I applaud the entertaining perspective of Ahmad Rashad on life in and out of the NFL. I would also like to apologize to Rashad for thinking him less worthy of respect when he became a Moslem. I must admit to falling prey to the negative publicity referred to in the article. I found his experiences and outlook very refreshing and I'd like to thank him for reminding me not to be so quick to form opinions on things I know very little about. If the strike doesn't stop Rashad, Charley Taylor's receiving record is surely within his reach, although I get the feeling that Ahmad will be just fine no matter how things turn out.
RANDY L. JONES
Morgantown, W. Va.
Ahmad Rashad and Frank Deford gave a first-rate insight into professional football. Of particular interest to me was Rashad's humorous depiction of the difficulty our Sunday afternoon gladiators have in bringing a play from the coach on the sideline to the quarterback in the huddle. Rashad's narration paints this amusing foible in such an inoffensive way that I'm certain the humor was appreciated by fans and players alike. Pin a note to your jersey, guys?
Jack McCallum gave us a very fine article on the world's greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe (The Regilding of a Legend, Oct. 25), and he was right when he said, "Carlisle and Thorpe, Thorpe and Carlisle—you can't think of one without the other." Being a native of Carlisle, I'm sure most people still feel proud of Thorpe, and honored that he put the Carlisle Indian School on the map through his athletic accomplishments. So if the people of Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk), Pa. really don't care about the greatest athlete the world has ever seen, even now that his Olympic medals have at last been restored, Thorpe's body should be taken back to Oklahoma or to Carlisle where his soul will finally be at rest.
Jim Thorpe deserves all of this newfound recognition, and then some, but it's sad that our society waited 30 years after he died to show appreciation for his feats. It's also unfortunate that many choose to remember Thorpe as a drunken Indian rather than as the greatest athlete in the world. However, there is a small town in Ohio where the people celebrate Thorpe's accomplishments each summer. The Oorang Bang, a festival in La Rue, Ohio, features a six-mile Jim Thorpe memorial road race, and his memory will live on there forever. Perhaps that's where his spirit roams—it's certainly welcome there.
Jack McCallum noted that Jim Thorpe "died after a third heart attack in his house trailer...." There is quite a story about that house trailer. Late in Thorpe's life, when he was down and out, the organizers of the Sportsman's Show in Boston hired him to talk sports with the fans. Ted Williams was also in that show, teaching fishermen how to fly-cast. Ted and Jim became warm friends that week, and when they parted at the end of the show, Ted shook hands with Jim. When Thorpe withdrew his hand, he discovered some papers in it giving him ownership of a trailer home and a Cadillac to pull it. Jim died in the trailer home that Williams had given him.
PAUL C. DALRYMPLE
?According to Williams, the story that he gave a trailer and car to Thorpe, which "sprang up" some time ago, isn't true. "But nobody respected or admired Thorpe any more than I did," says Williams. "I met him at two Sportsman's Shows and, boy, he was something!" Nor was Thorpe down and out at the time of his death. Robert Wheeler, Thorpe's biographer, says, " Thorpe died in a beautiful trailer park in Lomita, Calif., and probably purchased his mobile home with money—$500 here and there—that he made from speaking engagements."—ED.
TOO MUCH RUNNING?
I just read the account in your Oct. 18 FACES IN THE CROWD of 9-year-old Danny Mueller, who ran a 3:19:50 marathon and then followed it by running an average of 23.5 miles a day for 23 days. In my opinion, this is not just bad, it's insane. Please don't print reports of such happenings. They only invite egocentric adults to exploit their children to "go one better."
ARTHUR C. CONRO
Narragansett Regional High School
LOVE BOAT RUNNER-UP
In the article Here She Is, the True Love Boat (Sept. 20) by William Oscar Johnson about the Sunfish and the 1982 world championship, there was a picture captioned "Fries lost to Kostecki by just .3 of a point, the narrowest margin ever in world competition." However, the picture printed wasn't of me but of Don Bergman of Chicago.
It was a hardship for me to fail to win the world championship by such a slim margin. By printing the wrong picture, SI didn't make the loss any easier. I hope you'll set the record straight.
DERRICK R. FRIES