STARTING THE NEW YEAR
The two-week wait over the holidays for your Jan. 6 issue was well worth it. Each and every article was a joy to read, especially Jack Nicklaus' review of golf 1974 (Oscars for Three Stars). The way Arnold Palmer handled himself on the tour during a most difficult time should be a lesson not only to the young golf stars but to everyone who plays the game of life. The article brought to the attention of the public the type of man Arnie is and also said quite a bit about Big Jack. My hat is off to both of them.
DONALD M. SINCLAIR
OUT OF THE PAST
I enjoyed your Dec. 23 issue immensely. I realize you didn't have room for all the great pictures of the last 20 years in sport (You Must Remember These); however, in a quick survey I took of 10 people, nine said Bob Beamon's 1968 Olympic long jump was one of the most amazing things in history. I wish you had included a picture of that.
Regarding the picture captioned "When Vroom Goes Boom" of the first lap of the 1966 Indianapolis 500, my curiosity is killing me. With such violent action erupting on the track before them, why are so many spectators looking toward the camera? Something was distracting them. Perhaps there is no explanation.
GEORGE A. GORDEN
•There is. Those spectators in the infield who had yet to become aware of the accident were still watching the lead cars, which at that instant were rounding the high banked first turn.
GETTING MINNESOTA'S GOAT
My 9-year-old son was wondering why I chose not to renew his subscription, but now that he has read Dan Jenkins' article The Rams Made Goats of Themselves (Jan. 6), I think he is about to ask for a refund. At this writing we don't know the outcome of the Super Bowl game. But Jenkins' statement, "We must now wonder whether the Vikings are actually good enough to beat the Punt, Pass and Kick winners," should perhaps be rephrased to read, "Punt our subscription, pass our check to Science Fiction Monthly and kick Jenkins up the journalism chain of command to Chairman of the Bored."
For a magazine that projects itself as the No. 1 sports publication in the world, I don't think you are qualified to provide coverage of the first rounds of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest. It is true that Bud Grant is not as exciting to write about as Burt Reynolds and that all the Vikings do is eat, sleep, receive awards for public service and win football games. They are just good guys and good team football players. But after reading Dan Jenkins' article on their National Conference championship game with the Rams I think it is a good thing he does not live in the Twin Cities area. He would be served up at the next tailgate party.
Although I consider myself the world's No. 1 Minnesota Viking fan, and I'm proud of it, I must admit that Dan Jenkins' critique of the Rams-Vikings championship game couldn't have been any truer to life. I only hope that each and every player on the Viking squad gets an opportunity to read this highly amusing yet accurate review. The article convinced me that it is writers like Jenkins who make SI what it is today. If indeed Viking Lineman Alan Page is guilty of the subterfuge credited to him by Ram Guard Tom Mack, it only goes to prove what I knew all along: Minnesota linemen are not only brawny but brainy.
Santa Barbara, Calif
I read with interest John Underwood's article on the sad state of the college bowl lineups (Bowl-Bound and Bowled Over, Dec. 23), particularly the arguments about turning the bowl games into an elimination process to determine a national grid champion
In case someone has neglected to put the question to the folks at the NCAA, why does one of the New Year's bowl games have to be the championship game or even a semifinal game? It would seem reasonable to simply let those bowls go on as they are now. Play the Rose, the Sugar, the Orange, et al., then let the NCAA, perhaps in conjunction with the wire services, digest the results and select two teams to square off in the ultimate bowl game a week or two later.
That should keep the bowl people happy, since every bowl game would be a potential playoff game, and such a procedure should eventually minimize the horrible mismatches. The big game for the national championship could be played the day before the Super Bowl, and it might appropriately be called the Supremacy Bowl
If nothing else, the women's Superstars competition and your article (There Is Nothing Like a Dame, Jan. 6) accomplished two things: they set Women's Lib back at least five years and proved conclusively that the United States has a gymnast every bit as cute as the Soviet Union's Olga Korbut. I'm rooting for Cathy Rigby.
Mount Pleasant, Mich.
In reading the article I was surprised to discover so many talented female athletes I had never heard of. As Micki King said, "Line us all up, and not even we can pick out who we are."
As a father of a young daughter I believe SI can help remedy this one-sided aspect of sports by selecting a Sportswoman of the Year along with each Sportsman of the Year. In 1972 Billie Jean King shared your award with Coach John Wooden. That was a definite step in the right direction.
WILLIAM R. CASEY
Your article on bicycle motocross was very good, but the idea that it started in Southern California seems wrong. My brother and I have been racing bicycle motocross for five years, and I am quite sure that we weren't the first to do this. But until just this week I didn't know there was a league.
Thanks for writing about bicycle motocross. It is a great sport. Incidentally, here are a couple of good practice exercises: riding down stairs and riding down snowy hills.
I enjoyed your article on bicycle motocross racing very much. My friends and I practice a similar sport. We race our junkers (old bicycles either bought or made out of spare parts) up, over and around bumps on dirt trails, complete with mud. The bikes are the same 20-inch size, and mine don't last more than six months.
The sport of bicycle motocross is not totally unlike what is known to the adult European cycling fraternity as cyclocross. While it is still in its rudimentary stage here in the U.S., cyclocross has been a major winter conditioning sport for cyclists in Europe since early in this century. European cyclists take cyclocross very seriously; they don't go in for such things as wheelies or midair gymnastics. Cyclocross is a grueling contest in which bicycles resembling racing 10-speeds are used to cover short distances of extremely rugged terrain.
KARL A. EICHEL
KEEPING HOCKEY IN CHECK
I have a few comments on Mark Mulvoy's article Applesauce's Recipe (Jan. 6). As a longtime hockey fan and season-ticket holder of the New York Rangers, I've noticed that the quality of officiating in the NHL has sharply declined over the past few years. Referee Andy Van Hallemond is quoted as saying that the game should be interrupted only when an infraction has direct bearing on the play but, in the meantime, too many players are the recipients of vicious cross checks, slashes and high sticks while the officials stand by and allow the games to get out of control. So far this season there have been two outright brawls during NHL games, one between Philadelphia and the Seals, the other between St. Louis and the Rangers. The league officials should take note of the resurgence of violence and instruct their referees to keep the game under better control.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Pakistani Khan Game (Jan. 6) is SI at its best. Melvin Maddocks is to be congratulated for capturing the essence of squash as well as for paying tribute to a remarkable dynasty.
I was delighted and alarmed to read Melvin Maddocks' fine article on the Khan family and squash; delighted because the game is without doubt the best the world has ever seen, alarmed because Maddocks' good words may cause new hopefuls to overcrowd our two modest courts and make me wait even longer to play.
DAVID W. LOWMAN
East Lansing, Mich.
Perhaps your readers would be interested in a story related to me by my college squash coach. She was lucky enough to see a match between Hashim and Mo Khan. It took place on an old court that had lights hanging from the ceiling, and because the lights were in the way, a let would be played whenever the ball hit them. Mo went ahead in the game as his considerably older uncle became increasingly tired. But the master had a solution for his fatigue. Twelve times in a row Hashim deliberately hit the lights with his serve to give himself a moment's rest. Not at all surprised by such remarkable accuracy, Mo silently retrieved the ball each time with a knowing and respectful grin. It's called class.
Thank you for the fine article about a too-often neglected sport.
MELANIE TOBIN LAFAVE
Auburn Heights, Mich.
When Melvin Maddocks referred to the squash-playing Khans as "very good friends" of my father Arthur B. Sonneborn, it was an understatement. My father began to play squash when he was about 50. He became more than a buff, it was almost his whole life. He went to London regularly for the British Open, and on one such trip put the wheels in motion to bring Hashim Khan to the United States to become the pro at Detroit's Uptown Athletic Club, of which my father was a founding member. Later he helped Hashim bring his wife to the U.S. Hashim's book Squash Racquets: The Khan Game was another important project my father had a hand in. No wonder he was able to "guess" the total point score in that pool recalled by Maddocks.
If my father were still alive he would be delighted by Maddocks' article because it recognizes the Khans' utter dominance of squash, a dominance unique in sport.
HARRY L. SONNEBORN
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.