GEORGE ALLEN'S DEPARTURE
George Allen was not chased out of Washington by the fans, but by the sportswriters. I was absolutely disgusted to read Joe Marshall's article about Allen being fired (Let's Start the Music, Jan. 30). It appears Marshall is just joining the detractors. He pointed out that Allen often has been called "devious and deceitful." Doesn't it look kind of fishy that as soon as Allen was fired. Jack Pardee resigned as head coach of the Chicago Bears, was immediately the leading choice as a successor to Allen and was signed within a week? In all fairness, how can you accuse Allen of job hunting and not even mention the possibility that Edward Bennett Williams was searching for a new coach while Allen was still under contract?
Any dedicated football fan can clearly see why Allen left Washington. I suspect it had very little to do with stock options and a great deal to do with the fact that he has taken a football team, the Washington Redskins, and. through bad management and frivolous drafting, totally decimated it.
You mention that Allen has taken his team to the playoffs five out of the last seven years. This is impressive. What is just as impressive, though, is that in two of the last three years, the Redskins have not been there. I suspect that Allen left Washington because he knew his number was up.
JOSEPH J. RICCI
Poland Spring, Maine
There is one exception to Joe Marshall's postulate, which says that NFL coaches are hired to be fired: Tom Landry of the world champion Dallas Cowboys. He has proved over the years that he is the best there is.
M. D. LEONARD
That the Giants did not hire George Allen the second he became available is totally incomprehensible to me. John McVay is probably a nice guy, but he is not the man most likely to turn the Giants around. Allen would have given the Giants some leadership, some dedication and some hope.
SAM B. COSTANTINO
THE PRO BOWL VOTE
Your SCORECARD item (Jan. 23) regarding John Hannah of the New England Patriots stated in part: "Curiously, Hannah was not selected to play in this year's Pro Bowl, for which the coaches do the voting."
The statement is incorrect. Beginning this year, the voting to select Pro Bowl players was by both coaches and players. Each team in each conference had two equal votes—the vote of its head coach and the consensus vote of its players.
A check of the AFC balloting shows that Hannah received considerable support. He finished tied for second in the voting by the coaches and fourth in the voting by the players. The composite placed Hannah fourth in the balloting behind Joe DeLamielleure, Gene Upshaw and Bob Kuechenberg, the three selectees at guard.
VAL PINCHBECK JR.
Assistant to the President
American Football Conference
New York City
It was very kind of you to include our daughter Merilyn in FACES IN THE CROWD (Jan. 16). However, the face you featured was not Merilyn's. We would be most appreciative if a correction of this error could be made in one of your future issues.
NORMA F. CHAPMAN
•For a picture of gymnast Merilyn Chapman, see below. SI apologizes to Merilyn, who at last December's British Invitational became the first American since 1970 to win an all-around title while competing directly against U.S.S.R. gymnasts. SI also apologizes to 15-year-old Tricia Stultz of Braddock Heights. Md., whose photograph appeared in Merilyn's place. Tricia, a center forward for the Middletown (Md.) High School junior varsity and varsity field hockey teams, earned consideration as a Face in the Crowd by scoring 24 goals in her sophomore season and seven goals in one jayvee game, the latter feat establishing school, league and county records.—ED.
PLIMPTON ON SKATES
Part I of George Plimpton's essay on goaltending (Bozo the Bruin, Jan. 30) was a masterpiece and representative of his writing skill. I am a hockey fan (Flyers) and have read a lot about the game, but only Plimpton has provided me with an insight into its romantic aspects. He has done this by his perceptiveness and mood-setting analogies. Add to these a lacing of humor, and a description of the nuts and bolts of goaltending. and you have a reading experience. Thank you, George Plimpton! Thank you, SI!
JOHN F. HOCK
I was enthralled, amused, informed, entertained, enriched and delighted. George Plimpton showed the lighter side of professional hockey while acknowledging the ferocity of the sport.
George Plimpton tells better than anyone what it is like on the ice and why, after you have played the game, you are hooked.
Score a goal for George Plimpton, but not without a big assist from good old Jim (Seaweed) Pettie. Seaweed's comments made the article outstanding reading.
How long must we endure George Plimpton? He has been battered on the pro football field, bloodied in the ring and now he flutters on the ice like some effete moth, proving for the umpteenth time that his athletic efforts are an embarrassment to watch. He's a dilettante at all sports. Why restate the fact?
MICHAEL S. ASHMAN
If George Plimpton could play goalie as well as he can write, the Bruins would have another Vezina Trophy in their showcase.
BATHING BEAUTIES (CONT.)
There are two issues of SI that I await with the eager anticipation of a bear searching out his first meal following a long winter's hibernation. First, the bathing-suit issue (Jan. 16). I can think of no better way to warm my innards than by soaking in the glow of Cheryl Tiegs' smile and dreaming of sunny beaches. Second, the 19TH HOLE (Jan. 30) containing reactions to the bathing-suit edition. The range of the reactions, from "Wow" to "Cancel my subscription immediately," keeps me chuckling each year, and renewing my subscription. I wonder when my old high school librarian will write in accusing you of corrupting our youth. Little did she know of the locker-room photo clinic spearheaded by our right tackle. Woweee! On to next January!
Your annual bathing-suit issue is not as revealing as the letters that always follow it.
J. M. TURNER
Pat Putnam's article on the Roberto Duran-Esteban DeJesus fight was great (A Solid Right to the Title, Jan. 30). SPORTS ILLUSTRATED stands alone in its coverage of championship boxing, and I am especially glad that you include the lighter weight classes. That's where some of the finest boxers are, including lightweight champion Duran. who just might be the best boxer alive. Now Panama has produced two champions (at least): Duran and baseball's Rod Carew.
íBueno! You couldn't have said it better. Roberto Duran is the one and only champ!
Keyser, W. Va.
I really enjoyed your article and pictures on indoor midget auto racing in Indiana (Come In, the Noise Is Frightful, Jan. 30). However, another driver deserving of mention is Mel Kenyon. the 1977 USAC midget champion. His accomplishments are worthy of an entire article. Despite losing most of his left hand in a 1965 racing accident, he has won a record total of five USAC midget crowns and is the alltime leader in midget feature wins, with more than 85 to his credit. He also has placed in the top five at Indy on four different occasions. Kenyon is to midget racing what A. J. Foyt is to USAC championship racing and is quite possibly the best ever to drive the mighty little cars. Moreover, he is a gentleman and a credit to the sport.
NOT SO REMOTE
In the article about Earvin Johnson (Just Another Guy Named Earvin, Jan. 23) you stated that Michigan State Basketball Coach Jud Heathcote had been an assistant at "remote Washington State and a head man at even remoter Montana." In Heathcote's fourth year at Montana, he led the Grizzlies to the Big Sky title and a first-round NCAA playoff victory over Utah State before losing to eventual national champion UCLA 67-64. If your reporting on Montana continues in this vein, SI will become remote here.
I enjoyed Robert F. Jones' fine article on the care and feeding of partridge (A Firm Stand for the Quaking Aspen, Jan. 30), but I was sure grousing last winter after those birds ate most of the big, fat fruit buds from more than 3,000 young highbush blueberry plants in a selection nursery at Jonesboro, Maine. Next time maybe they will leave enough for us to evaluate the blueberry progenies for winter hardiness and fruit quality.
I have no direct information on whether or not Maine's sweet lowbush blueberry provides a significant food source for partridge. We have more than 40,000 acres in commercial production. The much smaller fruit buds, deep snow coverage in the winter and lack of cover for the partridge probably would all discourage its general use as a food source.
PAUL R. HELPER
Associate Professor of Horticulture
University of Maine at Orono
THE HONEST APPROACH
Your item "Honesty Gets Mugged" in SCORECARD (Jan. 30) brought to mind an opposite experience. Last year I was a coach of a fourth-grade girls' soccer team. We sent in accurate information on our team, including ages, which meant that we had to play in the age 10-to-12 league because several of our players would turn 10 before the end of the year. The experience of our team was zero, while the other teams averaged several seasons' experience.
We did not win a game. Even worse, we did not score a goal. This was pretty hard on the coaches and the parents, but the girls were playing with the same enthusiasm at the end of the season as at the start. And when we distributed team pictures and participation trophies, one would have thought the team had won them all. Winning is great, but these girls taught us adults that it is not everything.
JOHN P. BOONE
"NORMAL" TENNIS (CONT.)
Congratulations to Peter Nord for cutting through the babble of the experts to show us tennis as we've come to know and hate it (The Game Normal People Play, Jan. 23). However, Nord overlooks the useful tool of racket personification. After smoothly stroking a backhand off the far fence or placing a service return at your own feet instead of at your opponent's, glare at your racket. This lets spectators know that your racket is an autonomous thing and the true cause of your sins.
If personification fails, loudly inquire of a friend on the sidelines where in heck he found the racket you are borrowing. You may lose some friends, but at least you'll salvage enough dignity to hack away another day.
British Invitational winner Merilyn Chapman.
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