It is unfortunate that a so-called "national" sport magazine is not capable of impartial sports coverage.
I refer to your April 21 issue where the magnificent victory of the St. Louis Hawks was dismissed in 14 lines and where the trials and tribulations of Bill Russell rated a column and a half.
If St. Louisans were so inhospitable to a fine player and man, we deeply apologize. But spare us the implied alibis. The Celtics have always been more of a sports-writer's imagination than the "wonder team" they were supposed to be. Midwestern fans are sick and tired of anything and everything from the East being touted as the world's greatest and crammed down our throats.
The Hawks are the better team with the better attack.
Search your souls and please try in the future to be a truly national magazine, you yokels.
Mrs. JOHN E. DOWE
•Sectionalism? Not at all. In his pro basketball PREVIEW at the beginning of the season (SI, Nov. 4, '57) Jeremiah Tax wrote of Mrs. Dowe's beloved team: "The Hawks' greatest personal asset is superstar Bob Pettit. If Pettit had not broken a wristbone late last season, there is little doubt that he would have been first, not second, in scoring.... This year [Coach] Hannum is going to wear a business suit on the bench; he says his playing days are over. A fine coach, a fine man, he should once again prove that nice guys can finish first." Reviewing the NBA playoffs last week Tax wrote: "...the greatest, of course, was Pettit. This shy young man, whose blue-eyed mildness off the court would charm and disarm Nikita Khrushchev, is a one-track-minded bundle of aggression with a basketball in his hands. His performance in the final playoff game against Boston, in which he scored a record 50 points and blocked a dozen Celtic shots, will never be forgotten by the capacity Keil Auditorium crowd that saw it. So much of nerve and muscle went into it that 15 minutes after the final buzzer sounded, in the champagne-popping uproar in the Hawks' dressing room, Pettit was unable to raise his head for photographers." This tribute too took up just 14 lines, which we hope helps make the point that in sportswriting as in basketball it is quality and not quantity that counts.—ED.
I hope that your scathing condemnation of St. Louis restaurants' refusal to serve colored will not be imputed to the citizenry in general. We St. Louisans deprecate the fact that Bill Russell, a basket-ball player second only to Bob Pettit and a gentleman second to none, was subjected to such ignominious treatment. Please accept the apology of one avid basketball fan.
TENNIS: SPRINGTIME AT OJAI
Your two articles and numerous photographs of the Ojai Valley and its tennis tournament (Ojai's Annual Explosion, SI, April 21) are to be complimented; however, there are several points I would like to question and express my views on.
In the first place, Ojai has been out of the so-called "redskin age" for some time longer than the article implies.
The main peeve everybody here has is the caption on one of the pictures which says, "Boys on horses have been known to line courts ogling pretty players." Whoever wrote this didn't know what he was talking about. In the second place, horses are not allowed anywhere near the tennis courts and never have been (since 1940 anyway). Thirdly, the choice of the word "ogle" is enough to make anyone angry. This word went out in Rudolph Valentino's era and has never staged a known comeback since the invention of dark glasses.
My complaint is of your ridiculous caption above the picture of the Thacher School tennis courts. Perhaps back in the year zero there were "boys on horses lining the courts ogling pretty players," but that is hardly the case today. If you had intended the caption to be humorous, I can assure you that the falsity was indeed a feeble attempt.
S. P. WHEATON
•We are delighted to see that the student body, including the grandson of the founder of the distinguished Thacher School, is mulling over this matter of ogling. Ogling is defined by the dictionary as "to eye amorously," and we don't think it ever went out of style.—ED.
DREAM STREAM: PENN'S IKE SYLER
I was rather surprised when Sparse Grey Hackle stated that there was no special Penn's Creek fly. The Ike Syler Special, custom-tied by Dave Johnson, is a proved killer on this beautiful stream. This wet fly (which may also be fished dry) is tied on 8 to 16 size hooks and is the fly for browns, rainbows and an occasional lunker brook trout.
•Herewith tying instructions from David Johnson of Lewisburg, creator of the Ike Syler Special: "Use any color hair or wool body, but black, brown or yellow wool seems most effective in this area. Tie all materials in at tail of fly; first the wool, then gold or silver tinsel, followed by the hackle to match the body (except that the yellow body seems most effective with grizzly hackle"). Wind body fairly close to eye and tie off. Follow with tinsel, evenly spaced but not too close, and tie off. Finally the hackle is tied sparsely between the tinsel. Whip finish and you have it [see enlargement below]. This may be fished wet or dry, but produces best results fished wet."—ED.
Just a P.S. to the article by Sparse Grey Hackle about Penn's Creek. One mile of the stream will be set aside for fly-fishing only. It will be the portion from the bridge at Weikert for a distance of one mile downstream.
A. R. GRETZ
READING: BLISS AT THE BUCKLEYS
The good news from the Buckley household is that after eight years of marriage it has dawned on my husband that I never really enjoyed our fishing vacations as he thought (I hated every mosquito-bitten minute of them), and this summer we are going to take to the hills of New Hampshire. Bliss! To assuage the pain somewhat for Mr. B., a lover of all sports, I would like to present him on arrival with an armload of books about sports, including some fishing.
Therefore, would you please recommend some for me? If you ever need a reading list in French medieval poetry (my field), you may turn to me.
•String up the hammock and start with these. For a pleasant pictorial review of the past 12 months there is The Year in Sports, 1958 edition, edited by the A.P.'s sports editor, Ted Smits, and published by Prentice-Hall. From the same publisher comes SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's volume of color photography, The Spectacle of Sport, of which modesty prevents us from saying anything more than that it is magnificent and now hard to get. Two fine auto racing books are available, On the Track of Speed by Stirling Moss (Putnam) and The Race, a handsome book on the Indianapolis "500," brought out by Bobbs-Merrill in loose-leaf format and boxed. We recommend The America's Cup Races by Herbert L. Stone, a classic on this great event rewritten and updated by Pulitzer Prizewinner William H. Taylor (Van Nostrand).
Taylor has also done The Story of American Yachting with masterful photography by Morris Rosenfeld (Appleton-Century-Crofts). For Mr. Buckley in a glum mood there is a new edition of The Best Short Stories of Ring Lardner (Scribner's), a classic even for lovers of French medieval poetry. In baseball we have Frank Graham's standard The New York Yankees, updated through the '57 series and published by Putnam, as well as Joe King's manual for hinterlanders, The San Francisco Giants (Prentice-Hall). Out this month is Barnaby Conrad's The Death of Manolete (Houghton Mifflin), well illustrated and written, as were the author's previous books on bullfighting. Mr. Marquand's happy golfing series first published in this magazine, Life at Happy Knoll (Little, Brown), is, we think, fine vacation reading, and so is the late Dr. Long's Spirit of the Wild, brought out by Doubleday. There are many fine books about fish and fishing, including the classic Trout by Ray Bergman, updated with two chapters on spinning (Knopf). Also from the Borzoi Books for Sportsmen (Knopf) is Salt Water Fishing by Van Campen Heilner. The revised edition carries a preface by Ernest Hemingway. Out now is a facsimile copy of The Arte of Angling, 1577, with a modern text which both Mr. and Mrs. Buckley would enjoy (Princeton). Matching the Hatch, a practical guide to the imitation of insects found on eastern and western trout waters might enrich Mr. Buckley's native cunning to the extent that he won't begrudge his enforced idleness. It is written by Ernest G. Schwiebert Jr. and published by Macmillan. Finally, there is the one we like: How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, a dissertation on the art of leisure by Robert Paul Smith.—ED.