Let me extend my congratulations to Bob Ottum for his enlightening article, Low Boom in the Land of Horizontal Skiing (Feb. 15), and for his warning to serious skiers from the East and the Far West that the rock piles in the Midwest are for exclusive use of the natives.
RICHARD M. DOCTOROFF
Now just wait a cotton-pickin' minute! I don't know where Writer Bob Ottum skis in the Midwest, but he's really way off if he thinks we ski on "manicured hills, innocent of moguls."
If Mr. O. would take a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 skiers, send them down the same 2,000-foot run every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., he would see that you get not only moguls but moguls on moguls, and most of them are ice-covered.
As to Mr. Trepp's statement that you get in more skiing because you can go down the hill every three or four minutes, I must take exception. On a typical Saturday or Sunday the tow and lift lines are so long it is not unusual to wait 10 minutes for a two-minute ride up a hill that takes 1½ minutes to ski back down.
However, despite the long lines, subzero weather and the ice-covered moguls, this skier is very thankful to have a place 20 minutes from her door.
LOIS ANN ENNIS
Really now. In a skiing career which has taken me from New Hampshire to Colorado and points between, I have rarely encountered more skillfully designed or more demanding moguls than at some Midwestern hills (e.g., the Hemlock slope of Michigan's Boyne Mountain). Certainly there are some terribly easy slopes too, but let's be a little more generous to the poor fellows.
New Haven, Conn.
Thoroughly enjoyed your high-speed schuss through the gates of Midwest skiing, but what about our racers who learned their fast evasive skiing by keeping ahead of the timberwolves that kept biting holes in their snowsuits?
Now these kids wear Avis buttons—"We try harder"—and give the competition "Hertz donuts." When Greg Schwartz, 15-year-old Cadillac, Mich. racer, won the National Junior Slalom championship last March at Alpine Meadows, Calif., one of his "flatlander" teammates turned to a dumbfounded mountain skier and grinned, "Hurts, don' it?"
Frank Deford has done it again (Aces Are High in Evansville, Feb. 15). His recognition of the Aces is a splendid tribute to Evansville, Ind., its fine team and wonderful people. There can be no stauncher Met fan at Shea Stadium than there are Ace fans at Roberts Stadium.
Your article actually made me, a loyal member of the "red shirt haters" club, feel a twinge of pride at having once lived in Indiana's basketball asylum.
Shortly after arriving in Evansville in early 1958 I was exposed to the Aces. After 20 minutes of listening to the fanatical lions roar (during the game one wonders if the zoo has been moved into Roberts Stadium) my mind was made up. The only way to avoid guilt by association was to fervently support the opposition.
However, Frank Deford's article brought things into perspective, and I finally got the point. The tremendous pride Evansvillians have in their Aces is a great rallying point, a common ground of inspiration from which they can gather the feeling that everything about Evansville could be as great as the Aces if they all pulled as hard for the town as they do for Mac's boys. If this kind of spirit could be generated in all the potential Evansvilles around the country, it might not solve all the nation's problems, but it would make all the problems a little easier to solve.
Me? I scan the sports pages every day to see if the Aces have dropped one, giving me license to get a sapient note off to the old cronies. So far this season the multicolored marvels haven't cost me one cent in postage.
It's hard enough to beat high-speed diesels on the water; it's even tougher when you "lose" to them in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. In reference to Luther Evans' fine article (Donsy, Baby, This Is Your Sam, Feb. 15), Bill Wishnick's winning Broad Jumper in the Sam Griffith Memorial race was powered by twin 400-hp Interceptor gasoline engines—not twin 500-hp diesels. Our Dearborn Marine Engine Division converts Ford automotive engines for marine use using the Interceptor trade name.
JOHN J. COLLINS
Eaton Manufacturing Company
Permit me to differ with your editorial pronouncements on the format change in the U.S. Open—Sarazen's opinion notwithstanding (SCORECARD, Feb. 8 and 15). Indicting the four-day, 72-hole, stroke-play competition on grounds that it "violates tradition" and asserting that a final-day, 36-hole "grind" is a great test of "stamina" may be valid enough, but where does that get us?
Tradition exists only to give way when improvement appears sensible. Otherwise we would still be molding a twist of sand to tee up our gutta-percha balls and batting them away with the elbow of a tree limb. Since when is golf intended to be a test of stamina? Most of us, I am sure, regard it as a game of skill in which talented septuagenarians may even humble brash youngsters who admittedly would outlast them in a walkathon.
I say let us speed the day when electric golf carts will be allowed in tournaments. There is no reason grandpa shouldn't come home with the prize if he can execute truer shots than his adversaries, whatever their age. Somewhere there may exist a future champion who will have to prop himself carefully on artificial legs when taking his stance. More power to him—and let it be electric.
A. L. HARVEY
The superficial reasoning of the United States Golf Association in making the U.S. Open a four-day tournament is ludicrous. They say no other major sport has called for such a long, drawn-out extension of effort. This is exactly why this has been a great championship. They also claim that unexpected delays such as an act of God may make a disorderly tournament. The final 36 holes of the Open are now played on Saturday. In the only postponement that I recall they were played on Sunday. With a new four-day tournament, the final 18 would have to be played on Monday.
They complain that Ken Venturi was on the course for eight hours and 24 minutes for the final round. This, of course, is partially the fault of the USGA for its failure to penalize slow play.
The real reasons for the change are painfully obvious. In a four-day tournament you get two days rather than one day of television money; also there are four gate ad—missions rather than three.
EDWARD J. HALLIGAN
Ridgefield Park, N.J.
May I suggest that the Open continue to be played as is, but not be broadcast live? Let them tape it and show 18 holes one day, and the other 18 the next. The suspense of the last hole might be a little less if we already knew from newspaper accounts who had won but, speaking for myself, I would be just as much interested in seeing how it was done.
Let's hear from other golfers, and will you nonplaying spectators please stay out of this.
B. H. LANDE
Re your article on the McWhirter twins (Odd Paradise of I he Record Maniac, Feb. 8), I purchased the Guinness Book of World Records three years ago, just out of curiosity. Since then I have read every word in the book more than once, and still I am amazed by its contents.
New Haven, Conn.
My colleagues and I found the article on the McWhirter twins most entertaining. However, you say, "After parallel careers of some distinction at Marlborough and Oxford—and track careers of some undistinction—they came to London in the late 1940s."
The comment as to the track careers of the twins was probably written tongue-in-cheek or as a result of McWhirter impishness at the interviews in which material for the article was gleaned, but T would like to correct any false impressions gained from this statement. Both McWhirters were, in the late 1940s, much-better-than-average British sprinters. Norris hovered for some time on the fringe of international selection, though he never quite made it. But both he and his brother Ross gained an AAA National title in 1948 with the scintillating Achilles team of that year.
Although I found the article by J. A. Maxtone Graham and its assorted facts from the Guinness book very interesting, he neglected one thing. I now have the same problem Sir Hugh Beaver had, and it is driving me crazy. What is the speed of the golden plover?
R. B. LEVITTS
•The speed of the golden plover has never been officially established, but a plane pursuing a flock of the birds in migration in 1918 clocked their flight at 60 mph on its airspeed indicator.—ED.
John Nucatola's implication (SCORECARD, Feb. 15) that a foul in basketball is like an error in baseball is not quite correct. An error, at least, does not cause personal harm to a player, whereas a foul is often intended to do just that. However, Mr. Nucatola's suggestion that basketball players not be removed from games because of fouls is a good one, and it merits a trial. Having lived in Wichita, where Center Nate Bowman used to foul out before you could yawn once, I can attest to the fact that it will allow spectators to see the players they come to see. A more equitable solution, however, might have the fouled team getting its allotted number of shots up until the fifth foul, after which the fouled player would get one extra shot for each additional foul committed, i.e., two shots on the sixth foul, three on the seventh, etc.
I like John Nucatola's premise, but not his conclusion. Repeated violators should be banished in all sports. Should a tackle who goes offside twice and is called for clipping and a face-mask infraction be allowed to stay in a ball game (assuming his coach lets him)? I doubt it. The individual is punished for the mistakes he makes in life-why not in the arena? Also, why take away the bench warmer's only chance to get into the action?
J. Q. ROBINSON
A pat on the back to Mr. Nucatola. His "amendment for the fifth" is a step forward. However, instead of merely allowing the player to play on I would suggest that a hockey-type penalty be imposed, where the offending player would be benched for a set period of time after the fourth foul.
R. J. SHANAHAN