THE LEGACY OF JOE DELANEY
Having had the privilege of being a teammate of Joe Delaney's (Sometimes the Good Die Young, Nov. 7) at Northwestern State University, I have many fond memories of him and his ever-present smile and good humor. It did not surprise me that Delaney risked his own life to try to save three young boys from drowning, because he was always an unselfish person. His death was a tragic accident that deeply saddened many of us, but my memories of Joe are very dear and plentiful. Frank Deford's superb article brought tears to my eyes but also joy to my heart with the knowledge that Joe had touched the hearts of so many other people. There were two kinds of people in Delaney's life: those who loved him and those who had to defend against his awesome athletic ability on the football field.
Little Rock, Ark.
Frank Deford's heartwarming story of Joe Delaney left me with mixed emotions. I didn't know whether to feel happiness that in this day and age someone who seemingly had everything to live for would risk his life to save the lives of others, or a pang of remorse—not because football lost one of its top-quality players, but because the world lost such a fine example of a man. Faced with Delaney's choice, not many of us, including myself, would have made the same courageous, unselfish decision.
Thank you for Frank Deford's moving article on Joe Delaney. It's too bad so many of us failed to appreciate Delaney until he died. As Deford points out, there was much to admire him for. Unfortunately, this letter comes from someone who became a Joe D. fan only on June 29, 1983, the day this heroic man drowned trying to save the lives of three boys.
During the past year we've seen many "great" athletes prove themselves to be anything but great by their conduct off the field. Many examples of this kind of athlete can be cited, but very few athletes can be classified as truly great. Joe Delaney displayed exceptional athletic ability on the football field as the leading rusher for the Kansas City Chiefs, and he exemplified the qualities of a true hero when he died last summer in an attempt to save three drowning boys. In Delaney we saw what we like to see in a professional athlete: a caring man with exceptional talent who used that ability as best he could. I nominate him for Sportsman of the Year.
Joe Delaney is unquestionably my candidate for Sportsman of the Year.
Is there a better writer in America than Frank Deford? Is there a guy a man would rather have a drink with? Or invite to his bachelor party? Or his sister's wedding? Or buy a cigar for on the day his daughter is born?
I don't know Deford, and he may be a regular s.o.b., but if he ever dries up, or thinks life is too much, or has nothing left to say, I will hunt him down and make him pick up pen and paper again. Deford is a reason to read.
New York City
THE GAMECOCKS' VICTORY
SI has been kind to name two members of the University of South Carolina football team as Players of the Week this year, but please don't take a victory away from the Gamecocks. There were 69,400 spectators in attendance at South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium on Oct. 29, and they will tell you that the score was 31-17 in favor of the Gamecocks, not North Carolina State as you reported (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, NOV. 7). All loyal Gamecock fans who read SI would very much appreciate a "We were wrong."
?We were wrong.—ED.
BUGS BAER'S WORDS
In response to reader Jerry Utter's letter (19TH HOLE, NOV. 7), I believe the observation, "He had larceny in his heart, but his feet were honest," correctly belongs to Arthur (Bugs) Baer, not Red Smith as Utter said.
BOB (BERNIE) BERNHARDT
St. Petersburg, Fla.