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Original Issue


Having been born and raised in Oklahoma, I was surprised at Douglas S. Looney's article (New Philadelphia Story, June 20) about the "clash of wills" between Oklahoma Football Coach Barry Switzer and his star player, Marcus Dupree. The only accusation made against Switzer was that he is hard on his players. How else does one get an athlete to bring out his best and realize his potential? I attended junior high school in Oklahoma City, where I got to know the Oklahoma style of coaching: tough, authoritative, demanding, a little removed and effective as hell. And this was for boys entering their teens. It has been my experience that coaches in many other parts of the country, including Kentucky, where I attended high school, are less demanding, and the difference is reflected in the athletes and in the quality of competition.

Looney's article intrudes on the sacred relationship between athlete and coach and sounds like the complaints of a fretful, overly concerned Pop Warner League parent. If Switzer wants Dupree to lose a little weight and work hard in practice, so be it. Dupree stands to profit if he sticks it out, because star status is the least important—and often the most harmful—ingredient in a star's makeup. Besides, Switzer's 98-17-3 coaching record tells me he knows what he's doing.

As the father of an Oklahoma player, I can honestly say that I prefer having my son associated with Barry Switzer than reading the drivel that Douglas S. Looney passes off as journalism. Based on the space allotted to the discussion of Switzer, it would have been more appropriate to have had his picture on the cover, rather than that of Marcus Dupree.

In the future, please keep Looney back East; we don't want or need him.
Joplin, Mo.

While I agree that Marcus Dupree is an outstanding player, let's not presume that he has a lock on the Heisman. There is a tailback in Tallahassee, Greg Allen of the Florida State Seminoles, who not only performs well in game situations but also gives full effort during practice. Not coincidentally, Allen was the nation's leading scorer last year.

If anyone from the Big Eight is going to win the Heisman Trophy in 1983, it will be Mike Rozier of Nebraska.
Norfolk, Neb.

Steve Wulf helped me to understand what really happened in Boston recently (The Fight Is Over the Red Sox, Not in Them, June 20). As a Red Sox fan, I have lived through many disappointments. However, I must say the current Boston management has reached a new low. Buddy LeRoux's latest move was unbelievably tactless. June 6 was reserved for memories of some of the Sox' few triumphs—Tony C's amazing recoveries and the 1967 Impossible Dream Team. LeRoux's announcement of his intended takeover on that night only showed his lack of caring for anything except money and himself. If it were left up to the fans, LeRoux's interest in the Sox would have been bought out by now and he would be living in another town under an assumed name.
Atkinson, N.H.

As a Detroit Tiger fan, I was disappointed with the article on the Red Sox. Steve Wulf seemed to think the Tigers' sweep of the Sox was a byproduct of Boston's owner arguments. The truth is Detroit has become as hot as its recent Player of the Week, Lou Whitaker (INSIDE PITCH, June 20). Let's give credit where it's due, not excuses for losing to a hot team.
Grand Blanc, Mich.

I am surprised at your poor coverage of the University of Texas' winning of the College World Series (FOR THE RECORD, June 20). If nothing else, SI should have noted that the state of Texas dominated college ball this past season. In addition to the Longhorns' victory, McLennan Community College of Waco won the national junior college title, Lubbock Christian was the NAIA champion and Texas A&M clinched the women's NCAA softball title.

Also, how about some recognition for the Southwest Conference's accomplishments in the 1982-1983 school year? In every major men's sport—football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, swimming and indoor and outdoor track—a Southwest Conference team finished first or second nationally.

Your editorial (SCORECARD, June 20) on the Reagan Administration's environmental counteroffensive was brief and to the point. It is good to know that a sports magazine can have articles about topics that do not deal with sports. You could easily have gone overboard on the Administration's blundering in connection with environmental issues; however, you didn't. I wouldn't want SI to become a TIME magazine, but I also wouldn't want SI to quit giving us such informative articles either.
Shawnee, Kans.

What in the world does an item about governmental policies on Wilderness Areas and the effects of acid rain have to do with sports? I thought your editorial might contain some vague tie-in to hunting or fishing, or perhaps even bird watching or hiking, but nope, not a word.
Vacaville, Calif.

Bil Gilbert's article on Mono Lake (Is This a Holy Place?, May 30) had much accurate information on the current water controversies there, but was almost certainly wrong in stating that a party of trappers led by Joseph Walker reached Mono Lake in 1833. A number of factual errors or highly dubious assertions need correction:

1) Walker's party was not the first to cross the Great Basin or the central Sierra Nevada; Jedediah Smith and two companions made both crossings from west to east in 1827, six years earlier.

2) It is unlikely that Walker's large armed party traveled to California for "spiritual reasons." Many historians believe the expedition was motivated by a combination of military and commercial objectives.

3) The "journal" of Walker's clerk, Zenas Leonard, was written, largely from memory, five years after the expedition and therefore cannot be relied upon for detailed factual accuracy.

4) It is impossible to identify with certainty which Great Basin lake (if any) Leonard had in mind when he described one with floating stones and water suitable for washing clothes. Far from "sitting improbably" in the desert, Mono Lake is one of a number of large alkaline desert lakes in the western Great Basin; Leonard describes at least four of them in his Narrative. His descriptions of the country traversed, both on the approach to and after leaving the lake in question, make it highly doubtful that Walker's group could have reached Mono Lake. A far more likely alternative is Walker Lake in Nevada.

I think it is important that Walker not be credited with a discovery he never made. The most important sightings of his 1833 expedition, of Yosemite Valley and the first grove of giant sequoias, are more than sufficient to make his journey memorable. The discoverer of Mono Lake was Lieutenant Tredwell Moore of the 2nd Infantry, who led a party of soldiers to its shores in 1852.
Graduate Student of Geography
University of California
Berkeley, Calif.

•Gilbert agrees it is "impossible to identify with certainty" which Great Basin lake Leonard was describing. However, he sides with those historians who believe it was Mono Lake and that Walker's party was the first to discover it. Gilbert sets forth his arguments in his new book, Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker (Atheneum, $17.95), to be published this month. It was from research for the Walker biography that Gilbert also drew an earlier SI article, on Captain William Drummond Stewart and the mountain men ("Thar Was Old Grit in Him," Jan. 17). As for Walker & Co.'s being the first white men to cross the Great Basin and the central Sierra Nevada, Gilbert said only that they were the first to cross "to the Pacific."—ED.

Your item concerning Mets Manager Frank Howard's use of a quadruple negative (SCORECARD, June 20) brings to mind Geoffrey Chaucer's famous description of his Knight in the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales: "He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde/In al his lyf unto no maner wight." Literally translated, this sentence says: "He didn't never yet speak no evil/In all his life unto no manner of man."

In Chaucer's day (ca. 1340-1400), before the prescriptive grammarians had begun to wreak their foolishness on the English language, multiple negation was employed as a means of emphasis. In the instance cited above, Chaucer was stressing the Knight's noble character. Perhaps Howard is resurrecting this ancient and valuable rhetorical device.
Ridgewood, N.J.

I think your INSIDE PITCH (June 13) wandered a little high and outside when Herm Weiskopf said that one of Tal Smith's duties with the Mariners would be "to observe Seattle players he may have to belittle when he represents the club in postseason arbitration cases." I have been on the other side of the table from Smith during several arbitration cases, and I have never heard him say anything that could be construed as an attempt to belittle a player. While there are a few teams that will attempt to portray a player as being worse than he is and a few agents who will attempt to portray a player as better than he is, the experienced people on both sides of arbitration cases know that that method doesn't work—most of the time, anyway. Smith is a lot more interested in winning a case than he is in running down a player.
Lawrence, Kans.

Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.