What A Passing Parade! The pictures of the Super Bowl in your Jan. 29 issue were great. The cover was fantastic. The story was enjoyable. What more could a person ask for? Probably just the bathing-suit issue!
I have been a subscriber to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for six years now and have been photographing sports for about a year. I would like to congratulate your photographers for four great issues (Jan. 8, et seq.). I knew my renewal through 1980 was worth the price when I saw the cover picture of the Sugar Bowl, with Alabama stopping Penn State from six inches out. The next week's issue contained many superb shots of the NFC and AFC championship games. My favorite was the two-page layout of the rain-soaked Steeler-Oiler contest. Not only did your photographers take great action shots of football, but also of basketball, as the Jan. 22 issue proved. Finally, there was the Super Bowl and your photographers were there capturing all of the game's great moments in 12 superb pictures. Once again, I congratulate you for four great issues.
I truly enjoyed the report of Super Bowl XIII by Dan Jenkins. However, you gave Tom Henderson more ink than other deserving Steelers and Cowboys. The Steelers simply ignored his unprofessional attitude throughout the week and during the game. I'm not surprised to learn that he calls himself "Hollywood." After all, he's a better actor than a football player. By talking so much during Super Bowl week he seemed to be giving us a preview of his role in his first movie, Jaws XIII.
KEVIN A. JOSEPH
Upper St. Clair, Pa.
The Monday morning quarterbacks were eager to pin goat horns on Jackie Smith for dropping a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. However, my dog Nicky has proved conclusively that it wasn't Smith's fault. According to Nicky, the blame for the incomplete pass has to be placed on Roger Staubach, who threw a lob pass instead of the usual bullet. And how did Wonder Dog reach this conclusion? Elementary. This versatile canine loves to catch popcorn by mouth at distances of one to six feet. He rarely misses bullets or fastballs, but when I take something off the toss, he muffs it every time. He just can't handle the soft lob pass because it throws his timing off. That's why Smith has been officially exonerated by the Highland Commissioner of Fireplugs.
One quote in particular caught my attention in Robert Boyle's article (All's Not Tranquil at Placid, Jan. 15). The words were attributed to LPOOC Broadcast and Marketing Division Chairman John Wilkens, a man who is admittedly aggressive when it comes to chasing a buck (the green kind without fur). There is a familiar ring to the phrase "I'm not a crook." Was it not first made popular in a similar context by Richard Nixon?
The efforts of the Master Anglers and the Masters Tournament (Flocking to the January Sails, Jan. 29) have set conservation standards that have maintained a fabulous fishing hole—Palm Beach to Stuart—for many years. We release our sailfish, and have a rule that all other fish (wahoo, dolphin, king-fish and barracuda) are to be released during the tournament.
We sincerely hope that all "on the dock" tournaments are eliminated. We would be happy to share our rules and experiences with other members of the angling fraternity.
Masters Tournament Chairman
New York, N.Y.
The Philadelphia Phillies may not ever win another division championship, even with the acquisition of Pete Rose, but they have distinguished themselves in that they are the only team in baseball to have more hotdogs on the field than in the stands.
Re Yankee from Louisiana, by Sam Moses (Jan. 22): the only fault that I can find with Ron Guidry is the way he spells his name.
Having been a teammate of Ronnie Guidry's at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, I reveled in your article about him. I was reminded of the night we played non-conference rival LSU in Baton Rouge. The outcome of the game has been long forgotten and is unimportant—it was Guidry's performance that was memorable.
Our coach, Bobby Banna, "allowed" Ronnie to pitch only three innings (we had an important conference game two days later). In the first inning, Guidry threw nine pitches, all called strikes. In the second and third innings, a few of the opposing players managed to wave at the ball after it went by, but the results were the same; nine pitches resulting in three strikeouts in each inning. Those were the hardest 27 pitches I have ever seen. It is so gratifying to see the real cream rise to the top.
I very much enjoyed Larry Keith's story (The Wizard of Washington, Jan. 29) and certainly would not argue against the fact that the DeMatha High basketball program has been a smashing success and therefore very much in the public eye in the past several years. However, I feel that the Mount Vernon High (N.Y.) basketball team, which gets little publicity outside Westchester County, is worthy of comparison. For whatever reason, DeMatha draws many of the "best junior-high and CYO players around Washington" as evidenced by Percy White's "five-hour" commute from Oxon Hill, Md. Our MVHS is a public school and only Mount Vernon residents attend. Despite this handicap, MVHS has had seven players drafted by the pros in the past decade. This year's team now has a record of 15-1, including a 32-point shellacking of Washington, D.C.'s Mackin H.S. (a regular opponent of DeMatha) last month in the Long Island Lutheran Invitational Tournament. Though DeMatha was ranked No. 1 among high school pollsters last year, we in Mount Vernon, who are biased of course, doubt that anyone could have defeated our Knights.
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
If the top five players in men's tennis—Connors, Borg, Vilas, Gerulaitis and McEnroe—show indifference and even disdain for the Grand Prix Masters tournament, they can find reasons everywhere. Curry Kirkpatrick's otherwise perceptive piece (Blistering Anticlimax, Jan. 22) didn't even bother to mention that:
1) Even double losers can wind up winning the Masters title.
2) The Masters is inconclusive. A year ago Connors, Borg and Vilas wound up with 1-1 records against each other, yet Connors ended up with the title. This year there would have been another unsettling stalemate had Ashe beaten McEnroe in the final.
3) Meaningless round-robin matches between losers bore both players and fans.
4) Because players qualify for the Masters by amassing yearlong Grand Prix Circuit points, the system has become a mindless measurement of endurance and "quantity" play rather than "quality" play.
Spoiled, greedy or selfish players aren't what's wrong with the Masters. The fault is the format.
After reading the article The Juniors Sure Ain't Child's Play (Jan. 8), I must say that I am disgusted with the antics of Andrea Jaeger. After reading of her "court manners" and after watching John McEnroe's on television, I began to wonder. I baby-sit for a 5-year-old who throws tremendous temper tantrums. Will he "grow up" to be a tennis star, too?
Penticton, British Columbia
This past summer during a club tennis match my 12-year-old daughter put on an Andrea Jaeger-like display of poor sportsmanship. My wife and I endured about five minutes of her brattish behavior, then I informed my daughter's 17-year-old opponent that the match was over and that she was the victor. My surprised daughter was even more surprised when she was promptly turned over my knee and given the spanking she so richly deserved (her first since age 6).
I relate this story to make it clear that the parents of some tennis-playing youngsters really want their children to learn fair play and sportsmanship along with the other skills champions need. I encourage my children to win, but in doing so I also require that they remain civilized human beings. Encouraging or allowing children to act like spoiled brats on the tennis court can only serve to hurt the game and, worse, the poor kids who aren't taught any better.
If possible, kindly withhold my name. My daughter is not proud of her behavior that day, and she is even less anxious to have her punishment broadcast to others.
NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD
BIRDS VS. SQUIRRELS (CONT.)
Regarding the letters concerning squirrel-proof bird feeders (19TH HOLE, Jan. 8), I devised a feeder that I have been using in many locations for more than 20 years. I have never seen a squirrel overcome it, although many have tried. Just tie a string of fishing line to a tree branch. Below that, tie a piece of Slinky, the child's spiral-spring toy available at any toy store (a fair substitute can be made by wrapping springy wire around a broom handle). Below that, hang a light feeding tray, such as a half-pound plastic margarine cup. Below that, tie on a little bell—just for fun—and a stabilizing weight.
Squirrels can run down the string, but not past the Slinky. It stretches and contracts, pinching them and scaring them off. The tray swings back and forth, bobs up and down and whirls around and around. Big birds—blue jays and such—get too much action and give up. On rare occasions a cardinal masters it. Sparrows and other nuisance birds cannot cling to the moving tray. But the little clinging birds, the nuthatches, chickadees, hairy and downy woodpeckers, etc., love it. They fly in at full tilt, swing and bob and whirl—and feed. My present feeder hangs from an eave above my porch (no squirrels here). I sit inside a big window, six feet away, and have counted at one time six tufted titmice eating their seed or waiting their turn. They complain when the tray is empty.
I've just now read your Nov. 27 issue and the amusing VIEWPOINT on bird feeders by Jeannette Bruce. After years of experimenting with this and that squirrel deterrent, my family and I have finally solved the age-old problem. We now call it "our bird-and-squirrel-feeding station."
In golf we have a game similar to the new betting game in tennis described in SCORECARD (Jan. 22). We call it "gammon," after the game of backgammon. You bet on each hole. Opponents can challenge each other to double the wager once each hole by announcing "gammon." The challenge must be accepted or the original bet is conceded. Our game is fiendish, but fun.
R. C. DUNLAP Jr.
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