After seeing the Georgia-Michigan game, your John Underwood must have been very sad that his favorite team, which indubitably is Michigan, failed to win (Not Just an Old Sweet Song, Oct. 11). Then to add insult to injury you made him write an article on the upset. We in Athens realize that there are other great football teams besides our own, but the Georgia Bulldogs are playing their hearts out for us this year and we're proud of them. Underwood apparently doesn't share our openhearted respect. His article is spotted with insulting remarks, like his ridiculous joke about how the Bulldogs are people who can't tie their ties or get their parts straight. As for the name of our linebacker, Jiggy Smaha, that's his business just as Michigan Coach Bump Elliott's name is his business.
What really gets me is that your publication is selling like canned sex down here. The newsstands were raided the first day SI was out, and it's still hard to find a copy. Why? It's because these people are so happy their team rated a feature article they don't care what nut you assigned to write it. They read the insults fast and the compliments slow. Funny thing about us dumb Southerners, we ain't too smart like you folks up thar on the magazine.
ERNEST T. WYATT
I realize that to some of the more illiterate members of the elite class north of the Mason-Dixon Line your article on the Georgia-Michigan game would seem to be humorous. Perhaps now, after this so-called upset, they will think twice when the Dogs hit the field.
JAMES R. WEILAND JR.
Georgia's victory over Michigan reaffirmed one fact, the Southeastern Conference is king. If Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana State, Kentucky and Mississippi State did not play each other, all six would be nationally ranked.
Re your article on "the best defender in college football" (There's No Show Biz like Nobis, Oct. 18), Tommy Nobis of Texas certainly didn't "stuff" anyone in the Arkansas game. In fact, I didn't see big No. 60 before, during or after any of the key plays throughout the entire game.
JOSEPH P. BURKE
Your statement that Nobis of Texas is "the best defender in college football" is either made naively or without the incomparable pleasure of watching defenders like Michigan State's Bubba Smith, Harold Lucas and George Webster tear up the opposition.
R. G. OANA
East Lansing, Mich.
Dan Jenkins' portrayal of Tommy Nobis was a well-written piece, handing the Texas linebacker all the plaudits due him, with one exception. Nobis may be the best lineman (since he's a standout blocker), but he couldn't possibly be the best defender of all time. There is an ornerier hombre north of the Red River. He is Linebacker Carl McAdams of Oklahoma.
Congratulations to SI and Gilbert Rogin from another beach-town housewife and mother on one of the few sensible articles on surfing and surfers ever published (An Odd Sport and an Unusual Champion, Oct. 18).
MRS. HARRY POWELL
Your article on surfing was certainly enjoyable reading. However, I am left with the impression that the article is sensationalized and does not give one a truly objective viewpoint of surfing. I am sure that I speak for many who surf only for the fun of the sport and for the recreational opportunities it allows. These people are not concerned with the manicness or the cultishness or the radicalism that may be attached to the sport by some, but merely enjoy being in the water and having a good time while there.
CHARLES L. KNOBEL
Sunset Beach, Hawaii
You have quoted two of the so-called celebrated big-wave riders on their opinion of big-wave riding. Well, I, too, am a big-wave rider, and this is my opinion of them.
Walt Hoffman says it is impossible to ride a wave over 30 feet only because he has never ridden a wave over 30 feet. Does Randy Matson take it easy and put the shot only 60 feet just because his competitors are having trouble reaching 55 feet?
As for Mr. Van Dyke's comment that "big-wave riders are scared people," he only speaks for himself. It is true that many people who ride big waves are trying to prove that they can do it, and they may be scared, but they are not true big-wave riders. Guys who get up at 5 a.m. to surf before work, or guys who spend as much as 13 or 14 hours in big surf in a single day, are not afraid of riding big waves.
Speaking as probably the most celebrated big-wave rider in the Islands, I do ride big waves for the challenge and the excitement, which can be compared to nothing else, but I mainly ride big waves for pure enjoyment. I intend to ride a 50-foot wave at Kaena Point only to prove that it can be done.
I admire Miss Joyce Hoffman's dedication to the sport of surfing, but I cannot admire her attitude toward the geographical distribution of people. We may be inland, but we're not jerks.
There is more to it than your story shows.
I sought beauty and found it in the fascinating perfection of a breaking wave.
I sought fellowship and found it in a group of surfers huddled together, outside, waiting for another wave.
I sought harmony and found it when I joined together with a curling wave.
I sought a meaning for life and found it when I ventured helplessly among the towering giant waves of Makaha. I was no match for their awesome power but, with courage and the confidence that comes from overcoming one's fear and ineptitude, I got a brief glimpse of glory.
I sought God and found Him easily there in the waves and people of surfing.
CHARLES H. QUINN
Surfing is a poor excuse for a sport, and your article was sickening.
Thank you for the wonderful article on bicycle racing (Two Days of Torture on Wheels, Oct. 4). We in Texas especially appreciate your lines about Bob Weedin, Second Lieutenant, USAF, a dedicated cyclist who always gives his best. He is the Texas road champion and finished second in the Texas track championship. In the three weeks prior to the North American championship he was involved in two bad spills and had his bike wrecked by a truck in one. He had the wheels of a new bike bent in a spill during the nationals. In the last stage of the Colorado race, after his rear tire went flat at the top of the hill coming to the finish line, he ran some five-odd miles to the beginning of the pavement and then rode off the seat (to keep his weight forward so the rear wheel would not collapse again) the rest of the way to the finish line, another five miles. Riding off the seat for this distance might be compared to running up the stairs to the top of the Empire State Building.
We in Texas are proud of our champ.
Harold Peterson twice mentions that the cyclists were stopped during the race by state troopers. It seems to me that if the police departments and state troopers would help rather than hinder events such as the North American Bicycle Championship our riders would have a much better chance to gain the experience needed for international competition. The minor sports have a hard time of it in any case, and they need all the help they can get.
A few minutes' delay of local traffic, police protection and permission to use the roads for this type of event would be one of the biggest boosts that cycling could receive. In the state of Oregon any speed contest on public roads is prohibited. This makes all of our bicycle races technically illegal. Because of these and other factors, the increase of traffic on all roads, the closing of many roads to any cycling at all, etc., the plight of the amateur bicyclist is reaching major proportions. And all this just at a time when the sport is finally catching on and we are producing riders of Olympic caliber.
The bicyclists are ready; it is up to the legislatures and the law enforcement agencies to provide the help and protection that we need.
DONALD R. CUREY
After reading your article on the San Francisco 49ers (The 49ers Get Hot, Oct. 11) I am sure you will win the humor award of the year. The statement that the 49er fan is "the best mannered, least excitable in pro football" is the funniest I have ever read.
I have attended many 49er games and have gotten the distinct impression that I was in Rome and that John Brodie was a dying gladiator. Among other things, John was booed more than I have ever seen anyone booed before. He was showered with beer cans at half time and, no matter what happened, Brodie was a "bum."
You suggest that Ken Willard of the 49ers is the best rookie pro runner. This is plain silly.
As you should know, the best is Tucker Frederickson of the Giants. As you say, after two games Willard was second in NFL rushing with 125 yards. What you didn't say was that Tucker was third with 124 yards, and that he had a 57-yard touchdown run called back because of a clip on the other side of the field. After the third game Tucker was still third behind Tom Mason. Willard was far down on the list. And let us not forget the fearsome front line behind which Tucker operates: Rosie Brown, Bookie Bolin, Bob Scholtz, Dave O'Brien and Pete Case.
New York City
Ken Willard probably chose to play with the San Francisco 49ers because he knew he could play with them. He would have been lucky to have made one of the AFL teams, and he certainly would not be the No. 2 ground-gainer in the league. One of these days men like Willard and Maule will wake up to the fact that the NFL and AFL are already on a par.
As a fan of both the NFL and the AFL, I would like to try to explain to Mr. Bill Price (19TH HOLE, Oct. 11) why the Packers have not signed many of their top draft choices in recent years. The quality of the AFL is rapidly approaching that of the NFL, but they are not yet equal. Each year a large number of college players is drafted, and thus the percentage of those who will make good is small. For this reason many of the players drafted by both leagues choose the AFL, where they feel their chances of staying with the team are greater.
So in truth the Packers haven't failed to sign their drafts because the AFL is better, but because it is not yet as good. It's just that the draftees have chosen to go with the team they think will be better for them. Also, because of the thinking of the new players, I feel the two leagues will soon be equal in quality, and I hope that in the near future teams from both leagues will be opposing each other on the field and not just in the arguments of the fans.
New Haven, Conn.