Re your statement, "Squaw Valley has been nipped by the black frost of bankruptcy" (The New Snow places Are Show-places, Nov. 20):
Last season, skier acceptance of Squaw Valley USA hit a new peak—there was a 25% increase in lift receipts over any previous year and net cash flow exceeded $1.5 million.
This summer a capital expenditure of $500,000 produced one new double-chair lift, two older lifts modernized, new equipment of all kinds and a 50% increase in parking area.
To start this 1972-73 season Squaw Valley USA's great skiing facilities include a 120-passenger aerial tramway (the world's largest), an 8,000-foot 600-passenger-per-hour gondola, 18 double-chair lifts and four platter lifts (for a total uphill capacity of 22,500 skiers per hour)—all on an internationally famous mountain largely owned in fee.
Right now (Nov. 19) we have five feet of new snow, 4,000 skiers and $250,000 cash sitting in the bank.
If this is bankruptcy, who needs to be solvent?
ALEXANDER C. CUSHING
Squaw Valley USA
Squaw Valley, Calif.
•SI's statement was intended to refer to disappointments of the State of California in associated ventures in Squaw Valley rather than to the successful efforts of Mr. Cushing. Skiing is, of course, very much alive and well at Squaw.—ED.
I was beginning to grow accustomed to the fact that Alabama did have the best team on the field Saturday Nov. 11, even though the Crimson Tide was somewhat stymied throughout the first half by our fabled Tiger defense. Then I read your article It's Alabama in a Runaway (Nov. 20) by Roy Blount Jr. May a cross burn in your yard forever.
On every football card I saw during game week, Alabama was favored by 10 to 14 points over LSU. We were looking for an upset, yes, but we were by no means tabbed as the favorite in that game. Had LSU taken advantage of Alabama's turnovers as well as 'Bama took advantage of LSU's, it could easily have been a victory for the Tigers and a major upset.
We'd still like to see the Bear walk on water. We'd also like to see our quarterback, Bert Jones, win the Heisman Trophy.
Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide finally have shown their true color—yellow. This year's Alabama team is supposed to be better than last year's, with Terry Davis hotter than ever and the Wishbone much more refined and explosively executed. If this is all so, why doesn't Bryant put his Superman team right in the Orange or Sugar Bowl? Oh, I forgot! The team wants a change of scenery. I guess that's what I would want, too, if all the scenery I saw in last year's Orange Bowl game was the red. Red, RED of Nebraska completely overwhelming me. And, of course, they can't go to the Sugar Bowl, either, because, darn it, there is that awful color red again. Only this time it belongs to Oklahoma.
Being from a state where you are either an Alabama fan or a Yankee, I feel compelled to rebut one remark by Roy Blount in an otherwise fine article about Terry Davis and the Tide. He said Alabama would accept a bid to play Texas in the Cotton Bowl, "thereby avoiding Nebraska or Oklahoma and a tougher game."
Alabama is obviously looking to play the team that is likely to have the best record in order to achieve the best possible claim to No. 1. Everyone knows that is the only way the Bear plays football.
Fort McClellan, Ala.
Concerning your article and the comment, "When last seen, Terry Davis and his Crimson Tide were rolling on," it now appears everyone knows where they were in such a mad scramble to get to: the Chicken Bowl. It is hoped that any sportswriter who votes Alabama No. 1 will maintain the theme by doing so with a feathered pen.
Hats off to SI for giving recognition to a bona fide collegiate football powerhouse, the University of Delaware Blue Hens. Collegiate football is not Southern California or Alabama winning the mythical national championship, nor is it Notre Dame, where eight players were selected in the opening rounds of last year's pro draft. Collegiate football is epitomized by Delaware, where football is a sport, not a way of life.
It is a tribute to Athletic Director Dave Nelson and Coach Tubby Raymond that the Delaware football program is invariably successful despite only 12 grants-in-aid per year. This year was no exception. The Blue Hens swept to their first undefeated season since 1963, won the small college national title for the second consecutive time and their fifth straight Lambert Cup, symbol of Eastern football supremacy.
BUFFALO'S CLAIM TO FAME
Thanks to Mark Mulvoy for an article that really tells it like it is about the Buffalo Sabres (You Can't Buffalo the Salves, Nov. 20). You did forget to mention one thing, though. Behind every good team is a good coach. Just look at what the Miami Dolphins have done this year because of Coach Don Shula. Well, Joe Crozier of Buffalo may not be the best-known coach around, but our young Sabres do win for him. In a couple of years, when the Sabres win the Stanley Cup, people will really know who Joe Crozier and our Sabres are.
ROBERT W. JONES
It was the greatest article about a Buffalo sports team I've ever seen. Thanks.
Concerning the article A Stream of Fond Memory (Nov. 13) by Ellington White, I have been to the Slickrock Creek and Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest area, and it is indeed a rare and wondrous place. It brings to mind the song by Joni Mitchell which says, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone.... Take paradise and put up a parking lot." 'Tis sad.
For many years I have read and admired SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. In particular, I recall the remarkable series by Jack Olsen about poisoning (The Poisoning of the West, March 8, 1971 et seq.). In view of this, perhaps you can imagine my surprise, amazement and horror on picking up your Nov. 13 issue and finding the article Yo Yo Yo, Rowa Uh Rowa, Hru Hru about raccoon hunting, which was incredibly naively written, at least as far as a vestige of humanity or decency is concerned. From your magazine I would not only expect more, I would demand more. If those of us who work in the field of anti-cruelty to animals cannot protect one of the most charming and intelligent of all animals, how in God's name can we do anything for the less favorably endowed?
"The point of most coon hunting," the author writes, "is not killing coons. It is the feeling of getting close to animals." Such asininity reminds me of a hunter who once told me that his wife loved lions even as she was shooting them.
I hope that raccoon hunting can be truly illustrated in a future article that will demonstrate not only the immorality of this "sport," but also in many cases its illegality. Meanwhile, your readers may be interested to know that The Fund for Animals is deeply concerned and has been actively campaigning against this atrocity.
The Fund for Animals, Inc.
New York City
I read your article on coon hunting and hated every bit of it. There may have been a time when such hunting was necessary for protection of a farmer's crops, but if what I understand from your article is true most of today's raccoon hunters are not farmers but profess to be engaging in a sport. I do not believe there is any sportsmanship involved when you start playing games with the life of an animal. Dogs may instinctively chase raccoons, but when men become involved in what is normally nature's battle of survival of the fittest, the battle becomes unfair and cruel.
GEORGE B. SEELEY
I am amazed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would dignify such barbarism as coon hunts in a magazine devoted to sports. Men who torment live animals for enjoyment should not be glorified in a national magazine. The article was disgusting; the pictures even more so. Cancel my subscription immediately.
THEODORE D. PITTS
I sincerely hope your motives were humane in printing the article. If your intent was to induce nausea and disgust for the "sport," then you succeeded admirably and I have no criticism of your editorial policy.
TO RUSSIA WITH BUBBLE GUM
Whitney Tower's diary of his trip to the "grassroots of Russia's thoroughbred industry" (Journey into a Secret Land, Nov. 6) brought back some memories. As publicity director at Yonkers Raceway, I was responsible, in 1963, for bringing the very first Soviet harness horses to America. I correspond quite regularly with Dmitri Urnov, who acted as an interpreter for Mr. Tower. However, to lightly describe Dmitri as merely an interpreter is not to do him justice. He is a tremendous guy with great depth and a decent human being who keeps open the bridge of communications between the ordinary citizens of the two great powers.
On Oct. 13, 1963 my birthday was celebrated by members of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Soviet Union in Pyatigorsk. The caviar was great but the eight-ounce tumblers of vodka paralyzed my teeth and gave me cramps in the ankle. I wonder if Mr. Tower tried a couple of glasses of mare's milk as I did. It slakes your thirst, relieves fatigue and is considered a most superior food for its nutritious value.
I too visited Moscow's State Farm No. 1 and brought with me at least 50 pieces of bubble gum with baseball cards. I was mobbed and almost trampled by the crowd of Russian kids who thronged around me. Somewhere in various homes around the collective I hope there are young bens who still hoard their picture cards of Sandy Kou-fax, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays and other great baseball stars in America.
New York City
We could not disagree with you more concerning your contention that the University of Miami should have forfeited its disputed victory in the now notorious "fifth-down" game (SCORECARD, Nov. 6).
Over the years, football has had to put up with officials' mistakes. In general, they do a superb job under extremely tough conditions, but let's face it, they are human and will make mistakes. This has been and always will be part of the game.
It is quite clear that Miami did indeed get an extra down in that game, but is it not equally clear that Oakland's Jack Tatum scored an illegal touchdown by running with a mulled lateral that the officials perceived as a fumble in a game against Green Bay earlier this season? This play proved to cost the Packers the game, and it may end up costing them a berth in the playoffs. But we did not hear any screaming that Oakland should forfeit that game. On the contrary, people accepted the incident as human error. The case is similar in the Miami-Tulane affair. A human mistake cost Tulane the game, and Tulane has much less to lose than Green Bay.
In the Cornell-Dartmouth game of 1940, the famous "fifth down" on which Cornell scored a touchdown came on the last play of the game. Contrast this with the 54 seconds left in the Miami-Tulane game. A lot can happen in 54 seconds to lose a game. Remember Heidi? I have no love for Miami, but perhaps the parallel with 1940 is not as clear as you make it out to be.
Orchids to you for your comment on the shameful Miami-Tulane affair. And scallions to the Miami officials from the president on down to the athletic director. Ernest McCoy. But what else can you expect from a school like Miami? Or from that typical NCAA official, David Nelson, who advised Miami to hang on to the "victory" and who was quoted in a New York Times editorial as saying that the final score is all that counts'? What a bunch they are! The word "sportsmanship" is not in their lexicon.
MONDAY NIGHT BLUES
Some comment might be in order on this year's scheduling of Monday's ABC-TV pro football game of the week. It seems that after the initial years of successful Monday night games, the network and/or the commissioner feel they can now air obvious mismatches. I doubt that these games would ordinarily be watched regionally by hometown crowds, let alone by millions on nationwide TV. As an avid football fan and a past player, I regard the game with the highest esteem, but even so I feel cheated, if not insulted, by this year's scheduling fiasco.
Your article Keys to the Kingdom (Oct. 30) provided me with the only possible explanation for this sad arrangement: the wives of the world must have gotten to the executives of the NFL and ABC and schemed to eliminate the Monday night gridiron classic via inept scheduling. The excuse of preseason planning is not acceptable. May they have mercy on us fans. Monday is blue enough without viewing bad football.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.