I realize that I'm probably only the 14,773rd reader to spot this incongruity!
HAROLD H. PLAUT
Thanks to Bruce Newman for his excellent profile of Soviet �migr� basketball star Max Blank (From Russia with Love, April 30). In the next four years I expect to read about Max leading George Washington University to the kind of prominence enjoyed by its D.C. neighbor, Georgetown, and, with luck, see his name where Patrick Ewing's was this year, in a story on the 1988 Olympic basketball trials. But even if Max doesn't reach these heights, he's already a true All-America.
Hurrah for Bruce Newman's movable Jewish feast. Hurrah for Dostoyevskian families like the Blanks, with their triumphs and tragedies, their Marta the bear, Margot the magician, Cossacks, lilacs in Fontana Street and their escape to a better life. Hurrah for Max and his glorious future, his "Jew Jew" White and "suntanned" sidekick Curtis Reed. The kid's certainly American, to the max. A great motion picture is waiting to be born from Newman's epic. Mazel tov to all concerned! And to those who remain behind, we're rooting for your freedom day and night.
It's about time someone listed the faults of the North American Soccer League (The NASL: It's Alive but on Death Row, May 7). With owners who haven't even heard of FIFA, it's no wonder the NASL is eroding away. For the information of Carl Berg, owner of the Golden Bay Earthquakes, Liverpool, one of the greatest teams in the world at present, plays with great skill and excitement. How dare a man like Berg, who had never cared to see a soccer game before 1982, malign such a team?
FIFA should never let the NASL fool with the rules. If 150 countries can play under FIFA's rules, why can't the NASL? The league wouldn't be "gurgling down the tubes" if North America were shown real soccer!
By distinguishing all that is exciting and beautiful in soccer from all that is not in its American professional incarnation, Clive Gammon has performed an invaluable service. The future of soccer in the U.S. lies not with the NASL and its peculiar brand of crass commercialism, but with "the army of young soccer players" currently enjoying the game.
JEFFREY J. ANDERSON
New Haven, Conn.
I was dismayed by the article by Clive Gammon, which purports to explain the many reasons for the near demise of the NASL. Gammon is another of the closed-minded "experts" who put the blame on everything from the players to the owners to artificial turf. What they can't admit is the simple fact that outdoor soccer fails in the U.S. because it's boring. While the NASL plods along with talk of "world sport," the Major Indoor Soccer League has spruced up the staid European game and made it fun to watch. We Americans shouldn't be ashamed of our preference for excitement. Our heritage is one of innovation.
St. Charles, Mo.
The SPORTS R article by Larry McLaren on knee braces, which ran in select editions of your March 26 issue, was misleading.
First, there are no quick sports medicine fixes, especially for ailing knees. Selecting and fitting the proper knee brace is just not as simple as SI would have it.
Second, McLaren's assessment of our Lenox Hill Derotation brace was based on the incomplete data published in the September-October 1983 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study to which he referred reported test results of braces that, for the most part, were not made by the Lenox Hill Brace Shop, but by the U.S. Air Force Orthopedic Shop.