatly, the USFL's demise is imminent. Americans love quality pro football but will not receive it from the upstart league. I'm an NFL fan and will be watching baseball instead of semipro football until the real season begins in September. Go, Redskins!
BLOUNT'S BALL GAME
When I first heard about the Chicago Cubbies' camp for middle-aged kids (We All Had a Ball, Feb. 21), I fantasized the greatest scam of my life: I would have SPORTS ILLUSTRATED send me there to cover it for all the expatriate Cubs fans around the country still faithfully awaiting the second coming of the pennant. After all, I had kept the torch burning since the halcyon days of Bill Nicholson and was qualified.
Well, you sent the right man in Roy Blount. I was there vicariously through his words and Carl Iwasaki's photographs. Thanks to them, I and a million other overlooked big league prospects got that second chance we know we deserved. Too bad the '69 Cubbies didn't get one too.
Department of Physical Education
California State University, Fullerton
Many thanks to Roy Blount for recounting the most memorable week of my life. From an early November workout at Wrigley Field to diving for grounders in the Arizona sun to coming home to see myself on national TV on the VCR to finally seeing my picture in your magazine, which I've read since my first childhood, the whole experience was strictly fantasyland.
And I wasn't the only one so enchanted. Blount told me during an intersquad game, after he threw out Randy Hundley from third and I threw out Glenn Beckert from short, that "playing ball is easy. I don't know how I'm ever going to write this story." He was so involved with the camaraderie and the game itself that I never saw him take a note, much less conduct an interview. Many of the campers went the whole week without knowing that Roy was covering the event for SI.