DELANY: PORTRAIT OF A MAN
I cannot refrain from telling you of my great pleasure in reading Gerald Holland's moving word portrait of an athlete and his country (A New Irish Hero Is Welcomed Home, SI, Jan. 11). Ron Delany's Christmas trip as told by Holland was surely one of the most touching and delicate articles I have ever read. I was deeply impressed with the author's ability, obviously the result of great thought and talent, to present the key to Delany's character and the character of the whole Irish nation in two or three subtle, minor incidents and relationships. How revealing is Holland's thoughtful notation that Ron's roadside valedictorian, after proper salutation to the hero of the present and the legends of the past, then opines that given the proper equipment and a couple of weeks to train he could very likely beat the man himself. How true. How Irish.
One such observation is so much more eloquent than 10 pages of lyricism on Dublin's cobbled streets and Eire's green sod. Mr. Holland achieved a minor masterpiece into which are deeply etched his own qualities as man, artist and thinker.
J. K. ALLENS
DELANY: A MAN TO BE RESPECTED
During the past ten years I have seen some of the finest and truly normal young men who won All-America honors caricatured by well-meaning sportswriters. The buildup was horrendous, puffed up by phony insights; the letdown lightninglike and gruesome.
I sincerely hope that Gerald Holland's technique will serve as a pattern in the years to come. Ronnie Delany left your pages as he entered, an extremely likable young man, but he had grown in stature. We learned that he is sensitive, yet objective, forthright in giving others their due. He fully appreciated the honor shown him, yet assumed no cloak of modesty. A man to be respected for qualities other than stamina and speed. Your treatment of his girl friend was truly exquisite, if I may use the word.
Your photographer is to be congratulated for having sensed the spirit of Delany. Surely, Delany will speak of Holland in the words of the Christian Brother he describes: "You're very good and kind."
FRANCIS D. NEALY, O.P.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Gerald Holland painted a true picture of Irish country folk in language we can all understand.
Sure and it was a grand effort.
G. E. ZOVITZ
BASEBALL: N.Y. TO L.A.
Pertaining to the cartoon (SI, Jan. 11) where a man sits at his desk and says over the phone, "What are you doing in Schrafft's? Get down to Chock full o' Nuts and make him another offer!"
Who is Schrafft's? What is Chock full o' Nuts? Are we West Coast fans missing out on something? I couldn't get the gag at all. One of my buddies tried to explain it to me by pointing to a picture over the man's head that said N.Y. Giants. Who are the N.Y. Giants, and are they still in the National League?
Culver City, Calif.
•Schrafft's runs a number of New York and Boston tea shops, similar to the Pig'n Whistle in L.A. Chock full o' Nuts is a quick-order food chain like McDonnell's. Surely Mr. Kohnhorst remembers the Giants. They operate a joint near Coogan's Bluff called the Polo Grounds. Laraine Day's husband used to work there.—ED.
RAVEN: DISSENTING OPINION
I'm with Poe when he called the raven "ghastly, grim, and ancient...an ominous bird of yore." John O'Reilly couldn't have observed ravens long (SI, Jan. 21). Else he'd never call them "a gay bird—playful, fun-loving." Ravens with their ravenous beaks, beady eyes and carrion claws are as ugly as the dead-black night of their plumage. Ever see a raven fly? They can't fly. They flop around in the wind like dirty linen on the line. Ever see one walk? They can't walk. They lurch. Ever watch one feed? I did—off the rotting, dead carcass of a whale. From the first raven I saw on Adak to the last on Attu, each inspired me with the same instinctive dread and loathing. I can still hear their repulsive croak: "A dak, A-dak" (oddly, they utter the name of this miserable island). The Poet more truly quoted the raven: "Nevermore!"
Walnut Creek, Calif.
A RAVEN RAVE FROM RAVIN
May I congratulate you for an excellent article on the raven.
GOLF: OUR COMMON LEVEL
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would do the golfers of this nation a service by running a dossier on the USGA officials responsible for the year-to-year changes in rules (E&D, Jan. 21). The latter might be useful in determining why, in their obeisance to the golfing elite, these men see fit to take the fun out of the game for the weekend player.
Are they themselves capable of averaging 250-yard shots as they ask of us in their new ruling on par 3 hole yardage? It would be interesting to know.
Also, can they overcome by Herculean effort the two-stroke penalty of an out-of-bounds shot.
According to the dictionary par is a common or standard level. Why then do they raise par to superlative heights that only a professional can reach?
A. L. HARVEY
SKIING: PROGRESS REPORT
Can you tell me about the progress made by Jill Kinmont (SI, July 25, 1955) toward her ambition to get up on skis again?
Her courage is a standard for all the people who have incurred physical hardship due to accidents in athletic endeavor. A note on her progress would be most welcome to her admirers.
•Jill Kinmont, two years ago U.S. National women's slalom champion, became totally paralyzed after breaking her neck in a spill at Alta, Utah. During the past year Jill has regained some use of her arms, but her legs are still useless. Jill is studying business administration at UCLA in preparation for the time when she can manage the ski shop at Mammoth Mountain. Occasionally Jill goes out on the Mammoth slopes in the specially constructed wheel chair (see above) in which she made the trip to the Winter Games at Cortina which residents of Bishop, Calif. gave her as a get-well present. Jill manages her life with great courage and hope. "Someday," she says, "I'll be on my feet and ski. It will take time."—ED.
I read with great interest your article on Caprice—the sailor's dream (SI, Jan. 21). However, I wish to correct what I believe to be a misrepresentation of gross proportions.
The designation—either SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's, Mr. Bowen's or Mr. Hibberd's—of Caprice as a yawl points up the inaccuracy of the commonly accepted definition of the word "yawl." According to many authorities, a yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel in which the after, or mizzen, mast is stepped aft of the tiller, wheel or rudder post. Conversely, a ketch is a generally similar craft, though usually having a taller mizzen, in which the mizzen is stepped forward of the tiller, wheel or rudder post.
These definitions, incomplete as they are, err in their use of elements of steering gear as the point of reference rather than the true one—the after-water line. Other differences pertain to the positioning of both masts—to each other relatively and to the hull; the centers of effort of mizzen, main and headsails relatively to each other and to the hull; and, in many cases, to the hull form itself. Caprice's afterbody and transom, in themselves, prohibit the stepping of a mizzen aft of the after-water line. In this respect, it is improper to refer to this craft as a yawl. It is folly to label a midship's cockpit sailing craft a yawl for the sole reason that its mizzen is forward of the tiller. Caprice is a ketch!
Many nonsailing individuals are already pretty vague on this point, without your adding to their confusion. Please hang your head and make appropriate corrections.
FRANK D. WINDER
•Neither Mr. Hibberd who owns Caprice nor Mr. Luders who built her nor our Mr. Bowen who described her in such loving detail chooses to hang his head. As Mr. Winder states, there are many working definitions of a yawl or ketch. Under some, Caprice is a yawl, under others a ketch. The Cruising Club, which used to award a recognizable discrepancy in handicaps between yawls and ketches, not too long ago amended its ketch-yawl ratings to put them on a sliding scale with no fixed point of definition in order to prevent rule-beating by simply moving a mast a few inches one way or the other. Taking all factors into consideration, Caprice's owner and builder chose to call her a yawl.—ED.
OUTDOORS: A DISCOVERY
Your excellent article on fishing in the Keys (SI, Dec. 17), induced me to try bonefishing in the Keys.
For many years I have gone regularly to Florida for tarpon and snook in the Marco area, and have rather felt that bonefishing was somewhat overrated—merely a trick to get a dedicated fisherman out in an isolated area where he had nothing else to do but fish.
However, your article was so enticing that I went to Greyhound Key, and, using your list of guides as a reference, selected Ellis Shires, who turned out to be a very fine sort of a fellow.
I was only able to fish with him one day, but I landed a seven-pound bonefish on spinning tackle, although my partner lost both bonefish and tackle.
Some of the guides that I talked with in the area said that the article was almost totally correct in respect to fishing locations and to personnel.
HAWLEY S. SIMPSON
OUTDOORS: ALL MAN
As one of your charter subscribers I was delighted to see in EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Jan. 7 that you have finally discovered Joe D. Withers, U.S. Game Management Agent, Cambridge, Maryland, who is one of the best federal game wardens in the United States, and one of the best sportsmen, hunters and fishermen in this hemisphere.
Our ducks and geese he considers his special "pets," and woe betide the hunters in Chesapeake Bay who fail to observe the federal migratory waterfowl regulations.
With only two assistants, over a period of about five years, he hauled more violators into federal court than the entire staff (15 plus) of the FBI.
He's all man, and an employee Uncle Sam can be proud of. If it has a barrel, he can shoot it; if it has a motor, he can drive or pilot it; if it's got fins, he can catch it; and if it's got wings, he knows what it is, where it's going and why.
With men like him in the federal service we can be sure that there'll be enough' ducks and geese around for law-respecting duck hunters.
JACK V. STAPLES
PIRATE TREASURE: INTERNAL REVENUE
A footnote to your story of Pirate Gold on Oak Island, Nova Scotia (SI, Jan. 14). In 1909, the 27-year-old son of an American family who summered on nearby Campobello Island, New Brunswick spent several months and a fair sum of money digging for the fabled treasure. Later, this young man became rather well known in another field of adventure and spending. His name—Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
JAMES R. GILRUTH
Clear Lake, Iowa
PIRATE GOLD: BY ANY OTHER NAME
A.B.C. Whipple's article The Trail of Pirate Gold was most interesting.
Mr. Whipple writes a nice piece, and I'm wondering if you would pass along to him a request for information as to some reliable company that markets metal (gold, Suh) detection devices.
Naturally, I have a map, a legend and a locale where the fishing is good. And I am most anxious to do a little digging and dangling before the mosquito season.
S. W. MATTHEWS
•Mr. Whipple, Suh, wishes it known that the only gold-detecting device he knows is a spade, and he calls a spade a spade, Suh.—ED.
FOOTBALL: SUCCESS STORY
I could hardly believe my eyes when I read in your issue of Jan. 14 a statement quoted from a "disgruntled" Harvard alumnus as follows: "This year we had a great T formation backfield, but he [Jordan] stuck to the single wing...." Nor could I understand how your editors let it get by. Harvard used the T last year and, I may say, the backfield was most inept at it.
No Monday morning quarterback I, but a disgruntled alumnus who became thoroughly disgruntled when I heard before the season opened that Jordan had shifted from the single wing to the T. We had some very fine backs who had been trained in the single wing for three years (freshman years included). We attained some modicum of success during their tenure on the varsity by defeating Yale once and Princeton twice.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
•Harvard indeed made part-time use of the T formation during the '56 season.—ED.
FOOTBALL: COMMITTEE LAW
I was somewhat surprised to read in EVENTS & DISCOVERIES of Ed Meadows and dirty play in professional football. Whether or not there are unwritten laws in the professional football world, it does not seem SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's place to predict a likely outcome of such laws and thereby appear to condone whatever action might be taken against individual players. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, without saying so directly (and perhaps without realizing it), has passed judgment about the publicized play in the Bear-Lion game—a little unfair to players involved, since it seems to approve or even invite some reciprocal action in football games to come.
RICHARD B. SOLOMON
•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED very definitely does not approve of such reciprocity. However, since Bert Bell, the commissioner of the National Football League, seemingly is reluctant to admit there are maliciously dirty players (SI, Jan. 14) the certainty of retribution remains the one effective means of keeping football vipers in their places. As for Ed Meadows, he reaped what he had sowed in the very next game, the Giants-Bears championship playoff (see above).—ED.