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Original Issue


Thank you very much for your article covering the match between Margaret Court and Bobby Riggs (Mother's Day Ms. Match, May 21). It portrayed Riggs in true form—as a scheming old man. In my opinion the only good thing resulting from the encounter was the "Bobby Riggs Bleah!" buttons.
Studio City, Calif.

After reading Curry Kirkpatrick's account of the Bobby Riggs-Margaret Court tennis match, one would think that Riggs won the match by employing supernatural devices. The fact of the matter is that Riggs showed himself to be a superb tennis player. Though Bobby effectively varied the tempo of his shots, on many occasions he returned the ball as hard as or harder than Margaret. And most of the service aces that I can recall were by Bobby, not Margaret.

Whether Riggs could beat Court four out of seven or whether he can defeat Billie Jean King are matters of opinion, but one thing is certain. No woman will ever beat Riggs as decisively as he defeated Court. Why not give the devil his due? Bobby Riggs is one heck of an athlete.
Okemos, Mich.

Gloria Steinem, get a mop! Betty Friedan, brush up on your brownie recipes! Bella Abzug, learn how to sew! While he may not be a male chauvinist hustler, Bobby Riggs is the male chauvinist's male chauvinist, and he has put the world back in its proper order.

I was utterly amazed by your article. I completely disagree with the idea that it was a win for male chauvinism.

On the pro tennis tour, men are considered the harder hitters, and the women tend to have longer rallies. Keeping these facts in mind, Mr. Riggs would seem to have a more feminine style of play than Ms. Court. I am not questioning Mr. Riggs' masculinity or Ms. Court's femininity but in my opinion the "Match of the Century in the Battle Between the Sexes" was won by Riggs using the feminine style of play.
Worthington, Ohio

It is interesting to note that Bobby Riggs is now in the same position as the women players against whom he was originally arguing. His theory was that women players were only 25% as good as the men and therefore deserved only 25% of the money.

Apparently he will no longer apply this logic now that he can command more money for a single match against a woman than Smith, Laver and Ashe can against their fellow pros. The fact remains that many of the younger men players who are still making only pocket money could beat Riggs in straight sets.
Princeton, N.J.

Being a feminist and an athlete as well, I watched with interest the tennis match between Margaret Court and Bobby Riggs. Personally, I found the match ridiculous—not because it was played between a man and a woman, but because both men and women were using it as some sort of "contest" between the sexes to determine which is superior. The question in my mind is, who appointed Bobby Riggs as representative of all male tennis players? And since when does Margaret Court represent all the women? Margaret lost not because she is a woman, but because Riggs was smart enough to force her to play his game—which is exactly what any good woman player would have attempted to do against Ms. Court. And as for the theory that men play harder and faster than women, here it was Riggs who had to use tricky tactics against Court's stronger game.

It is rather demoralizing to one of the world's best to feel that she is being toyed with by an egocentric male who is out to prove some obscure—and, so far, unproved—point about sex differences. No wonder Billie Jean King turned him down. She undoubtedly has better things to do—such as play serious tennis.
Peoria, Ill.

Thank you, thank you for the delightful article by John Fowles (Making a Pitch for Cricket, May 21). It was perceptive, enjoyable, informative and written with flair and discernment. (I am also grateful that he did not abuse the word "chauvinist," as has been done these past years, apparently in an attempt to find a new descriptive term for the normal male.)

Your story about cricket mentions a Philadelphian, J. B. (Bart) King, and credits him as the first bowler to use both right- and left-hand curves. My late father was an ardent admirer and close friend of Mr. King and once told me this story about his great skill as a bowler.

In the early 1900s, the Gentlemen of India visited Philadelphia to play a series of matches against a team of cricketers that included King. One member of the Indian team was a prince who was regarded at the time as the world's finest batsman.

King bowled the prince on the first ball, whereupon the prince walked to the opposite end of the crease, reversed his bat, as in a sword presentation, and gave it to King.
Clearwater Beach, Fla.

At last the heretofore inscrutable game of cricket has been made comprehensible and even appealing. John Fowles' sterling prose was a pleasure to read.

I wonder whether one of your writers will take up the implicit challenge and write an article successfully explaining America's enduring love of baseball to the English.
Los Angeles

I cannot truly express my interest as I read your article on the Indy 500 and Art Pollard's death (The Deadly Wrath of Old Man Indy, May 21). Robert F. Jones did an excellent job of "personifying" the Speedway. I am not an avid fan of the sport, but I could become one now.
New Rochelle, N.Y.

It is a crying shame that another human life has been sacrificed for the sake of speed, meaning, of course, the tragic death of Art Pollard at Indy. Not being a race car enthusiast, I hold a very dim view of this "sport." Just what are they trying to prove by attaining a speed of 200 mph? Where are they going at such a blazing pace? My answer is nowhere, and they are going there fast. For my part, I prefer the sport of kings, good old-fashioned horse racing with the class of good thoroughbreds, a la Secretariat.

I was very disappointed with Robert F. Jones' article concerning Art Pollard's death at the Indy Trials. I agree that it was very unfortunate that Pollard crashed, but blaming "Old Man Indy" and referring to the Speedway as a nasty ogre proudly guarding his domain is wrong. If a race car driver is out to break 200 mph, he must take into consideration all the dangers inherent in such an undertaking.
Barrington, R.I.

In Robert F. Jones' article it is stated that Johnny Rutherford's time of 45.21 seconds to complete the oval was "roughly, 16 heartbeats short of the big 200." Since the "big 200" means that the 2½-mile oval is circled in 45 seconds or less, this implies that Rutherford's heart rate was, roughly, 16 beats per .21 seconds, or about 4,570 beats per minute. It seems unlikely that Rutherford was that excited at the prospect of achieving the "big 200." More likely, Jones mistakenly used 72 beats per second, rather than 72 beats per minute, as the average heart rate. The correct result is that Rutherford was—incredibly—only about¼ heartbeat short of the "big 200."
Sudbury, Mass.

Neil Leifer has done it again! His photograph of Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby (It Was Murder, May 14) captures the power, grace and authority of this magnificent animal in a manner unrivaled by literary description.

I never cease to be amazed by Leifer's ability, as well as that of the other fine SPORTS ILLUSTRATED photographers, to consistently catch the essence of an entire event in the flick of a shutter.
Stanford, Calif.

I would like to comment on the World Championship Tennis final between Stan Smith and Arthur Ashe (Riding the Crest of a Winning Wave, May 21). I thought the performance, both on and off the court, of these two fine players was outstanding. Smith's victory over Ashe will be remembered by many for a long time to come, but the part I will remember best will be the actions of the two during the presentation of awards following their final game.

As Smith said, the match ended on a rather sour note as a result of a judge's decision that was questioned by many in the crowd. The debate was whether or not Smith hit the ball before the second bounce. (It was later confirmed by television reruns that he had indeed hit it while it was "up," i.e., before the second bounce.) Without benefit of instant replay, however, Ashe responded to the audience's standing ovation by saying that Smith was a very ethical sportsman and individual and that if Stan thought the ball was up, it was up, and that was good enough for him.

Ashe's remark ended a tense moment and displayed a level of sportsmanship that is attained by few and envied by many. He left the WCT tournament with a lot more than his $20,000 second-place check. He also took with him the respect of a great many people. Ashe is a champion in his own right.
Roseburg, Ore.

William Leggett's article (An Angel Who Makes Turnstiles Sing, May 14) was what I have been waiting for. Nolan Ryan has never gotten serious treatment from any writers. Now that he is with a team that appreciates and takes advantage of a good pitcher, I think he can win 20 and strike out at least 250.
Flushing, N.Y.

It's about time someone noticed Nolan Ryan's ability to lead a team. He has great potential.
Medina, Ohio

I was very pleased to read Barry McDermott's article (It Was a New Game All Down the Line, May 14) and not find a glowing report on Ernie DiGregorio's play. My faith in SI was renewed because you refused to be thrilled, as so many newspapers were, by Ernie D. and his game-losing yet crowd-pleasing attempt at patriotic recognition.

I think Barry McDermott talked too much about the Russians in his recent article. How could he brush by Ernie DiGregorio by just saying his passes brought oohs from the crowd? In my book Ernie D. can do no wrong (even if he did lose the game for us in San Diego). The pros are getting another Pete Maravich. I hope Barry will think a little more about Ernie D. the next time he writes about U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. basketball.

I commend you for the coverage given in PEOPLE (May 7) to Ms. Kelly Morron, assistant trainer in the men's training room at Johns Hopkins. However, she is not as unusual as you may think. People have begun to recognize the need for female trainers in the rapidly expanding intercollegiate and interscholastic athletic programs for women and girls. As a result, numerous women are now enrolling in athletic training curricula and/or serving apprenticeships in men's training rooms.

Several women already have established themselves in the field and are administering athletic training programs for female athletes in universities scattered throughout the U.S.—Sherry Kosek at the University of Washington, Dot Cohen at the University of Illinois, Claudette DeLamater at Albany State University and Linda Hammett of the Kansas City Recreation Department. Of the 15 universities in the U.S. that offer NATA (National Athletic Trainers Assocation) approved curricula, five are open to women. The schools are Ball State, Indiana State, the University of Montana, Westchester (Pa.) State College and Western Illinois.

Hopefully, through the efforts of these women innovators the needs of the female athlete are finally being met.
Certified Athletic Trainer
Women's Physical Education
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Ind.

I would like to take issue with Dave Reinig's letter, published in the May 7 issue. He says, "Here at Notre Dame practically everyone is a watcher." I too am a student at Notre Dame, and I feel that nothing could be farther from the truth.

A great majority of students are watchers when it comes to varsity football, but that must be expected because of the caliber of play. On the other hand, Notre Dame offers, in addition to other varsity sports, several club sports, including lacrosse, soccer, rugby, crew, boxing and karate. Notre Dame is one of the few colleges in America to have an inter-hall tackle-football program, and we also have inter-hall soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball, swimming, track and Softball. There are numerous areas of intramural competition, not to mention the popular "Bookstore Basketball" contest. According to a student survey, 85% of the student body is involved in one or more of the above activities.

I can't imagine a university where students are more active than at Notre Dame. This is not a school for watchers.
Notre Dame, Ind.

The article It's Full Speed Astern (May 7) by Hugh D. Whall with photographs by Eric Schweikardt is a masterpiece. It gets the untold story across loud and clear. The photograph of Bob Cox, chairman of the antique boat show, driving Suwanee on the river at sunset also shows why the Thousand Islands area is so popular for enjoyable summer living and pursuits.

The counterpart to this story is the boom in mahogany, cedar and brass in the classic antique pulling craft—skiffs, canoes and guide boats, just to name a few. Complementing this are the bull's who collect old motors, outboards and marine accessories.

As acting director of the Thousand Islands Museum, by way of being a summer resident, I have also brought a few of my own pet projects to maturity for public display: area duck decoys, the Musky Hall of Fame, Rushton canoes and guide boats and research done with John Gardner of Mystic Seaport on the St. Lawrence River skiff (both rowing and sailing), a unique rudderless craft. The first commercial skiff builders started in Clayton, N.Y.—a schooner-building river town.

I was particularly interested in the mention of the skiff once used by Ulysses S. Grant. After following down a few leads, I located this beautiful boat in a garage in Alexandria Bay, N.Y. It had been stolen from Pullman Island and painted blue before it was retrieved by the caretaker. The name "Grant" is on the stern and the boat builder's brass plate remains intact on the forward deck.
Cedarhurst, N.Y.

Cheers for your article on the boat collectors. But you did not mention anything about how a boat runs on naphtha. Most people know that naphtha is an explosive liquid, first cousin to gasoline, and assume that a naphtha launch must have an internal combustion engine.

Not so. In a naphtha launch, the naphtha takes the place of what would be water in a closed-system steam engine. A boiler turns the naphtha into steam (it has a very low boiling point) and sends it to a little compression (steam) engine. The exhaust circulates back through a condenser, where it turns back into liquid and recommences the cycle. Can you imagine boiling gasoline and running it through a steam engine?

If you read enough old newspapers or yachting magazines, you will find stories about explosions of naphtha launches. They really lived dangerously in those days.
New York City

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