I honestly was one of the 60,525 present at the San Francisco-Dallas NFC championship game (Off on the Wrong Foot, Jan. 18). I cheered mightily during The Drive, knowing in my heart it would work. I stood in my seat high above The Super Catch, marveling at the grace and finality of it.
All week I hoped you might have been lucky enough to have a photographer record Dwight Clark's leaping catch. When I first saw the cover in a store, I cheered aloud. Walter Iooss Jr.'s picture tells it all and is a tribute to your coverage of sports.
FR. GEORGE C. WOLF
Our Lady of Las Vegas
Walter Iooss Jr.'s stunning cover photograph of the Bay Area's favorite 49er, Dwight (All-Universe) Clark, was a masterful job by an excellent photographer. The sight of Clark flying past the helpless Cowboy defender and pulling the ball down from the Big Sky—no pun intended—will remain in the minds of us 49er Faithful for years to come.
TIMOTHY FRANCIS GRIFFIN I
Los Gatos, Calif.
This cover shot by Iooss is as good as—or perhaps even better than—his Jan. 28, 1980 cover photograph of John Stallworth's catch in Super Bowl XIV. Two great pictures by one great photographer!
Before this year, many people across the country had never even heard of Clemson University and had no idea where it was located. However, after your Jan. 11 and Jan. 18 covers, surely this is no longer the case. On Jan. 11 you showed Wide Receiver Perry Tuttle of Clemson's No. 1 football team, and the next week you featured Dwight Clark of the San Francisco 49ers, the leading receiver in the NFC and a former Clemson player. To extend this bit of trivia even further, both were shown scoring touchdowns.
Thank you and David Israel for the fine article on Gus Williams (Sit Up and Take Notice, Jan. 18). The pleasure of watching Williams display his superb basketball skills in 41 games a year, plus playoff's, is an experience I wish all basketball aficionados could have. It takes quite a man as well as a fine athlete to turn public sentiment in his favor after a bitter holdout and at the same time take a 34-48 team back to the heights of the NBA, where it belongs. I look forward to seeing Gus and his teammates in SI again in the spring, when the SuperSonics will win their second championship in four years!
MARK A. BENEZRA
It's about time Gus Williams got the recognition he deserves. He is a warm, sincere, honest individual. Despite adversity, he has never said an unkind word about anyone. To his friends in New York, he is still the same young man who left Mount Vernon in 1971.
If there is one word to describe Williams, it's determination—determination to make the high school team, to get that college scholarship, to make the pros, to win an NBA championship and, yes, to play in an All-Star Game. Thanks for printing his story.
I had the opportunity to work out against Gus Williams last spring during his holdout. It was in an old upstairs gym where frustrated businessmen and some good ballplayers go to play. I was startled at first to see Gus. Why would a pro with all that money come to an old gym and work out against amateurs? I found out after meeting him. He simply loves the game at all levels. I am glad to see him receive the recognition he deserves.
A. DAVID DAWSON
Aw, poor ol' Gus Williams. He was offered only $1.5 million over three years. I can certainly see why he asked for more. I mean, that's practically the poverty level, isn't it? He'd probably have to get a second job. He'd have to do without some bare necessities, like another Saab, and start saving food stamps. In fact, if he hadn't received that extra money, we were going to start a Help Gus Fund. Anyone who doesn't accept a $1.5 million contract isn't worthy of an article in your respected magazine.
DOUG (DUCK) WOLFE
ROD (HINGE) ROWLEY
I know that the 1970-71 Mount Vernon (N.Y.) High team on which Gus Williams, Rudy Hackett and Earl Tatum played was a fine one, but the best high school team that year was East Chicago, Ind.'s Washington High Senators. Their lineup included Pete Trgovich, who went on to play for UCLA's 1973 and 1975 national champions, Junior Bridgeman (1975 NCAA semifinalist Louisville and the Milwaukee Bucks), Tim Stoddard (1974 national champion North Carolina State; now a relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles) and Darnell Adell (Murray State and North Carolina State; now the coach at Washington High). That fine team went 29-0. It also consistently scored in the 90s. The Indianapolis Star called it perhaps the finest Indiana team ever.
Bill Johnson's delightful article on Phil and Steve Mahre (Double Trouble on the Slopes, Jan. 18) brought back memories of a time nearly forgotten, a time when all athletes were as humble and respectful as the Mahre twins. They played their sport not for money and glory, but because it was fun and they enjoyed doing it. They weren't arrogant and greedy men, always looking for the limelight and a higher salary, and they wouldn't go on strike to get such things. They were out on the court, field or slope, striving to improve themselves for the self-satisfaction of it, and for self-respect. Phil and Steve are members of a dying breed of athletes that I, for one, will truly miss.
Iowa City, Iowa
Phil and Steve Mahre are two of the finest athletes—and certainly the two finest skiers—America has produced. In European countries, where awareness of World Cup skiing competition is high, their names are household words. It's a pleasure to see them begin to get the recognition they deserve here in America.
DAVID LAMPERT JR.
PRETTY GOOD GOLFER
Barry McDermott's article on Jan Stephenson (More Than a Pretty Face, Jan. 18) was long overdue. Following Stephenson's amazing 18-under-par performance at the Mary Kay Classic in Dallas last August, I wondered how on earth you could have passed up the chance to have her grace your cover. She is certainly worthy of all the adulation, publicity and money being bestowed upon her. But, as McDermott's article reveals, the athlete or entertainer who sacrifices everything to be the absolute best often shortchanges his or her life in other areas. I just hope that Jan can learn to love life outside of golf as much as her thousands of followers adore her.
Ocean Park, Maine
As one who has always considered golf a non-sport suitable for coverage only on the society pages, I was surprised to find myself reading and actually enjoying Barry McDermott's article. Yep, Jan Stephenson-is much more than a pretty face. She is a very beautiful woman. I don't know whether to be chagrined or excited over the fact that, from now on, I will be scanning the LPGA scores on the sports pages and unashamedly rooting for her.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
San Ramon, Calif.
I just wanted to let you know how deeply impressed I was with Walt Spitzmiller's paintings of the rodeo (Ride 'Em, Dec. 28-Jan. 4). They are powerful—they take one's breath away—and beautiful and so alive!
Thank you for letting Spitzmiller choose his own subject. He obviously loves the rodeo and he made us readers appreciate it more. He's a superb artist.
In response to your article A Game No One Should Have Lost (Jan. 11), I must object to your description of my colleague and former boss, Kurt Benirschke, M.D. (Rolfs father), as a "German-born animal pathologist." While it is true that one of Kurt's current jobs is Director of Research at the San Diego Zoo, he is primarily a physician who also is Professor of Pathology here at the University of California, San Diego Medical School. He spends a considerable part of his time teaching in the medical school and practicing obstetrical and gynecologic pathology at University Hospital. Kurt not only has been chairman of this pathology department, but also was chairman of the same department at Dartmouth Medical School before coming to San Diego.
SIDNEY L. SALTZTEIN, M.D.
Professor of Pathology University of California, San Diego
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