I greatly enjoyed your knowledgeable coverage of Jim Ryun's victory (A Time to Remember: 3:51.3, July 25 et seq.) and its fascinating recap of the behind-the-scenes events leading up to it. Again SI scores with a unique account of a historic sports event.
Because stop watches were actuated by the meaty thumbs of human timers we shall never know just how fast Jim Ryun really ran that race. At Indy a $50,000 car can fail to qualify by a hundredth of a second on an electronic timer. Using fallible human beings and equally fallible stop watches to time records like Ryun's is an anachronism.
F. PIERCE SHERRY
Muirfield has indeed had a lady set foot in even the men's grill room (Smiling Jack Wins a Rough One, July 18). In 1951 I was in Scotland with my step-mother. We drove out to see Muirfield because the Curtis Cup Women's Team was playing there the following year and I had a very good friend, Pat O'Sullivan from Orange, Conn., who was on the team and I wanted to see the club and course. I felt the greens, traps and fairways. I was thrilled. Then our chauffeur took us into the ladies' reception room. He disappeared to find the club secretary. After 20 minutes we were completely satisfied that the ladies' lounge was beautifully furnished and charming, but we were eager to see more of the clubhouse. Our chauffeur was still missing so we decided to explore. Across the hall we found a door with a coco mat in front. We opened the door and entered what seemed to us to be the club dining room. There was no one in sight. It was a large story-and-a-half room with windows to the ceiling at each end. Tables covered with white damask cloths filled the room, and there were colored prints and photographs of all the former club presidents since about 1763 hung on the walls. We wandered around the room examining the pictures until we reached the far wall where there hung several ancient clubs among which was a silver putter presented to Muirfield by the Prince of Wales. At that exciting moment we heard a man say in a very irate tone, "Ladies! Do you realize that this is the men's grill room and no lady has ever set foot in here before? Don't you ladies respect your men's grill rooms in your country?"
We really did feel remorse. But it is a funny error for the members to state so boldly that "no lady has ever set foot in this club."
VIRGINIA CURTIS FENN
West Hartford, Conn.
I must admit that every once in a while something really great comes out of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Your short story Put a Lion in Your Tank (July 25) is the funniest thing I have read in years.
FRANK PARRISH JR.
Wichita Falls, Texas
Put a Lion in Your Tank was a sad effort and a real blow to real hunters and sportsmen. Guys like that Jack Crawford, who probably doesn't know a .458 Winchester Magnum from a .22 short, hunting lions? He is very, very lucky he wasn't killed. Especially dumb was his shot at a running lion from 150 yards. Wounding him made him a dangerous threat to the hunter and the natives. Crawford didn't even know how the rifle was loaded.
ACROSS THE BOARD
We'd like to thank Bob Ottum for his article (Riding the Wave of the East Coast's Surfing Boom, July 18) because it brought the great sport of surfing the attention it deserves. But we wish to question your opinion of Phil Edwards as "the best on a board."
As any good surfer and many nonsurfers know, Mike Doyle is the world's best surfer. Mike has won most, if not all, of the major surfing championships and he is regarded by the surfing magazines as the best in his field. Though Phil Edwards is the person most responsible for the growth of this great sport it was with deep regret that we read your article and did not even find the name of Mike Doyle mentioned.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on the recognition of East Coast surfing, but you failed to include Texas, which feels itself very much a part of the East Coast.
ON THE MARK
Mark Kram's When Emile Got His Irish Up has been clipped from the July 25 issue and placed in my files along with other classics from the prize ring, like A. J. Liebling's Soirée Intime, Rowland Barber's Stillman's Gym, William Fay's Hello Joe and Red Smith's The Nose. A few more stories about boxing by Kram and maybe—just maybe—being a fighter will again mean something.
ROBERT F. MITCMEL
Tex Maule's article, The Curtain Falls on a Long Run (July 25), stated that the Cleveland Browns had probably lost the Eastern Conference championship of the NFL due to the retirement of Jim Brown. True, Jimmy has been the best running back in the league for the past nine years, but it is well known that no one man is a whole team. There is a lot of time between now and the opening of the football season for the Browns to come up with a replacement.
I would like to compliment you on your article on the Coaches All-America Game (Pro Football, July 18). I would also like to point out that the three best players in the game were from Texas (Anderson, Nobis, Johnson). This is typical of football in our state. Nobis is as good a linebacker as there is in football now. Johnson is a promising quarterback with all the equipment. Anderson is probably the greatest back to come along since Doak Walker (another Texan). Let's face it, Texas is the king of football, both high school and college.
I gather from the three letters in your July 18 issue that Mr. Ed Mulford has raised quite a Softball controversy among your readers. As a diehard Softball player, fan, writer and administrator, it did my heart good to know of his concern for the game and of your willingness to publish his letter.
Hurray, too, for Dale Mitchell Jr. (the son of ex-major leaguer Dale Mitchell, by the way) and Robert A. Fiedler II for their replies. I'm in agreement—fast-pitch softball is not dead. Take, for instance, the International Softball Congress World Tournament held in Rock Island, Ill. and mentioned by Mr. Fiedler. In the five years it has been held there this tourney has drawn 187,760 people. The ISC tourney will be held in Rock Island this year from August 27 through September 5, with two dozen of the top teams from all over the U.S. and Canada competing.
Mr. Mitchell referred to the Amateur Softball Association of America as the governing body of the sport, but the ISC is the true governing body of fast-pitch. It does not register women's, or "sissy pitch," teams but concerns itself solely with the perpetuation and growth of men's fast-pitch Softball.
Our own Western Softball Congress of Southern California, generally regarded as the top major fast-pitch league in the country, has enjoyed tremendous success in its eight years of operation. And there are other top leagues, such as the Atlantic Seaboard League, the Southern Major Softball League, the Dixie Major League, the Ohio Big 8 and many others, which are bringing this exciting brand of Softball to thousands of fans.
Finally, I must take exception to Mr. J. L. Lopez of Monterrey, Mexico, who states that soccer is the top sport of every kind in America. I suggest Mr. Lopez travel to Mexico City this October and take a look at the first Men's Fast-Pitch International World Tournament.
Secretary-Treasurer, Western Softball Congress
SLIME IN PARADISE
My brother and I recently completed a canoe trip down the north branch of the Susquehanna River. We paddled 200 miles in five-and-a-half days; then the work began. We had to scrub and scrub and scrub, using strong detergents, to remove the slime that had accumulated on the sides of our 13-foot canoe.
For that reason we were amazed to learn that Mr. Russ Chaffee had actually swum the river (SCORECARD, July 18). What with the raw sewage emptied into the river by Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, plus coal wash water that kills fish and the various industrial wastes that give the river the odor of guava jelly, it was a miracle that his skin was still intact!
The first 65 miles of the Susquehanna, from Towanda, Pa. to Tunkhannock, Pa., are clean and truly form a recreational paradise. However, from Tunkhannock on down the river is, in many ways, worthless. In many places it is unable even to support fish.
I write this letter knowing that your magazine has been particularly concerned with conservation of America's resources and in the hope that you can call further attention to the pollution problem in America's great rivers.
EARL NICHOLAS SELBY