Jack Olsen's story about our big bridge tournament was simply superb (The Dogmeat Was Hard to Swallow, Nov. 14). This is the unanimous opinion of the 32 players assembled here in Pittsburgh for the International Team Trials. Having read several of Mr. Olsen's previous efforts, on many varied subjects, I would have to rank him among the great writers of this or any time.
IVAN E. ERDOS
I have never at any time in my life played bridge, nor do I ever expect to. Nevertheless, I thought that Jack Olsen's Dogmeat was the funniest, and best, article that has appeared in your magazine since John Steinbeck's Then My Arm Glassed Up (Dec. 20, 1965). Mr. Olsen has somehow captured in print the kind of moment that happens to us all: the thrill, panic and heartbreak that accompanies a wild scheme. In doing so, he has proved emphatically that he is the Max Shulman of sportswriters. May he continue to trump—or whatever.
ANDREW C. CRAIG
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Jack Olsen's story had me doubling up and trying to read through tear-smeared glasses. I nearly strangled with laughter.
Speaking of dogmeat, at a Brantford, Ont. sectional bridge tournament some years ago, two "little old ladies" won the qualifying round in the afternoon with a 216 (that's good) but didn't show up for the evening game! It seems they had come down to the hotel to play in an "afternoon bridge," like the ones they were used to.
JOHN G. ARMSTRONG
HEAVEN AND HADES
Congratulations on your excellent article, America's Best Ski Runs (Nov. 14). I wish you'd kept quiet about Taos Ski Valley, though. For years now, this has been the world's best skiing, but, if you continue to talk about it, they'll soon have waiting lines and crowded slopes.
THOMAS R. BROWNELL
Your selection will undoubtedly elicit screams of pain and outrage from the hundreds of skiers who feel that their particular favorite should have been chosen instead. Their choices will be no better than yours, but with the right combination of snow, weather, equipment, skiing ability and companions, any run and every run can become a "best." That's what makes—and keeps—skiing so fascinating.
For next year's selection I nominate the Hades run at Purgatory in southwestern Colorado. Hades, a new run, should be just as heavenly as the others.
J. R. DUNCAN
STEVE AND THE MRS.
John Underwood's article, A Bulldog's Answer to an S O S (Nov. 14), had a rousing total of four paragraphs on the Georgia-Florida game. The rest was Steve Spurrier. Underwood seemed to imply that Purdue's Bob Griese is unworthy of the Heisman award, but that a so-called Midwestern Bloc would vote for him rather than for the more deserving Spurrier. Well, I'd like to inform Mr. Underwood that Bob Griese is not only the top collegiate quarterback and best pro prospect, but also the best clutch performer. After all, he has led Purdue to victory against all opposition except Notre Dame and Michigan State, the top two teams in the nation. What's more, he has led the Boilermakers to their first Rose Bowl appearance in the school's history. Anyone who thinks him not worthy of the Heisman Trophy must be out of his mind.
We here in Boilermaker Land don't call Griese the "best," rather, we call him "better"—better than any other college football player north, south, east, west or straight up! Tune in Jan. 2 and see.
As a University of Florida football fan, I wish to commend you for your article on Steven Orr Spurrier. Here is a player whose greatness cannot be hidden even in the inglorious agony of defeat, as you so aptly pointed out. Athletes of his ability are few and far between. I am only sorry that your reporters could not have seen Steve Spurrier at his best, for that, I'm sure, is the eighth wonder of the world.
C. A. PRICE JR.
I'm sure most other single male college students feel the same as I do. We are insanely jealous of Steve Spurrier—not just because he is a superb athlete, but because of his gorgeous wife. Jerri Spurrier is beautiful. It was for this reason alone that I bought your magazine. I wanted to hang Mrs. Spurrier's picture over my desk, so that when I feel depressed I can look at that beautiful face.
By the way, Steve Spurrier is the best college quarterback ever!
I don't know how Bernie Geoffrion (One More Boom or Bust, Nov. 14) looked when he was in his "prime," but he looked pretty good to me the other night, when he scored one goal and assisted on three others, as the Rangers beat Montreal 6-3. I'd say it was a pretty loud boom for the Boomer.
FRANK B. McANENY
If, as SI says, the New York Rangers "once again look like a good bet to finish last." what sport are the Boston Bruins going to take up? Just because Boston beat out the Blues by one point last year, it doesn't mean they've deserted the cellar for good.
JEFFREY D. RUDNER
Palo Alto, Calif.
Your November 14 SCORECARD item on Joe Palooka's long-overdue defense of his heavyweight title was a delight, except for the punch line. You imply that Joe's 10-year absence from the boxing scene was largely due to the fact that the "old" editor of the McNaught Syndicate, which edits and distributes the comic strip I draw, was a woman. In all fairness to that great lady editor. Mrs. Mildred Bellah, I would like to bring the score up to date. McNaught's ban on boxing was not her idea. As a matter of fact, Joe's current fight with King Abbso of Jyrobia was arranged, and all preliminaries gotten under way, with Mrs. Bellah's approval before she went into semiretirement. The ban was eased largely because of the interest stimulated by SI's earlier article on Joe Palooka (April 19, 1965).
We're all happy to see Joe boxing again. And, incidentally, the odds are 7 to 5 Joe will win this match.
TONY DI PRETA
Old Greenwich, Conn.
VIEW FROM THE TOP
As a graduate of Silo Tech (North Dakota State University) and as governor of North Dakota, I was very pleased that you would pay tribute to the best small-college football team in the nation (A Day to Bile the Dust, Oct. 31). However, as I read your article, I found myself wondering if your football writer had not confused our state with some far-out location like New York or California.
I have lived in this part of the country all of my life and was surprised to learn that migrating geese zip over the state of North Dakota. If several weeks" layover is a zip, then come on over to North Dakota yourselves for a couple of zips and enjoy the most fantastic goose shooting in all of the 50 states. About 80%, of all the wild ducks raised in the U.S. waddle up to their first water hole in North Dakota.
Your statement about the motorist who was anxious to get over the border before he ran out of gas also leaves me somewhat mystified. In the first place, North Dakota has the finest road system of all states, and we are the 10th-ranking state in the nation in crude-oil reserves. All of the gasoline you could possibly burn is manufactured right here in North Dakota.
I also want to tell you a bit more about our weather. The sun comes up a little earlier, shines a little brighter and sets a little later here than it does in any other part of the nation. I once had to look up the word smog in a dictionary to find out what it was, since we don't have anything like it here. It is very true that we have four seasons, but it embarrasses us that we don't accumulate enough snow to become a skier's paradise. The darned white stuff either doesn't fall or melts right off. We do not grow bananas, however.
It is-not uncommon for North Dakota to have a top-ranking collegiate basketball team, and quite often we have the finest collegiate hockey team in the nation. If it were not for the very attractive (pardon the phrase) educational opportunities at out-of-state colleges, our North Dakota athletes would probably stay home and help us dominate most athletic events. Roger Maris would probably agree that if it were not for the boyhood he spent in North Dakota he could never have broken Babe Ruth's home-run record.
I hope that your venture into our Great Plains country will have pricked your curiosity enough to send reporters here more often. A pat on the back from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ranks right up there with a four-year athletic scholarship. And since we have so few of the latter, we greatly appreciate the former.
WILLIAM L. GUY
Bismarck, N. Dak