Congratulations to Frank Deford on his article, A Pair of Sparklers in Poky (Feb. 21). It's great when you can read about a team that's not always winning.
With tongue not quite in cheek, may I point out to Mr. Deford that Pocatello, a town of more than 41,000 (large for Idaho), is not a "drowsy little transportation center," as his article suggests. It ceased being drowsy or a transportation center long ago and is now a bed of political activity for Idaho, an industrial center for Idaho and Idaho's second largest city. Its people read Playboy, Time, Newsweek, Life, Look, Harper's, Atlantic, Reader's Digest, The New York Times, Peanuts, Happiness is a Dry Martini, Nexus, Sexus and Plexus...oh yes, and even SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We have only two movie theaters, but oddly enough we still see the same movies you do. We drive cars and have bars and stay up late every now and then. Nevertheless, tell Mr. Deford we enjoyed his article and will invite him back to Pocatello to wipe the sleepy seeds out of his eyes.
JAN ARTHUR SAINSBURY
Dan Jenkins has written a very fine article on France's Jean-Claude Killy (Skiing's Darling of Derring-do, Feb. 21). It is fitting that this man should be recognized as possibly the greatest skier in some years. I just hope that Billy Kidd can get back into shape and give him some more fierce competition.
Why, on your February 21 cover of "Killy of France," do you show the French colors, blue, white and red, in reverse order?
Several nations have the colors blue and red separated by a band of white; among them The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and the U.S. While our order for the colors is red, white and blue, in the case of France it is bleu, blanc, rouge. The stripes on the sleeves of Jean-Claude's sweater indicate the proper order of the French colors and read blue, white, red from either front to back or top to bottom.
The hat tucked into Killy's racing bib has the colors in the U.S. order because it is a Moriarty hat made by Annabelle Moriarty of Stowe, Vt. (mother of ex-Olympian Marvin Moriarty), who supplies the hats for the American team. Presumably the one that Jean-Claude is wearing was given to him by one of his good friends, probably Billy Kidd or Jim Heuga.
JON D. HOWELL
•It's a small world.—ED.
Jonathan Rhoades' article Grandfather and the Racquet-tailed Drongo (Feb. 28) was riotously funny. There is a bit of Grandfather Rhoades in every bird watcher; nevertheless, there is an esprit de corps among us that transcends "all Grandfather Rhoadesisms." Perhaps that is why the bald eagle, California condor and whooping crane may yet be saved from extinction.
ANDREW BIHUN JR.
National Audubon Society
New York City
Grandfather Rhoades is the most illustrious sport that I have ever had the fortune of reading about.
JOHN M. GEOGHEGAN
While not exactly the greatest thing that ever happened to the town, your recent article about Rick Mount and Lebanon, Ind. (Basketball's Star in Indiana, Feb. 14) was certainly widely discussed. I was particularly intrigued by Mr. Deford's reference to "Arsker," allegedly the local pronunciation of Oscar.
Lebanon, Ind. was my home for 27 years, during every one of which my name was "Oscar." Not once do I recall being called anything like "Arsker" until I visited the fine, cultured city of Philadelphier. There, I believe, they pronounce everything with some variation of "Arsker." At least, that was the idear they gave me.
RICHARD OSCAR MORRIS
F AND F
I am a great fan of motor sports, and I enjoyed your article on the 24-hour race at Daytona very much (24 Hours to Shake a Champ, Feb. 14), but I feel compelled to comment on the battle currently being waged between Ford and Ferrari. It never ceases to amaze me that the Fords are considered by practically everyone to be the unquestionable underdogs.
If one looks closely at the struggle, it is obvious that experience is the only factor that Ferrari has in its favor. This is a major factor, to be sure, but the multimillion-dollar Ford Motor Co. has the primary prerequisite for success in racing: money. With their computers, drivers, personnel and other limitless resources there is no reason that Ford should not dominate the sport of motor racing.
All this, however, is mere background, which brings me to the one largely overlooked (by the American press) factor in the battle. All the Ferraris are using engines with a displacement of four liters or less. Many of them have only 3.3-liter engines. The Ford engines, on the other hand, are seven liters! That's right: seven liters! That means that the difference in engine size is at least 180 cubic inches. When the Fords were running 289s (4.7-liters) a couple of years ago one could have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for the valiant attempt that the new Fords were making against Ferrari dominance, but when Ford pulls up alongside a Ferrari at the line now, with an engine twice as big as the Ferrari engine, I see no great thrill in the victory. What kind of victory would it be for the new Atlanta Falcons if they managed to beat the best high school football team in Georgia?
It is obvious that with such resources, Ford will rule supreme for many years. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, however, I'm afraid my sentiments will have to remain with the little red cars from Maranello.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Perhaps Enzo Ferrari is about to shut down the Maranello factory after reading your recent article on Ford's annual assault on the asphalt. Chances are, though, he is simply glancing over last June's Le Mans results. At any rate, while Ferraris continue to rack up top honors, Carroll Shelby and the rest of the Ford mob can console themselves with the knowledge that, like the other No. 2, they try harder.
ARABS, APPALOOSAS AND AMATEURS
Thanks for the striking pictures and fine article on Arabian horses (Days out of the Arabian Nights, Feb. 21). The sport of riding and showing western horses has grown tremendously throughout the country in recent years. And the number and quality of horses shown by amateurs "just for fun" have had a meteoric rise. Spectator interest has increased proportionately. On any Saturday or Sunday, from late spring through early fall, you can find a western horse show within easy driving distance, from California to Connecticut, Florida to Washington.
Incidentally, the showing of stallions by amateurs is not limited to Arabians. Among quarter horses and Appaloosas the showing of stallions by amateurs, including women and children, is common.
WILLIAM M. BLOOM
Columbia City, Ind.
I take it that English Professor James B. Hall of the University of California at Irvine is referring specifically to football and basketball players when he talks about athletes being "fettered by adhesive tape" (SCORECARD, Feb. 21).
If interest in sports is "irrational" and "interferes with the discipline of the mind," then why have athletic endeavors been with us for so long? Why did the Greeks interrupt wars to stage international athletic competitions? And why do millions of people annually flock to arenas, field houses and stadiums in the U.S. and all over the world?
Participation in athletics is not a prelude to mental decline. On the contrary, it helps to coordinate mental and physical activity. And as to athletes not contributing intellectually to their classes, I suggest that Professor Hall's opinion is based on a very small percentage of the athletic world. Far from becoming "dehumanized," athletes on a team learn to work together, to win and lose together and to feel pain together. Some of the best and most lasting friendships were born on the gridiron—as on the battlefield. And what is more human than fraternity?
Athletes have often used their talents to go on from sports to various other occupations. Many have gone into teaching—possibly even English. And don't social workers, whom Professor Hall seems to revere, often employ athletic competition as a means to appeal to the underprivileged, to stimulate their interest and develop their aspirations toward achievement?
East Cleveland, Ohio
If more people would develop their bodies as well as their minds we would have no need for social workers.
How wrongheaded can a man be?