I had been anticipating the arrival of your annual special issue. The Year in Sports, and now that I have read it, I find only one word to describe it: unbelievable! I have never before seen such an array of sports photographs in one magazine. My congratulations to Don Delliquanti and the entire crew at SI for making a great year in sports even better.
Simi Valley, Calif.
I couldn't pick out the best picture because all were so outstanding. It was a fantastic year in sports and your special issue topped it off.
North Miami Beach, Fla.
I couldn't resist writing to let SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Kenny Moore know how much I enjoyed his story on the Golden Mile (The Golden Mile: the Torch Is Passed).
Moore is as talented with his pen as Sebastian Coe is with his spikes. The story was incredibly moving and told it like it really is. It almost made me wish I were a miler...almost.
Kenny Moore's informative view of the runners—before, during and after the Oslo Mile—is the sweetest piece of writing on the sport I've ever read.
South Berwick, Maine
Well, we should be used to it by now. In your section on college football you have a two-page picture with splashy headlines about how USC "boosted 'Bama" to No. 1 and only a two-thirds-page picture at the end of the section on the national champs. Come on!
The minute I saw your special issue I sat down and devoured it. What a case of indigestion! One picture of the NASL's Trevor Whymark at the back of the magazine is not how a professional soccer league should be covered.
One lousy picture on the NHL season? That's disgusting!
Don't you people know what lacrosse is?
Again this year I failed to find any mention of harness racing.
You will never get a rating of 10 if your special issue continues to ignore the accomplishments of U.S. gymnasts. The omission was especially glaring this year because Kurt Thomas received the Sullivan Award for being the outstanding amateur athlete of 1979.
BILL R. SHELTON
Chamber of Commerce
You're a lifesaver! While my sister was home from college, she chucked my copy of your swimsuit issue in disgust. She has since returned to school, and now you have brought Christie Brinkley back to me via The Year in Sports. I thank you, and the walls of my room thank you.
I take issue with William F. Reed's contention that the NCAA basketball tournament has lost its "kick," having been "diluted" by the increase of the field to 48 teams (VIEWPOINT, March 17). The most eloquent rebuttal to the dilution charges is the fact that three of the final four teams in this year's tournament (Iowa, Purdue and UCLA) finished third or worse in their respective conferences and would never have been invited to the sort of 16-team tournament that Reed prefers. Another statistic that shows the parity of talent among college teams this season is that there was a total of 105 regular-season losses among the 16 regional semifinalists. You could also point to the number of upsets in the tournament and the closeness of the scores when favored teams did win. The balance in college basketball demands an expanded field—and the fans are the beneficiaries. The relevant question now is: Are 48 teams enough?
Berrien Springs, Mich.
I couldn't agree more with William F. Reed. The NCAA tournament is diluted, and so is the quality of regular-season play. Why should a team kill itself for three months when it can coast to a mediocre season and still make the NCAA tournament? For example, the final game of the SEC race, between Kentucky and LSU, decided the conference champion. Big deal. No matter which team won, both were going to play again, this time in the postseason SEC tournament. But wait, no matter who won that championship, both teams were going to the NCAA tournament anyway and would play in the region that best suited the NCAA.
The way things are going, the regular-season conference standings and races don't mean a thing. They might as well put everyone in a big arena and start playing the NCAA tournament right after Thanksgiving!
CARL J. STASIUNAS
A REALLY GOOD JOE
Several times during the many years I have enjoyed SI I have wanted to write and compliment you on your well written articles. Your report on Joe Paterno and Penn State football ("There Are a Lot of People Who Think I'm a Phony and Now They Think They Have Proof," March 17) left me no choice.
As a walk-on who unsuccessfully tried to make Penn State's talented 1969 football team, I found Douglas S. Looney's account right on target. Those few months during which I was directly involved in Paterno's program forever instilled in me important principles that we all should apply every day: give everyone a fair, equal opportunity; always put forth your best effort; and be aware of the lasting rewards of sharing.
Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Your article about Joe Paterno explored the many human frailties of the legendary Joe. However, his record speaks for itself: one of the best overall programs in the nation for more than 10 years; a percentage of graduates higher than that of most other major university athletic programs; and the philosophy of "it's only a game." Sure, the pressures of big-time football are there, but Joe, his staff and players have shown again and again that you can be a class outfit without sacrificing morality and ethics. So Joe is having a rough time. He'll pull through, and he has the support of students, alumni and friends. He certainly is human, but he's a class guy.
Penn State '73
The best evidence that Joe Paterno practices what he preaches is Pete Harris. How many other coaches would have let a junior All-America, who led the country in interceptions, go the way of academic ineligibility?
As for Pitt Coach Jackie Sherrill's comment, Joe doesn't tell other schools how to run their programs, he just gives the other coaches something to strive for.
Whether his record is 8-4 or 12-0, we still like Joe's style!
JERRY AND JEAN FLECKENSTEIN
Your article about Joe Paterno was almost as boring as Penn State's football team.
Where is Penn State? You started out your Joe Paterno article by correctly saying that it is located in State College, Pa. Later you relocated it in College Station, home of Texas A&M. Then, at the conclusion of your article, you moved it to College Park, home of the Maryland Terrapins. State College may be "somewhere south of oblivion," but to Penn State's loyal following it's known as Happy Valley.
You were 100% correct when you stated that Penn State needs an imaginative offensive coordinator. Amen!
DANIEL A. GIFFORD
Camp Hill, Pa.
Actually, Penn State is located in University Park, in the borough of State College.
University Park, Pa.
The article on women bodybuilders by Dan Levin (Here She Is, Miss, Well, What? March 17) was incredible. Ever since I first saw the sport showcased on TV's Real People, I have been fascinated with the developed female form; I never knew women could be so muscular and yet so beautiful. Their femininity is not lost by development, nor is my masculinity threatened. I hope this story brings the sport out of the gym and into the spotlight.
JOHN M. EVERINGHAM
Dan Levin's article on women's bodybuilding wasn't as inspirational as the pictures that accompanied it. During the years Eve been working with weights, I have never been sure what I could look like. I originally thought Jane Frederick was a good model, but now Cammie Lusko, Kay Baxter and Laura Combes have replaced her.
LAURA R. KINSEY
As to those brawny broads, more power to them.
I have never seen anything so gross in my life. This will be the biggest setback to women's athletics since Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court. If women want to lift weights to firm up, strengthen or tone their muscles, that's great. But if they are seeking to develop the kind of massive bulky muscles usually seen only on men, that's disgusting.
RON K. BUTLER
Does this mean we can expect a future article about men trying to look like women?
Bemus Point, N.Y.
Ugly! Ugly! Ugly!
Being three weak college students without draft deferments, your Miss What? article has proved to us that our female population could do well representing the U.S. Army in combat. We just wish Congress would review your piece on women's bodybuilding and leave us to our heavy books.
BRUCE H. WARD
KENDALL P. SCHMIDT
PETER J. URBON
O.K. O.K.! Ed rather see the annual swim-suit issue than the swimsuits on the female bodybuilders!
Regarding your article on women bodybuilders, you may be interested to know that we conducted a survey of our morning listeners about what they thought of the sport. Approximately 75% were against it or couldn't understand why any woman would want to participate. Twenty-five percent were for it, saying why not? The callers who were "for" were all female.
We took another survey—of the station deejays—on whether we should pin up the pictures from the SI article. The vote was overwhelmingly against that idea. I don't think Christie Brinkley has anything to worry about.
Radio Station WANS-FM
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.