That was good timing, featuring Wilbur Wood in the lead story (Wilbur's Knuckler Is Alive and Swell) and on the cover of your June 4 issue just as he completed his mini-iron-man feat of winning two games on Memorial Day. Woody is the most valuable pitcher in baseball. He can pitch twice a week all season long.
Behind Woody's flutter ball and the booming bats of Dick Allen, Bill Melton (the best third baseman in the majors) and Carlos May, the Sox look like the best in the strong American League West. Sox fans feel that this team is a good bet to be home free in '73.
Tinley Park, Ill.
Ron Fimrite's story dealing with the "tantalizing, hypnotizing, untouchable" knuckleball was highly informative. As was pointed out, when Wilbur Wood's pitch is working he is unbeatable. However, pitching against the Milwaukee Brewers on June I Wood was rocked for 11 hits and five earned runs in just five innings. This shows that when the knuckleball is not doing its stuff, the batters can get good "Wood" on the ball.
RICHARD J. RICCI
My thanks to Ron Fimrite. In my opinion, there is no other pitcher who so consistently displays such brilliance, radiance and precision as Wilbur Wood does on the mound. He is no doubt the most fascinating, most effective pitcher in the game today.
Kings Park, N.Y.
Thank you for your article on the NCAA volleyball finals (Ringing Bells and Spiking Dreams, June 4). It is through exposure like this that interest can be cultivated on a national level. It can only help, come Olympics time, for more people to be aware of, and to be playing, volleyball. The United States will become more representative on a world scale.
You didn't mention that four of San Diego's six starters played together in their younger days at Palisades High School. Milo Bekins, Chris Marlowe, Randy Stevenson and Wayne Gracey were all on the first high school team ever to compete in the AAU nationals.
Also, as a result of their recent successes, Duncan McFarland, Randy Stevenson and Chris Marlowe have been named to the all-tournament volleyball team for 1973.
With one exception I thoroughly enjoyed Barry McDermott's coverage of the NCAA volleyball finals. Unfortunately, his comments about the Army team faring badly because of class and transportation difficulties could be somewhat misleading for readers who are not aware that Army playing San Diego State in volleyball is somewhat comparable to a local high school team playing the Knicks in basketball.
It's the same game but the skill levels are miles apart, and while I certainly applaud the Cadets and their sponsors for their participation, Eastern collegiate volleyball is not now and never will be in the same league with the California colleges—unless (and this is extremely remote) Eastern athletic directors realize that this inexpensive, competitive, skillful international sport should be established on a par with other sports.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
After reading your article I could not help but feel slighted. For three pages Barry McDermott wrote about nothing but the men's NCAA volleyball championships. Compare this coverage to that given the women's AIAW national volleyball championships. We never even got mentioned in your magazine, so I would like to inform you of the outcome. The tournament was held at Brig-ham Young University in January. The favored team was Long Beach State (Yes, Long Beach also has a women's team). Our team played the entire season undefeated and won the national tournament without losing a single game, stretching its record to 31 match victories against no defeats.
I may be a biased reader, but I think that any team that wins 31 games in a row en route to a national title deserves some recognition, whether it is a men's or a women's team.
Member, 1973 Long Beach State
ANOTHER KIND OF BIGOTRY (CONT.)
If a finger of blame must be pointed at anyone for the lack of women's varsity athletic competition (Women in Sport, May 28 el seq.), let it be pointed at the gals who for at least the past 25 years have dictated that such competition was taboo for their sex. Play days, mixers, informal competition have been the order of the day for our girls. Serious competition and varsity teams have not been acceptable to the women in charge of physical education. The stress of competition simply was not good for that "other half" of our student bodies.
Finally things are beginning to change, and with that change must come money, expanded facilities, etc. But they might not come in the hurry that the new-breed women directors want, for one cannot brush aside 25 years of negative thinking just like that.
I personally never have heard a boys' coach indicate a negative feeling concerning girls' varsity activities. We just never understood why they didn't have such a program. But I have heard words and words and read page after page from the women themselves as to why such activities should be eliminated from a girls' program. Women have been getting a raw deal from the women.
Varsity Basketball and Baseball
Shaker Heights High School
Thank you for the excellent article on women's sports. It is about time. Speaking as a girls' high school basketball coach, I can give you some supporting facts for your research. Our girls' varsity basketball team can use either of our two high school gyms—as long as the boys' varsity, junior varsity, freshman and seventh- and eighth-grade basketball teams and boys' varsity, junior varsity and freshman wrestling teams are finished using them (i.e., at delightful times like 8 a.m. Saturday or on Sunday afternoon). We can also use the grade school gym (lower baskets) if we want to—but, of course, only after the boys' fifth- and sixth-grade teams are done with it. Need I say more? Please continue to support women's athletics.
Congratulations on giving recognition to Iowa's Wayne Cooley in your articles. Never has one man done so much for so many girls. Cooley and the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union are blazing a trail in wholesome athletic participation for women. Here's hoping that 49 more states will get the message.
The entire women vs. men thing has been blown out of proportion. Let them compete! And when it is all over ask the embarrassed 10-year-old why he quit. When he says it was because Judy was better than he was, think about it! A potential 30-game winner quits 20 years too soon while Judy goes on to make a fine housewife. Is it really worth it?
RICK W. LAWSON
Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
I must congratulate you on the article. It especially struck home for me since I have a 15-year-old sister who is an excellent athlete (baseball, basketball, football), yet is constantly being urged by family and friends to pursue more "feminine" pastimes. The fact that foreign women athletes consistently excel over our own is a sorry demonstration of the inadequacies of the sports training for women in this country. Perhaps some of the authorities who feel that girls don't need the "kind of character" that athletics builds in boys will eventually realize that organized sports, for both sexes, is just what we flabby Americans need.
LYNNE T. BOURJAILY
Thank you for your article. Through athletics—particularly team sports—one experiences the joy of real teamwork: mutual dependence and cooperation in order to achieve a goal. And for girls as well as boys, athletics build deep, honest relationships with members of the same sex. Sexual stereotypes aside, everyone should be allowed that experience.
Bravo! Your article is a long-awaited acknowledgment of the problem. But beyond the disparities in finances and physical education curricula offered for women and those offered for men, observe the woman who, as a college graduate now living in an "average" community, tries to find a place to play those sports she enjoyed in college (even though the choice was limited). A few months ago I was one of two women in the progressive metropolis of Atlanta trying to find a court on which to play paddleball. None of the local Y's allowed women on their courts, nor did the community club centers. Indeed, the only place we two women (and Gentiles at that) were allowed to play was at the Atlanta Jewish Community Center. Wherein does discrimination really lie?
Congratulations on your article Spoil is Unfair to Women. Now I would like to see an article about the discrimination against male cheerleaders, which even SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is guilty of. In your report of this year's NIT basketball finals (Who's Afraid of Virginia Tech? April 2) you said, "Tech did have great cheerleaders...all of them bearing some resemblance to Raquel Welch." I am a VPI cheerleader and have yet to be confused with Ms. Welch.
PAUL R. SCOTT
PREACHER HITS BACK
I read with much interest your article about Jerry Clower (Knock 'im out, Jay-ree! April 30), and his candid account of our personal encounter in the 1949 Baylor-Mississippi State game where he indeed learned that the "meek inherit the earth." Although I cannot attest to the veracity of everything Jerry says about the game, I can't deny all of it either. However, here is my side of the story and I'll stick with it.
Jerry hit me first and busted my lower lip wide open (1949, you know, was way back when the only linemen who wore face guards were those who already had a broken nose). Well, I guess I kinda lost my temper and clobbered him—but after all, even SI would have lost its temper, too, if it was going to have to preach to a little country congregation the next morning with a busted lower lip with nine stitches in it!
RAY V. MAYFIELD JR.
SECRET OF COZUMEL
I enjoyed Coles Phinizy's article on Cozumel (Being Eaten Alive by Sailfish) in your April 23 issue. Since then I have visited the island for a few days and I certainly agree that it is a delightfully crazy spot.
Being a bird watcher of long standing, I was impressed with Phinizy's comments concerning the strange behavior on Cozumel of the boat-tailed grackle (not one of our favorite birds on the Texas coast). Indeed they sing more sweetly on Cozumel (not so raucous), and their actions are completely carefree. I discovered the reason for this when I was on the beach in front of our hotel shortly after dawn one morning. I noted several green coconut halves in the sand, overnight remnants of the locally popular Coco Loco drink, which contains coconut milk mixed with rum, gin or vodka. The grackles were busily dipping their beaks into the Coco Loco dregs, and then lifting their heads to greet the new day.
J. W. HOOVER
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