Curry Kirkpatrick's article (He Lit Up the Joint, Sept. 20) on the U.S. Open was the most perceptive and hilarious piece on the sport I've read in years. If the childish antics and adolescent whinings of the top players are deemed entertainment, they are a kind of entertainment that would have to rank somewhere just above swatting mosquitoes. With the proper amount of disrespect, Kirkpatrick summed up my feelings and those of many others toward the circus that professional tennis has been for too long.
You had the opportunity to put together a meaningful story on two former champions, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Lloyd, who turned back the clock on the odds makers and on the young talent, but what you delivered was nothing short of Gonzo-journalistic junk. I am referring to Curry Kirkpatrick's slapstick shellacking of the U.S. Open. What begins as a quasi-serious account of the men's finals quickly degenerates into a denigrating discourse on the sorry state of tennis in the world today. It appeared to me that your reporter was more interested in taking his own overheads at the players than he was in offering insight to the reader. In the future, please just cover the sport.
WAYNE W. SULLIVAN
It seems blatantly unfair that Chris Evert Lloyd was not pictured along with Jimmy Connors on the cover. She is just as much a champion and received just as much money.
That was a fine cover photo of Jimmy Connors. I hope the one that will adorn your Sportsman of the Year issue will be as good.
I was interested in Rick Telander's article on Denison Football Coach Keith Piper and the single wing (A Very Singular Way to Play, Sept. 20). In my four years of high school football—1978-81 at St. Johnsbury (Vt.) Academy—I played quarterback in the T, veer, wishbone and run-and-shoot formations. When I was a junior. Coach Jim Davis installed the single wing, and it helped us to improve our record to 4-5 that season, after consecutive 1-9s. Keep it up, Keith Piper!
St. Johnsbury, Vt.
How dare Rick Telander talk about the single wing and not mention the fine teams at Tennessee under General Bob Neyland? Those teams had some very respectable years. At Kentucky, even under Bear Bryant, we always took extra time before the Tennessee game just to prepare for the single wing.
W. BEN JACKSON
The influence of General Neyland kept the single wing in vogue in colleges and high schools long after it otherwise might have faded out of sight. In this light, it's interesting to note that one of the last college teams using the single wing to go undefeated was Sewanee (8-0 in 1963), coached by Shirley Majors, whose son John—an authentic triple threat—tailbacked Tennessee, the last big-time single-wing team, through an undefeated regular season in 1956. Perhaps the last unbeatable single wing was that of Ivy League Princeton (9-0 in 1964 under Dick Colman).
In the oldest variation, the quarterback did put his hands under the center, providing the model for the T. He also often moved his hands aside to allow the snap to go to the tailback. South Pittsburg (Tenn.) High, for one, is still using this shift.
JAMES L. NICHOLSON
It is inconceivable to me that anyone could write so many words about the single wing without making one reference to Henry R. (Red) Sanders of UCLA. Beginning in 1949, Sanders, running the balanced-line single wing with kids that USC didn't want, took the "other team in town" and turned it into a national power until his death in 1958. In 1954, UCLA was the last major college single-wing team to win or share a national title.
I was thrilled to see your article on the single wing, particularly because Denison is a member of our Ohio Athletic Conference. However, I am disappointed that no mention was made of the opponent shown in the sequence of pictures. It's Ohio Northern, which, by the way, won the game 35-27.
A. WALLACE HOOD
Head Football Coach
Ohio Northern University
We are writing to correct a possible wrong impression in the article on our venture along the coast of East Greenland (Horizontal, Vertical and Boreal, Aug. 16). You stated that we "stopped at a couple of [native] settlements, tiny, trashy clusters of wooden shacks where a notable proportion of the inhabitants [Inuit] seemed to be on a perpetual drunk." Only one collection of six houses might be described in that way. Visitors to any community are natural prey to drunks; however, our oft-stated conviction is that Inuit are the most refined, intelligent people we've met on any of our expeditions to four continents. An anthropological truism calls Inuit the apex of fisher, whaler and hunter cultures. Any lesser people would not survive the Arctic conditions. The Inuit town of Sermiligaq, which means "beautiful ice fjord," is a Boreal jewel.
CHARLES HOLMES GROESBEEK
Silver Plume, Colo.
Those wild Barbarian twins, David and Peter Paul (Honin' the Barbarians, June 28), the strongest—and the craziest—bodybuilders around, showed another side of their personalities recently when they traveled to Ventura, Calif. to meet with the inmates of the California Youth Authority institution there.
The Barbarians discussed their own lives with total honesty, although some of the Youth Authority officials looked a little piqued at their off-the-wall comments. Thus, in the question-and-answer period, some of the inmates who were in for drug-related offenses figured they would hear a lot of inside druggie talk when they asked the Barbarians about the use of cocaine. Instead, the Barbarians explained that they don't believe in putting such drugs into their bodies and have no interest in marijuana, much less cocaine. The inmate drug sharpies retired into stunned silence, a good portion of the rest of the audience applauded, and the Youth Authority workers smiled happily.
Can you imagine what the world would be in for if the Barbarians added an artificial high to the natural high they're on now?
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