SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
March 30, 1981
GIVING BOXING A JOLTSir:I'm glad you're finally telling your readers what two-bit, money-grubbing, unprofessional clowns the WBC and WBA really are (Special Report: Time to Clean Up Boxing Again, March 16 et seq.). But showing how these organizations work isn't automatically going to improve boxing. That won't happen until a completely new system of administering boxing replaces the current one. It should require boxers to systematically fight their way to the top and, when they reach the pinnacle, to box the fighters directly behind them. Then we would no longer have to witness mismatches in championship bouts, and deserving fighters would no longer have to watch from the ringside seats, � la Thomas Hearns.
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March 30, 1981

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Thus, "Come on, Baby" has evolved into "Hum Babe," and probably it will eventually work out to "Hoo Bay."
Kinnelon, N.J.

"Hum Babe" is a contraction of the words "Come on, Babe," and it eventually gets to just "Babe."

The chatter for telling the pitcher to throw the baseball fast is "Fire it by him, Babe," which becomes "Fah Babe."

Your SCORECARD discussion of "Faces that emerge from the crowd" (March 16) simply doesn't ring true. There's a difference between a child's accomplishments in competition against his peers and his accomplishments when competing against some absolute standard. Nancy Lopez mastering a golf course at the age of 12, or an 11-year-old bowling a perfect game, or a 14-year-old getting a remarkable time in distance running or swimming is noteworthy. True, even those achievements may be the result of some unnecessary adult pressure, but they are achievements nonetheless. Twelve-goal games and 83-goal seasons, on the other hand, are at least to some extent a measure of the quality of the competition against which the records were achieved.

I'm happy to read that 6-year-old soccer player Matt Garrett is learning sportsmanship along with his goal-scoring, but that doesn't justify his appearance in FACES IN THE CROWD. If you want to protect the egos of the young winners who appear in FACES and the young losers who put them there, don't publicize them at all. If the winners are as good as they seem, their time for public recognition will come.
West Hartford, Conn.

Speaking from the perspective of disabled persons, we were deeply touched by the tragic story of Kenny Wright (Kenny, Dying Young, March 9). We are student-athletes attending Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn. and members of the school's wheelchair basketball team. The majority of us, upon deciding to further our education at the college level, were relatively unaware of athletic programs available to disabled individuals. But now at SSU we have been exposed to the opportunity to compete in sports such as basketball, softball, football, swimming, archery, track and field and others. On Feb. 27 we hosted the Fifth National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, and we can now proudly boast of being the 1981 national champions.

This letter should not be viewed as a cheap plug for SSU but as a very sincere plug for life. It saddens us to think of all the Kenny Wrights who have been misled into believing they can no longer function athletically and socially after they have become disabled. It also saddens us to see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reinforce these absurd societal beliefs.
Southwest State University
Marshall, Minn.

Frank Deford used the gradual disposal of Kenny Wright's scuba-diving equipment to symbolize his final acknowledgment of life's pleasures lost. Ironically, people with the same injury level as Kenny are scuba diving today. One swimmer I know of, who is also a C-7 quadriplegic, brought himself out of devastating depression through competitive swimming. He needs no flotation devices and receives great satisfaction from the sweat and hard drive required for national competition. Those who have suffered from spinal-cord injuries don't need to sit back and worry about what they can't do. There are plenty of challenges for them.
Physical Therapist
Glen Ellyn, Ill.

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