SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
May 17, 1982
AILING SPORTSSir:Did you plan it that way, or was it coincidence that four reports in the May 3 issue demonstrated what is wrong with professional sports today?
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May 17, 1982

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Yes, amateurism may be dead at the Boston Marathon, and the race's future will probably be shaped more in law offices and boardrooms than on the road from Hopkinton, Mass. But on a recent flawless spring afternoon thousands of marathon fans were treated to an uplifting spectacle and, if only temporarily, forgot the squabbles over money and commercialism while witnessing the purest level of sporting excellence.
Derry, N.H.

I have just finished reading your article on the alphabet-soup chaos that is professional tennis (Overloaded With Circuit Breakers, May 3). I grew up in the game, was ranked sectionally and nationally, played for UCLA and was on the pro circuit (1972-76). I have never lost interest in the friends and acquaintances I made, and I haven't forgotten the national and international rankings and prize money I earned. But after reading the overwhelmingly damning facts presented in your article about the sleazy goings-on in the sport of late, I was left with a feeling of devastation.

Where is the joy of tennis? What happened to all the champions who gave so much back to the game that nurtured them and gave them educations and allowed them to see so much of the world and paid them so well? Where is that 110% commitment to each match that often made even early-round victories life and death struggles?

I'm not naive. I know that tennis is a big-bucks business now. And I would be the last person in the world to begrudge anyone a substantial profit—even a huge profit—for providing world-caliber entertainment. But tennis cannot survive today's irresponsible "take the money and run" philosophy. Can't the players and agents and federations and promoters see they're killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

As a participant and a fan, I don't want to witness the funeral of professional tennis. But I can already hear death rattles.
Pasadena, Calif.

This letter is in reference to your SCORECARD item "Left in the Starting Blocks" (April 19) about the Waverly ( Ohio) High basketball team that started a game against Athens High trailing by 7-0 because the wrong uniform numbers for Waverly's starters had been entered in the official scorebook. As a result, five technical fouls were assessed. Athens made all five of the free throws and then scored a field goal on the ensuing in-bounds play.

A similar thing happened in the 1971 district round of the Wisconsin high school basketball tournament, when Wild Rose High played Tri-County High of Plainfield. Wild Rose Coach Jim Erdman wrote down 11 of 12 numbers incorrectly. Consequently, Tri-Countv shot 11 free throws, making seven, and then scored upon putting the ball in play. Tri-County thus led 9-0 before Wild Rose even touched the ball. But unlike Waverly, which went on to lose 72-49, Wild Rose came back to win 72-49.

Here in Wild Rose we're still trying to figure out why one number was entered correctly and hoping that we own a world record.
Wild Rose, Wis.

?In his own defense, Erdman, now principal of Wild Rose, says that his team had gotten new uniforms two days before the tournament began and the jersey numbers—with one exception—had all been changed. Erdman also questions the officials' interpretation of the rule in his case. He maintains that technical fouls should have been assessed only against his five misnumbered starters, with additional free throws meted out to the opposition as incorrectly entered substitutes got into the game. Then again, Erdman recalls that he used all 12 players, so the result might well have been the same.—ED.

It is a fallacy to believe that no one remembers the name of Paul Revere's horse, as suggested in a letter from Landon Manning in your March 29 issue. There was a humorous, yet excellent, article on the subject in the April 1973 issue of Smithsonian by Richard W. O'Donnell. He stated that the mare Revere rode was owned by Samuel Larkin and that its name was Brown Beauty. O'Donnell quoted the official genealogy of the Larkin family as follows: "The mare was loaned at the request of Samuel's son, Deacon John Larkin, and never returned to her owner."

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