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Original Issue


I have just finished reading your article (Serious Contenders for a Funny City, Dec. 9) about the Cincinnati Royals and Cincinnati. I am a Cincinnati resident presently attending Harvard Business School and have followed the Royals for many years.

I will agree that winning is the name of the game in sports and attendance should follow. Since the Royals and Pepper Wilson have been in Cincinnati, they have had many losing campaigns with only a few highlights (Jack Twyman and Oscar Robertson, to name two). In recent years there has been dissension on the club and noticeable griping and half-effort from the so-called superstar—Jerry Lucas. I'm only too afraid he has never lived up to the image your magazine painted early in the 1960s. The Royals, i.e., Pepper Wilson, have been particularly inept (until last year) at trading, giving away many good players and draft choices for failures. To find the reason for the poor attendance, Wilson need only look in the mirror. As a person who wants the people to come to basketball games, Mr. Wilson's tact leaves much to be desired. It is my belief that as soon as the Royals indicate that they can win consistently with a good team effort, then the people of Cincinnati will support them.

As for supporting the Bengals, they are presently playing in Nippert Stadium, which is not the best for viewing football games. The Bengals have played very well for a new club and have been supported much better than your article indicates.

One reason for the Reds' poor attendance is that Crosley Field is the smallest stadium in the majors. A second reason is that they lost many games they should have won due to poor pitching. The Reds are young and have a great chance at future National League pennants.

The people of Cincinnati look forward to 1970 when the Reds and Bengals will play in the new riverfront stadium and when they both will be contenders for the championship—and we'll see where the Royals are.
Watertown, Mass.

If Frank Deford believes that victory has departed from the University of Cincinnati, he has been in hibernation for eight years. Cincinnati won back-to-back NCAA championships in 1961 and 1962 and was beaten in overtime in the championship game in 1963, all without Oscar.

As much as I would like to see Edwin Shrake's friend Max recover fully, I feel that he was done an injustice (A Champagne Party for Joe and Weeb, Dec. 9). Mr. Shrake should have informed Max that although the Jets managed to get as far as the Super Bowl, they were sadly outmatched by the tough Baltimore defense. Remember that roughing-the-passer play in which Bubba Smith creamed Joe Willie? Well, what really happened was that Big Bad Bubba fell on poor Joe Willie and sprained his throwing arm. Exit Joe. John Unitas then proceeded to lead Baltimore to a 35-17 win. If Mr. Shrake doubts my hypothetical conclusion to his story, I have a $50 bill that I've been saving and....
Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

I submit that Edwin Shrake would have as much trouble finding "thousands of tiny mean fellows with poison-tipped arrows" in Brazil's Mato Grosso as the New York Jets would have in a game against Baltimore. The Mato Grosso is a practically unexplored part of Brazil, but it is not a tropical rain-forest region. Rather, it is a savanna, similar to parts of East Africa. The sparsely inhabited Mato Grosso contains several interesting types of people, but the headhunters are all in the tropical Amazon country.

Shrake's story was entertaining, however, and I hope SI will consider additional forays into the realm of fantasy.
Middletown, Conn.

Coles Phinizy's article (The Sharks Are Moving In, Dec. 9) was a fascinating one. I, for one, am glad that your magazine brings to the public's attention problems such as these. I only hope that further attention will be brought to the proper authorities before additional tragedies occur.
Syracuse, N.Y.

We are concerned with the hypothetical question of whether, if a pro golfer shot even par (never above or below) in each pro tournament, he would be the leading money winner on the pro circuit. If not the leading money winner, what would his standing be among the money winners for the season? This question has caused considerable debate, and we would be most appreciative of an answer to it.
Carrboro, N.C.

•In last year's tournaments, he would have finished 11th in the money.—ED.

This letter is in regard to the article Tea and Shiners in Glassboro by Pat Ryan, which appeared in the Dec. 9 issue.

It appears that women's athletics are vastly underrated. Pat Ryan has defaced and humiliated field hockey as a form of women's competition. The tone of the article emphasizes injury and sheer nonsense in the sport itself. No mention is given to the advanced degree of individual skill, body control and team strategy that is necessary for 11 players to work efficiently as one unit.

Certainly control is reduced somewhat when weather conditions are unfavorable. Yet, a men's football writer will comment on the beauty of a well-executed play in pattern sequence even if it is raining "in a frigid downpour" for the entire game. I would hardly call this an objective article, rather a personal comment reported from an untrained eye and unfortunately exposed to many, many readers.

As a physical education instructor, I find the profession has a grave responsibility to educate not only children and young adults, but also sportswriters.
Geneva, N.Y.

Your field-hockey article implied that injury ran rampant and that fractures and bruises were commonplace. The truth of the matter is that almost all of the 275 participants returned to studying, homemaking, teaching or job responsibilities the Monday after Thanksgiving with nothing more than memories of games well played embedded in their minds. Very few players sustained even minor injuries at Glassboro; as a matter of fact, the young "red-headed warrior" shown at the tea did not even participate in the tournament. She was merely a spectator.

Please continue to cover women's sports, but next time forsake the sensationalism and concentrate on the aspects of the contest that reflect the expertise of play and the exhilarating spirit of true amateur sport.
U.S. Women's Olympic
Basketball Committee
New York City