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Original Issue


I really enjoyed Ron Fimrite's ON THE SCENE column in the Nov. 24 issue, telling about the Instant Replay bar in Santa Barbara, Calif. But Fimrite says that Instant Replay owner Clyde Bennett has been videotaping teams and showing them on his big screen since April 22 and then adds, "It's questionable if an operation as extensive as Bennett's could succeed anywhere outside of Santa Barbara." Ha! Filthy McNasty's Saloon in beautiful downtown Seneca Falls, N.Y. has been taping teams since early in the spring of 1979. Maybe Seneca Falls isn't Santa Barbara, but I can assure you that our athletes, near-athletes, once-were athletes, never-were athletes and never-will-be athletes enjoy seeing themselves on the big screen as much as anyone in Santa Barbara does.

We hereby challenge the Instant Replay bar to a Softball game on a neutral field in, say, Kansas City, the losers to go back to the winners' bar and watch themselves on the big screen.
Filthy McNasty's Inc.
Seneca Falls, N.Y.

Douglas S. Looney's article on Notre Dame (Notre Dame Had 'Bama Bound, Nov. 24) was fantastic. The only thing wrong was that SI didn't own up to the fact that it didn't rank the Irish in the Top 20 in its college football preview (Sept. 1). You should have known better. When a Notre Dame coach announces his retirement at the beginning of the season, you can be sure the Irish players will see to it that he leaves with a national championship.
Shrewsbury, Mass.

In my opinion, sportswriting hit a new low when Douglas S. Looney made light of Coach Bear Bryant's willingness to accept the blame when Alabama loses a football game. I am anxiously awaiting the day when Bryant's influence will extend to all coaches and players in the nation, so that they will accept victory or defeat with the same class and good sportsmanship that the Alabama coach and his team do.
Athens, Ala.

Unlike Notre Dame's fans, who are behind their coach, win or tie, Crimson Tide fans appreciate what Coach Bryant is contributing to football at Alabama.

Perhaps everyone makes a big deal out of each Alabama defeat because the Tide loses so infrequently. Example: every 'Bama loss or near-loss this season has been covered in an article in SI.
Huntsville, Ala.

Believe me, there's no discontent with Bear Bryant in my part of the state. I don't know how Douglas S. Looney can hear people whispering so well.
Mobile, Ala.

As Douglas S. Looney said, there is whispered discontent over Bear Bryant in Alabama. Against Notre Dame, there were many costly mistakes made by the Bear, most of which Looney noted in his story. While the Bear is a living legend, he has proved that nobody's perfect.
Huntsville, Ala.

My compliments to Mike DelNagro on his fine article concerning college football's recent shift in thinking (A Real Breath of Fresh Air, Nov. 24). The increased emphasis on passing has created a much more exciting game. There is, however, one slight flaw in the article. Purdue Quarterback Mark Herrmann did throw for 439 yards on Nov. 8 to set a Big Ten single-game passing record, but that achievement came in three quarters of action against Iowa, not Illinois as you reported. Later the same day, Illinois' Dave Wilson passed for 621 yards in a near-upset of Ohio State, breaking Herrmann's record.

The showdown between Herrmann and Wilson took place three weeks earlier. In that game, Herrmann first set the aforementioned record with 371 yards before being taken out. He then watched from the sidelines as Wilson surpassed it by finishing the day with 425.
West Lafayette, Ind.

I read with interest your story on sports in the Persian Gulf (The Name of the Game Is Petrosports, Nov. 17). As a founding member of the United States Sports Academy and as one who has visited Bahrain on several occasions, I commend you on the excellent treatment given to that small, strategically located, rapidly emerging island nation. It would have been very easy for writer J.D. Reed to emphasize the bizarre to the detriment of a fair description of the political-social-economic milieu that has developed as a result of the influx of petrodollars.

Bahrainis are gentle, sensitive, concerned people who view the United States as a friend and ally, although our behavior at the national level often leaves them in doubt about our intentions.
Dean of the College of Education
University of South Alabama
Mobile, Ala.

Is it any wonder that Shaikh Mana "clicks worry beads with one hand and smokes a cigarette with the other" when he has a hockey league of six teams, "made up mostly of specially imported Canadians and Europeans," playing two games a week in a rink that holds only 1,500 spectators? Every NHL team should have a business manager astute enough to make that arrangement pay off. Thank Allah for petrodollars!

J.D. Reed's article is informative on the upsurge in athletic activity in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. The Dubai sports complex is a lovely one, but I believe that the hockey league to which Reed refers consists of five teams manned by players from the business community. Per Ake Jonsson and Per Zachrisson of our firm, Gulf Agency Company, participate enthusiastically as members of the Dubai Vikings, a team made up of Swedes. Zachrisson was imported all the way from the neighboring emirate, Sharjah, but he filled the Vikings' need for an "enforcer." Not that he's about to attract any NHL scouts; Zachrisson is 32 and weighs 158 pounds.

Kidding aside, it doesn't hurt to list hockey playing skills on one's resume when applying for a job in Dubai.
Summit, N.J.

Please thank Jack McCallum for letting me reminisce about my boyhood. His article about Electric Football (SHOPWALK, NOV. 24) is so true to life that I vividly recalled playing the game with my brother 15 or 20 years ago. I'd like to add the following comments:

The bases of the figures could be interchanged, but our time-tested fix was to tape the "runners" back, which did the trick.

When the vibration motor quit, you couldn't just run out and buy another set, not on a quarter-a-week allowance, so we improvised. We tapped our index fingers along the sides of the board to get the play started.

As for passing, we had a general ground rule: if springman passed the felt ball to within 10 "yards" (as measured on the game board) of the receiver/defender, it was a reception/interception.

I'm saving my set for my two young sons to play with. I can hardly wait.
Brewster, N.Y.

Jack McCallum's article on Electric Football made me vibrate with laughter. I thought I was the only one who ever enjoyed watching "Mean Joe" Reds and Yellows immobilize their own teammates or run perfect circular patterns. I also feel better knowing that someone else spent halftime searching for that little felt football after springman hurled it into the night.
Glens Falls, N.Y.

Jack McCallum reminded me of some of the stunts I pulled when I played Electric Football. Not only did I keep individual player stats, but I even went so far as to play night games by turning out all the lights and illuminating the field with a desk lamp. My parents thought I had really gone crazy when, to add realism for imaginary Vikings and Bills home games, I sprinkled the field with flour to represent snow.
Columbus, Ohio

The neighborhood I lived in had a league of its own, and whenever the playing field had a breakdown, we would just draw a gridiron on top of the washing machine and turn it on.
Bremerton, Wash.

My experience with Electric Football goes back a bit further, to the early 1950s, when the players were metal instead of today's plastic. One team was blue, the other gray, but the results were the same.

I saved the men from that early set, and they provided the basis for an interesting comparison when I purchased a more modern version of the game. What would be the result, I wondered, of a match between the modern stars (plastic) and the oldtimers (metal)?

Since the metal players were heavier than the plastic ones, the oldtimers formed an impenetrable flying wedge, which resulted in a touchdown on every play. The oldtimers' "steel curtain" defense made the Pittsburgh Steelers version look like papier-m‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¢chè.
Newport News, Va.

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