I've just finished Frank Deford's play about Nolan Richardson (Got To Do Some Coachin', March 7). In 19 years as a subscriber, I've never been so moved. I am an Arkansas alumnus and avid Razorback fan, and I was one of those who questioned Coach Richardson's ability during his first two seasons, never fully realizing the extent of his ordeal. Deford's masterpiece has given all of us a new insight into the character of a very special man.
Please save me a front-row seat for opening night of Deford's first Broadway play. His initial effort as a playwright is remarkable. The strength and courage of Nolan Richardson, his wife, Rose, and their daughter, Yvonne, were brilliantly evoked.
DAVID H. SIMON
Close to a decade ago, I was fortunate to witness the sowing of a seed that would produce a bountiful harvest. I was an undergraduate hockey player at Illinois, where skating conditions were far from ideal. Ice time was scarce, practices were held late at night and an old cooling system made the ice very soft. As I walked out of the locker room after practice, I often would see a slight speed skater circling the darkened rink, reeling off lap after lap. Her dedication seemed remarkable, especially because the first time I saw her she couldn't have been more than 12 or 13. Her devotion gave me more than a small amount of inspiration. Congratulations to you, Bonnie Blair (The Mettle to Medal, March 7). You really earned that gold medal.
DAVID R. INMAN
EDDIE & CO.
SI was right in commending Olympic officials who attempted to discourage Great Britain's Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards from going off the 90-meter ski jump (SCORECARD, Feb. 29). His lack of experience and ability warranted concern. Yet it is not right to denigrate the heart and determination of Edwards and athletes like him by calling them "joke competitors."
ROSS A. MUSCATO
The Olympics are always an odd mixture of skill, luck, grace and grit. Eddie and the Jamaican bobsledders may have been short on the first three counts, but their grit will serve to inspire underdogs everywhere to reach a little deeper and to go a little farther.
Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
I enjoyed Gary Smith's PERSPECTIVE (Feb. 15) on former boxing champion Beau Jack. As an ophthalmology resident at the Miami Veterans Hospital in 1982, I had the privilege of helping care for this gentleman. I clearly remember his saying that he felt his greatest accomplishment had been to raise millions of dollars in war bonds during World War II by boxing at Madison Square Garden.
CHRISTOPHER F. BLODI, M.D.
The article on Beau Jack was perfect. I smelled the gym, felt the pain and tasted the tears, Beau's and mine. What a tribute to the everlasting struggle to preserve human dignity.
PAUL J. MORRISON JR.
The converted gasoline storage tank in Holyoke, Mass., that Beau Jack fought in was called the Valley Arena. Heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano had his first professional fight at the arena, where he knocked out Lee Epperson in the third round. Willie Pep, another great champ, also fought at the Valley Arena many times.
Thank you for a wonderful look at the Winter Olympics. I particularly enjoyed E.M. Swift's article, A Magical Twosome (Feb. 29), about Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, the winners of the gold medal in pairs figure skating. They were, as U.S. pairs coach Ron Ludington said, "head over heels over the rest of them." But please tell us what music Gordeeva and Grinkov skated to. And how about another picture of Ekaterina?
North Wales, Pa.
?Here's one more look at Gordeeva and Grinkov in the Olympic finals. They skated to the "March of the Toreadors" from Bizet's opera Carmen in the short program and to a medley of works by Mendelssohn and Chopin in the long program.—ED.