In all the years I have been reading sports magazines, including 25 years of SI, I have never seen the equal of the color photography in your Jan. 7 issue—especially the four pictures of the Tampa Bay-Philadelphia playoff game (Turnover in Tampa Bay).
W. BEN JACKSON
The photograph showing the Tampa Bay Bucs' reaction after recovering an Eagles' fumble is the best I have seen in your magazine ever, and I'm a charter subscriber. Photographer Heinz Kluetmeier has brought the viewer right onto the field, almost inside the play—a fabulous shot.
Your other photos in this issue also are tops; they enhance the pleasure of the reader on almost every page.
FRANK N. PIERCE
The only thing missing from that great shot of Tampa Bay's blitzing Lee Roy Selmon is his cape.
San Diego Coach Don Coryell found it hard to believe that Houston would steal San Diego's signals (The Stolen Signals Caper, Jan. 7), but such ploys are to be expected when so many specialized assistant coaches are hired by every team. Through the years, football has become far more technical and complicated than it needs to be. It is a simple sport and should be governed by one simple rule: keep the game on the field of play.
We Kansas City-area residents spent many enjoyable seasons watching Quarterback Len Dawson lead the Chiefs to two AFL championships and one Super Bowl victory while calling his own plays. The lesson of the Houston-San Diego game is obvious: the NFL must bar continual coaching from the sidelines or face the specter of computer play-calling, more signal-stealing and, ultimately, a Watergate-type bugging of opposing locker rooms.
Prairie Village, Kans.
As far as I'm concerned, the Oilers simply outplayed San Diego. Stolen signals don't help you block field goals or execute a 47-yard touchdown pass play.
San Diego lost only a game. Houston lost its honor.
ROBERT S. CAULK
Jack McCallum's tribute to Clair Bee and his legendary Chip Hilton series (A Hero for All Times, Jan. 7) was a fitting accolade for a writer whose influence over a generation of sports-books enthusiasts is not only immeasurable but also without rival.
As both an English teacher and a librarian, I couldn't disagree more with the statement of Grosset & Dunlap's Dave Lande: "Kids don't read sports fiction anymore." It has been my experience in eight years of teaching that students from the fourth grade up devour any reading material even remotely related to sports. I am sure that if books such as Bee's were available, they would be read. I can think of few better gifts to give to my own son when he becomes old enough to read than Bee's stories about Coach Hank Rockwell and Chip Hilton.
No writer has had a more profound effect on my thought processes and development than Clair Bee. Thank you, SI and Jack McCallum, for extolling the virtues of Chip Hilton. That issue of SI is now carefully tucked away with my Chip Hilton library, awaiting the day when my son is old enough to learn the same lessons of life from Bee that have been so important to me.
MICHAEL F. FERRIS
Many thanks for Jack McCallum's sensitive look back at Chip Hilton and his creator, Clair Bee. I remember reading only one of Bee's 23 volumes, but I was so taken by it that 20 years later it remains an indelible part of my growing up. Inasmuch as the subject of the story was Chip's struggle with an ambitious, unscrupulous assistant coach whose forte was recruiting ineligible athletes, that book has come to mind more than once recently as I've read SI's reports on the current scandals in college sports.
ROBERT C. NEWMAN
At last, out of the closet! Jack McCallum's article on Chip Hilton has allowed this 29-year-old lawyer to admit to all that he still reads Clair Bee's series religiously. I suspect there are thousands of others like me who, because of the article, have been able to come above ground. My wife has even changed her opinion of Chip somewhat, and her comment upon seeing the article—"I'm glad to see someone else is as nuts as you are"—has given me the courage to openly begin my seventh reading of the series.
JAMES M. DAY
Jack McCallum's wonderful reminiscence of the Chip Hilton stories reminds me that they were largely responsible for my getting married. Having read the books as a little girl, my future wife would ask her dates whether they too had read them, apparently making that her test of worthiness (as well she might). I was the first one who answered yes.
ARTHUR H. MILCH
Chip Hilton truly is a hero for all times, and one must wonder if there are any athletes like him still out there someplace. As Clair Bee said, "Yes, I believe there are." I have to believe it.
The only disappointing aspect of the article on Clair Bee's 23 novels was discovering that there really was a Chip Hilton. For years my brother and I have searched for Chip among the athletes we've met, only to find even the best candidates either lacking a little in athletic ability or possessing a slight character flaw that prevented them from measuring up to our hero. We've met people who personify Coach Hank Rockwell and Chip's buddy, Speed Morris, but never a Chip Hilton. And now Jack McCallum reveals that Bob Davies was the prototype for William (Chip) Hilton Jr. Next you'll be telling us that there really is a 10!
As one who has confronted Bob Davies on a tennis court, I can well understand why Clair Bee selected him as the prototype for Chip Hilton. Bob remains a top athlete, a fierce competitor and a model human being.
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