I enjoyed the article on Cheryl Miller, because articles on women's sports are so rare. But I continue to return with increasing emotion to the line in Roger Jackson's article that says, "She hit her 105 points last January in a 179-15 win over Norte Vista High." I don't think that it's necessary or desirable for any coach to run up such a score. I hope that Cheryl isn't proud of the fact that she was able to achieve her California Interscholastic Federation record point total against an obviously mismatched team. I also hope that girls and their coaches aren't being corrupted by scholarships and headlines to the point where they feel they need to beat another team by 164 points.
Upon receiving my Nov. 29 issue, I almost jumped for joy upon seeing the Spud Webb story (He's Bigger Than He Looks). If ever anyone deserved such coverage, it's Webb. I say that with respect because junior college basketball is relatively obscure, judging by the media coverage it receives, and because I witnessed Webb's feats at the National JC tournament in Hutchinson, Kans. last March. Words really can't describe his jumping ability; it's one of those things you have to see to believe.
Having watched many talented players as a lifelong Kansas resident and also as a UPI stringer, I can only say that Spud is the most amazing I've ever seen.
TRAGIC FIGHT (CONT.)
Your article on the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight (Then All the Joy Turned to Sorrow, Nov. 22) was factual and poignant, but it failed to address one question: Could Kim's death have been avoided?
Several rule changes are needed to make professional boxing safer. For one thing, the gloves are too small and the bouts too long. Amateur fighters regularly use 10- or 12-ounce gloves, and the three-round bouts in the Olympics are among the most exciting in the sport. So why use lighter gloves or go 15 rounds? I realize there are boxers who can win a 10-round bout who couldn't win a 15-round championship match. But there are those who can win in 15 rounds who couldn't have won in yesteryear's 40-rounders. Both Kim and Alexis Arguello (It Was a Pryor Engagement, Nov. 22) were injured after the 10th round.
An even better rule change would be to require headgear. College and military boxers are required to wear headgear in all bouts, with no loss of excitement, but I believe a study would reveal that their safety record, compared with professional boxing, is enviable. It's argued that the paying customers wouldn't like such a change, but remember that football players wore no headgear until just before the turn of the century.
The most important rule change, however, would be to require a standing eight-count, which is mandatory in college and Olympic boxing. If a boxer is shaken, the referee immediately breaks the action and gives the man a rest for eight seconds. The athlete isn't allowed to continue unless he's in condition to do so. Observers are fond of repeating that Duk Koo Kim was taken out with one punch, but Ralph Wiley's article points out that Kim was badly hurt by a Mancini right just before the knockout. If a standing eight-count rule had been in effect and if the referee had acted quickly, Kim might be alive today. Indeed, if all the rules I have suggested were in effect, I think it's highly probable that Kim would be alive.
Unfortunately, nothing will be done until there are more deaths, and then the outcry will be to ban boxing rather than to make it safer. But boxing will never be banned; it will just be driven underground, as it was 100 years ago.
Can boxing be made safer? You bet it can.
JOSEPH C. TINNEY
California Collegiate Boxing Conference
While we sympathize with Duk Koo Kim's family and friends, we urge all sports fans and writers to consider the following: How many auto racers have died from participation in their sport? Indeed, how many racing fans have died as the result of accidents that occurred while they were merely spectators? How many hunters have died in the woods and fields? How many people have died in boating accidents? How many jockeys have died from injuries incurred on racetracks?