SUGAR RAY'S RETIREMENT
Many thanks for that great cover shot of Sugar Ray Leonard (Nov. 15), which, unfortunately, will probably be his last. What a fitting tribute to the best welterweight boxer of this century.
A straightforward account of why the champ retired (I Just Don't Want to Fight Anymore, Nov. 15) is exactly what his fans wanted. After reading his story as told to Pat Putnam, I'm convinced Leonard did the right thing.
MICHAEL A. MADSEN
I never understood why Sugar Ray Leonard was voted SI's 1981 Sportsman of the Year—that is, I didn't understand until now. Thanks to Leonard and Pat Putnam for showing us the meaning of the word champion.
DUNCAN ARMSTRONG JR.
One can't help but admire Sugar Ray Leonard for deciding to retire from boxing despite the monetary temptations. But in determining his place in boxing history, one also can't forget that he never had rematches with his major challengers, such as Wilfred Benitez and Thomas Hearns, and never seemed all that anxious to fight Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello or Marvin Hagler. The great champions of the past beat up everybody in their divisions, gave the challengers a second chance and beat them again.
JUNIOR TENNIS LESSONS (CONT.)
I'm 10, and my dad suggested that I read the article on kids' tennis (The Glitter Has Gone, Nov. 8). This is what I think. Some kids have more desire than others. Desire comes from inside. You can't push kids. If you push us and we don't want it, we deteriorate because we lose our desire and will. Let us push, or not push, ourselves. If I say. "Push me to my limits." then push me. But the desire has to come from me. Let kids pace themselves.
If our parents get angry and put us down when we lose, we get scared of losing. If we lose, tell us what we did wrong, but don't forget to talk about what we did right. No kid purposely plays lousy. We're doing the best we can.
Maybe the parents once had a dream and it didn't happen, so they want their kid to fulfill it. But kids have dreams, too. Their own dreams. Maybe if the parents and coaches were happier and more satisfied with their own lives they wouldn't need their kids to win for them. Winning should be a high—not a necessity.
My son, who plays at the national level, is one of the vast majority of the 90,000 or so junior tennis players who have found the sport a rewarding, character-building experience.
Your article was a discredit to the kids, families and people who make the junior tennis program what it is in America. Contrary to your article, the people who are involved with this program are the epitome of sportsmanship. The most damaging comments of all were the ones concerning the pressures of being a winner. If you think that striving to win has its pressure, take a look at the pressures of mediocrity.
Lori Kosten, good luck to you on your comeback—and don't quit!