Score a big one for SI and Curry Kirkpatrick (Caught in a Spider's Web, Feb. 17). The colorful commentary and cover picture gave Dave (Spider) Meyers the kind of national recognition he richly deserves. Curry also mentioned something we fans on the West Coast have known for some time, the Pac-8 is the best basketball conference in the country.
If UCLA and Indiana are fortunate enough to meet in the NCAA finals in San Diego late this month, it should be a very good game.
JON G. SCRABECK, D.D.S.
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Curry Kirkpatrick's fine article was about a good basketball conference, but not the best in the land. If he were to devote a little time to the Atlantic Coast Conference, he would have an article about the best. Four of the seven ACC teams are in the nation's top 20—the Pac-8 can't match that—and speaking of records against nonconference foes, 67-17 isn't that bad.
Holy Jazz, SI, I can hardly believe that you spent 3‚Öì pages of your Feb. 17 issue on the New Orleans Jazz (Maravich and All Those Jazz). You mean to tell me that with all the other better NBA teams—Washington, Boston or Golden State, to name a few—New Orleans can work itself into your magazine? Stories like that are just not music to my ears.
Thank you, Pat Putnam. It's about time something constructive was said about Pistol Pete. Contrary to popular belief, the fortunes or misfortunes of the team do not rest on Maravich's shoulders alone After all, he doesn't wear a cape.
I agree with Coach Butch van Breda Kolff that the fan enjoys the beauty of a good pass or fast break. He should also realize that "pure scoring" and "bulling your way for a layup" win ball games, and that would please any Jazz fan. Fire away, Pistol.
St. Albans, W. Va.
Re the wonderful article by Roy Blount Jr. ("You're a Part of All This", Feb. 17), I am glad to know that the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to celebrate their championship in such style, and with a leader like Joe Greene. After that fantastic victory in the Super Bowl, they ought to celebrate for the rest of the year.
IN THIS CORNER
Mark Kram's enlightening piece The One-Minute Angels (Feb. 17) truly cornered the behind-the-scenes genius of boxing's stitch and stall men. The talents of Angelo Dundee, Eddie Futch, Gil Clancy and the late Charley Goldman are too often neglected, and far too little has been written of their exploits. The article was, if you can excuse the obvious quip, a cut above the rest.
Congratulations on your article about the Los Angeles Kings (Waifs Who Dare to Darken Doors, Feb. 10). They are one Of four expansion teams (Vancouver, Philadelphia and Buffalo being the other three) vying for divisional titles in the NHL this season, and I'm glad you recognize them. Expansion is the best thing to happen to hockey since the slap shot.
VIOLENT HOCKEY (CONT.)
I am not really a hockey fan, but friends keep telling me what an exciting game it is. On Feb. 6 I decided to watch the Rangers and Flyers on TV. After some six-plus minutes of the first period, the Rangers had received more than half an hour of penalties (32 minutes, to be exact), the Flyers a total of 28 minutes. Each team had a player ejected for game misconducts, and more than five fights had taken place.
I've followed your comments about the fighting in the NHL, but this game was beyond belief. Perhaps the NHL would do better to replace the Bobby Clarkes with the Muhammad Alis. The final blow was the commentary by Ranger announcers Jim Gordon and Bill Chadwick, exclaiming about all the "action and excitement." Amazing! How many rounds must a team win to gain victory? This is hockey? Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick with basketball and football, games that include roughness, but whose goal is scoring, not hurting.
ROBERT L. SEGAL
MOST DEMANDING SPORTS
I feel that you have overlooked an obvious corollary of that little-known fact you mentioned in the item "Hardest Rows to Hoe" (SCORECARD, Feb. 10). If ballet is the most demanding discipline physically, then surely figure skating is the most demanding sport. On the basis of 10 years' personal experience, I would list endurance, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, intelligence and creativity as essential requirements (three points each on Dr. Paul Hunsicker's scale). Not as obvious, but still very necessary, are strength and body type (two points each), giving figure skating an overall rating of 25. Toller Cranston may be the world's greatest athlete.
JOHN MELNYK JR.
You report a low rating for hiking, but Dr. Hunsicker might change his view if he read The Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc. This masterpiece gives a detailed description of the efforts involved in walking, without any assistance from car, train, bike, horse, donkey or cow, from Belfort to Rome, diagonally across Switzerland. I have done the Swiss part of the walk in about a fortnight in the same conditions described by Belloc, except that I always slept in a bed while he often slept out in the open. But he was 30 when he did the walk and I was 60 when I followed in his footsteps. That was some 15 years ago. I am quite ready to do it all over again.
Any ranking that shows fishing above hiking with respect to "fitness, health and work capacity" obviously has a flaw in it.
ROBERT E. CAIN
You have neglected to mention a most demanding, creative and growing sport, gymnasties. Using the categories provided by Dr. Hunsicker, I arrive at a point total equal to the 23 given to basketball.
•Dr. Hunsicker ranks gymnastics very low on intelligence and creativity but gives it a total of 20 points, the same amount as diving and judo.—ED.
I wish to thank you and especially Ron Reid for a fine article on Dwight Stones and high jumping (The Record Didn't Measure Up, Feb. 17). As a jumper now in college, I can readily understand Stones' unhappiness over the officiating. Men who are more experienced should be assigned to these specialized events. There is nothing more frustrating than making a superior jump only to find that the height was measured incorrectly. Such an occurrence at Stones' level of competition is inexcusable.
College Station, Texas
Thank you for a beautifully written piece on an incredible woman, Lynne Cox (Courage Conquers a Cruel Sea, Feb. 17). How refreshing it is to read a story written by a man about a woman that does not go on about the color of her hair or how she looked in her bathing suit. Sam Moses' fine job almost makes up for your Jan. 27 cover.
MORE FROM THE HOMEFRONT
Once again you have provided twofold entertainment with your bathing suit article (Old Gods, Young Goddesses, Jan. 27). Not only do your readers get an esthetically pleasing feature, they also get the perennially entertaining response from other readers (Feb. 10). The uproar is almost as enjoyable as the articles themselves. Keep them coming, please.
RICHARD A. LOVE
I wondered if you received any flak from school principals about the photographs that accompanied the article The Men and the Myth in your Oct. 14 issue. Didn't they consider the pictures of the bodybuilders just as revealing?
Park Ridge, Ill.
I will never understand why people continue to criticize your covers of the girls in bathing suits. Magazines can show people starving in Biafra or being blown open in Vietnam and there is no criticism. I, for one, would rather see your cover any time.
I am a high school student and athlete, and I thought the article was excellent. The girls were not the usual pin-ups but very refreshing models. The world is full of different kinds of taste, and I thought you showed good taste.
Your Jan. 27 issue had some of the most attractive athletes seen in a long time, but let's get back to baseball, football, hockey and other sports.
JEROME S. ABRAMS, M.D.
Many thanks for Robert F. Jones' article on the resurgence of hunting with muzzle-loading weapons (Putting Some Fun into the Gun, Feb. 10). Too often the media dance to the Bambi-lovers' tune; it is a ray of sunshine to find in a major publication a statement revealing some of the joys of hunting. They are many.
Hunting is one of the rare ways in which a sportsman can pit his skills against his environment without seriously endangering it. In fact, hunters harvest a sufficient amount of game to prevent overpopulation, and the money from license fees and equipment-purchase taxes provides financing for wildlife study and management.
Those of us who love hunting enjoy the thrill of the stalk or the chase and being out in the few wild areas left by the urbanizers and the subdividers. Game in the freezer is but an additional bonus. The return of the muzzle-loader makes the hunt more personally fulfilling.
CARL E. BRAUN
Robert F. Jones, normally a perceptive and gifted writer, is guilty of a cheap shot in his article when he refers to those of us who are disenchanted with hunting as "Bambi-lovers." Would Jones consider it possible that we are as concerned about the killing of dogs, cows, other hunters and normal people as we are about Bambi?
JOHN R. SCOTFORD JR.
I enjoyed Joe Jares' fine story on the events of the Jimmy Connors-Rod Laver encounter (A Two-Armed Bandit Hits the Jackpot, Feb. 10). However, I must address myself to the statement about Jimmy's racket, "T-2000s are available to the public, but they aren't quite the same. The company makes up Connors' specially for him."
Jimmy switched from a wood racket to the T-2000 soon after it was introduced in 1967. During the past few years a few modifications in the construction of the frame were made, primarily to improve its durability. The adjustments were so slight the average player would find it difficult to distinguish the improved one from the original model.
Jimmy prefers to continue using frames identical to the one with which he started. We are well aware that it is important for a player to have confidence in his racket, so we put aside a substantial quantity of the original model for him. This model is still being used by countless thousands of players.
GENE J. BUWICK
Director, Tennis Promotion
Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
River Grove, Ill.
NO SWEAT (CONT.)
In answer to a letter in your Feb. 3 issue, the late Emil Von Elling, while coaching track at NYU, allowed his athletes a 60-second shower; 20 seconds to get wet, 20 seconds to soap up and 20 seconds to rinse off. It was his feeling you could wash a workout right down the drain.
Worse, however, is any chill you might incur from taking this unnecessary cleansing. Dr. Alexander Leaf in studying the people of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, some of the longest-lived in the world, found that many had not bathed for two years and the record was 10 years.
If health and long life are my concern, I'm not going to worry about my neighbor's nose.
GEORGE SHEEHAN, M.D.
Red Bank, N.J.
I find myself in almost daily contact (in elevators, subways, etc.) with what seems to be a plethora of Dr. George Sheehan's fanatic faithful who believe a "Saturday night bath is ablution enough." My candid observation is that the good doctor should consult a doctor; his nose is in deep trouble.
New York City
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.