1977 IN REVIEW
I thoroughly enjoyed your special issue, The Year in Sports. The photography was breathtaking, from a patented Dr. J slam dunk to the surfer plunging through the tube of the ultimate wave. The one thing I think you bypassed was the best of the girls in your bathing-suit issues. Shame on you!
I hope you continue to publish these special issues.
Fantastic! Unlike your bathing-suit issue, your special issue covered everything.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Once again SI can lay claim to having the top sports photographers in the world.
The emotions that your photographers captured moved me from laughter to tears.
PATRICIA A. PARKIN
Special congratulations should go to Frank Deford for his beautiful interpretation of a true champion (Morsels from the Feast).
The picture that particularly struck me was the one of Bill Walton of the Portland Trail Blazers and NBA official Richie Powers with their arms around each other. Following a year in which officials took a lot of abuse, whether justified or not, that one poignant photograph shows that peace can be maintained between athletes and officials. Perhaps we fans should take careful note.
Your special issue is great, but your golf priorities are astonishing. Hubert Green wins the U.S. Open and rates only a shot (2¾" by 3") in the rough—hardly a typical location for a national champion!
In the section on golf one of your picture captions stated, "Watson's putt falls, the king is dead, long live the king." That is a big put-down of Jack Nicklaus. Tom Watson had a great 1977 season, but everyone is blowing his achievements way out of proportion. You are doing the same thing to Watson that you did to Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf. Each of them had outstanding years, then Jack came back and beat them both.
I'm mad. Where was your coverage of college hockey? My alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, hasn't won a major football or basketball honor in years, but in 1977 the Badgers won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title and the NCAA championship, boasted the Coach of the Year in Bob Johnson and the WCHA Rookie of the Year in Coach Johnson's son Mark, and had three All-America players—Julian Baretta, Craig Norwich and Mike Eaves. Somehow I feel we deserve at least passing notice.
Only one picture and paragraph on the fastest-growing sport in America? Pelè certainly deserves the space he received, but let us not forget that there is a whole soccer league out there that is quickly moving into the realm of big-time sports. The loss of Pelè is a blow to the NASL, but, with or without him, soccer is alive and well in America.
I think you have a lot of nerve calling attention to the women's section by saying, "Women gained greater acceptance after years of struggle." Considering the fact that only five of the 144 pages of your special issue were set aside for women's sports, I'd say we haven't gained much at all.
PHYLLIS L. WINTERS
Last May Karl Striedieck made the first 1,000-mile flight—out and return—in glider history. He flew from Lock Haven, Pa. to Oak Ridge, Tenn. and back, a total distance of 1,016 miles. His elapsed time was 14 hours, three minutes. It was soaring's equivalent to breaking the four-minute mile. The flight required skill, courage and physical stamina. Striedieck deserves a place alongside the other greats of 1977.
Thanks for giving Arkansas basketball the recognition it deserves (Now the Razors Have the Edge, Feb. 13). The outstanding cover photograph of Sidney Moncrief is one of your best ever.
Larry Keith's article on the Arkansas-Texas shoot-out was good, too. However, it could have used a little more Hog meat and a bit less sour [Abe] Lemons. Arkansas Coach Eddie Sutton is 87-22 in his four years at Arkansas and has brought a touch of class to the Southwest Conference. The Razorbacks' 51-4 record during the past two seasons is one of the best in major college basketball, and their 25-2 record this year speaks for itself. See you in St. Louis.
Little Rock, Ark.
Manny Millan's spectacular action shot of Sidney Moncrief was one of the greatest photographs ever to be displayed on your cover. The expressions of the players, coaches and fans depict the excitement that the return of the dunk has brought to the college game.
That cover shot of Sidney Moncrief was incredible! I think it even beats the cover picture of Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X (Jan. 26, 1976).
IN THE KANSAS TRADITION
As soon as I saw Robert Heindel's illustrations (A Whole Lot of Hoopla, Feb. 13), I knew that the article had to be about Kansas. Basketball at KU is more than a spectator sport, more than winning or losing. It is a part of student life, an area of affection between a community and a team.
My first day on campus, I was told two things: 1) that Kansas State was our archrival with a capital "A"; and 2) that Kansas basketball was the greatest in the world. Twelve years later it's nice to know that some things never change.
WILLIAM A. BANDLE JR.
Once again SI has seen fit to do a hatchet job on the University of Maryland (You Don't Know Them, Al, Feb. 13). In your Jan. 3, 1972 issue (Sweating Through the Dreads), we were asked the rhetorical question, "What can be said about a sophomore basketball team that died?" We got the same kind of treatment in your Jan. 22, 1973 issue (A Lesson for the Preacher Man), when the Terps lost a close game to a fine N.C. State team. And now, in 1978, we hear all about a talent-rich, victory-poor, dissension-racked Maryland team. The only thing you have not done—yet—is lead the Amen chorus against us. But I wouldn't bet against it.
STEVEN A. GAINEY
Your article about Albert King and the Maryland basketball team is, unfortunately, accurate. As a Maryland fan, I had sincerely hoped during this season that the Maryland players would exchange their personal-glory goals for team finesse and spirit. Obviously the players still have their "me first" convictions and are unable to cope with making assists or setting picks. I'm not going to give up on Maryland yet, but I'd rather have my hot dogs in the stands than on the court.
One thing Kent Hannon did not point out is how young this Maryland team is. For most of the season, the starting lineup has consisted of two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior. Sometimes senior Lawrence Boston starts. Hannon also failed to mention the main reason for such poor team play: the absence of a floor leader. Maryland had such a player in Guard Brad Davis, but lost him to the Los Angeles Lakers in the hardship draft. No one has been able to fill his shoes.
The ACC tournament is only a couple of weeks away and Maryland may surprise people who are down on the team.
CHARLES L. WADE JR.
I enjoyed Curry Kirkpatrick's story in the Feb. 13 issue (Going Like Blazers), but he neglected to mention that the journalist Bill Walton smashed in the face with a marsh-mallow pie was Kirkpatrick himself, after he was wrapped in a blanket by Maurice Lucas. I saw it on the news and Kirkpatrick's helpless laughter just before the dastardly deed was done cheered me up immensely after a blue day. Everything and everybody connected with the Blazers seems to cheer us up here in Oregon.
Sweet Home, Ore.
I suppose that if Ingemar Stenmark were not "about as colorful as a Swedish meatball," his brilliant performance at Garmisch-Partenkirchen would have rated a cover (Whipping the Cream of the Crop, Feb. 13). His excellent performances in the slalom and giant slalom are far more memorable than the amusing anecdotes I've read concerning other athletes.
Thank you nonetheless for your coverage of World Cup skiing and the FIS championships. I thoroughly enjoy reading about "the silent Swede's" triumphs.
FOR THE BIRDS
Thank you so much for Bird Thou Never Wert (Feb. 13). At the advanced age of 33, I'm still involved with all the sports commonly learned in high school, but my recently discovered interest in birding seems to fill the voids of boredom as nothing else ever has.
WILLIAM G. RYAN, D.D.S.
As a rather inept amateur golfer, basketball player, swimmer, baseball player and football official, I enjoy your magazine for its usually splendid catholic coverage. But when did bird watching become a sport deserving of a feature-length article? I'm sure your readers have many different "favorite" sports, but, really, can bird watching be considered a sport? A short article perhaps, but, please, no more feature-length prose.
For lack of anything better to read, I resorted to the article by Robert Cantwell. Anyone who skipped over it for more "interesting" reading missed an excellent story that informed and entertained. I'm not much for birding, but Cantwell held my attention.
Mountain Lake, Minn.
AGAINST THE BEAR
Your FACES IN THE CROWD item (Feb. 13) regarding the first defeat in 5,000 matches of Victor the wrestling bear—by former Southeastern Conference champion Bob Walker—set me back on my heels. Victor's initial defeat came on Jan. 31, 1976 at the hands of Robert Sacavage of Mount Carmel, Pa. during the annual sports show at the Philadelphia Civic Center. Sacavage was a law student at Villanova at the time and was formerly an All-Ivy wrestler and teammate of mine at Columbia.
New York City
As one of the 4,999 previous opponents who softened up Victor for Bob Walker, I think it is fitting that notice of Victor's defeat appeared in SI the same week Muhammad Ali's reign ended. Maybe Victor will retire gracefully, to manage his investments and sit around with younger bears and recall the glory days when he (and Ali) were the best ever.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.