SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
March 05, 1984
VERSCHOTH'S PICKS Sir:I want to congratulate Anita Verschoth on the fine job she did with her Olympic Medal Forecast (Feb. 6). Unlike William Oscar Johnson and many other Americans who had high hopes for as many as 17 medals for the U.S., Verschoth accurately predicted eight medals for our Olympic team. In fact, she came very close to predicting the exact medal count and standings for every medal-winning country in the Games.
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March 05, 1984

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Unfortunately, I was too young to appreciate Butch van Breda Kolff's coaching technique in the NBA. But I have to admire a man who kept Wilt Chamberlain benched in possibly the biggest game of his coaching career.

Fantastic job by William Nack.
Michigan City, Ind.

I really enjoyed the article on Butch van Breda Kolff. Can you imagine him coaching some of today's NBA crybabies?
Pepperell, Mass.

I enjoyed William Nack's piece on Butch van Breda Kolff. I was also pleased to see that the up-and-coming sport of "deck toss" has finally been given the national attention it deserves, thanks to the photo on page 67 of the article showing Butch's MVP trophy from the "VBK Family Reunion Deck Toss Championship" of June 1982. However, as my photograph (below) shows, VBK is not the only championship-caliber deck tosser in the country. I am the reigning Eastern Regional champion and mighty proud of it. I therefore propose that VBK and I have a toss-off, at his convenience, of course, to determine the world champion.
Eldersburg, Md.

•For the uninitiated, the game of deck toss, a van Breda Kolff family invention ("It started at my house on the Jersey shore," says Butch), consists of chucking empty beer cans—soda cans are discouraged but allowed—from a high sun deck down into three or four trash cans lined up in the backyard at varying distances from the deck. Points are awarded according to which receptacle one hits—a point for the closest, two for the next closest, etc.—with trees or other obstacles all in play. Anyone who finishes a drink during a round gets an extra toss. In the version reader Conners plays (he learned the game from Butch's daughter Karen and her husband, Arthur Young, of Baltimore), there are 10 rounds in each game, with the loser of each round delegated to fetch the empties for the succeeding round.—ED.

The great VBK laments his inability to motivate students in his world history classes. Let's look at their teacher: flunked out of one college twice, majored in physical education in another during the 1940s, "never taught school before" and "merely reads one or two days ahead of his students" to get ready for class. Who needs to be motivated? Good basketball coach? Maybe. Good teacher? No.
Park Forest, Ill.

The great shot of Johnny Mathis at the Crosby (The Bumper Pool Crosby, Feb. 13) made us feel Wonderful, Wonderful, but the caption, "Chances Are Mathis won't make another ace," is Not for You to Say. In fact, Johnny's ace on the 15th at the Crosby was preceded by another hole in one last July 10, on the 17th at the Seaview Country Club in Absecon, N.J. And Chances Are he'll do it again long before the Twelfth of Never, which will make us all Misty!
Public Relations Consultant to Johnny Mathis
Los Angeles

As a staunch Buckeye, I found the fraternization and partnership at the Crosby of Jack Nicklaus, formerly of Ohio State, and Gerald Ford, formerly of Michigan and pictured wearing a scarlet-and-gray sweater, no less, revolting!
Frederick, Md.

Jim Kaplan's article about Joe Sobek (SIDELINE, Feb. 13) gave due credit to the inventor of racquetball. Your readers might be interested to know, however, that the University of Connecticut's Historical Manuscripts and Archives contains not only Sobek's blueprint for the first racquet, but also four linear feet of correspondence detailing the growth and rules development of the sport. We also have an original racquet and ball.

Anyone interested in exploring the history of racquetball is welcome to write for further information or an appointment.
University Archivist
University of Connecticut
Storrs, Conn.

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