Plaudits to your magazine and excellent staff of writers, specifically Dan Jenkins, Roy Blount Jr. and Ron Reid, on a smashing first-of-the-year issue!
In the Dec. 25 issue, Jenkins (After the Bowls, the Polls) gave us an outline of what and who to look for in the upcoming bowl games. In his sequel (No Doubt about Who's Champ) he enlightened those of us who watched but did not see, graphically plotting the progress of the major collegiate carnivals.
Blount's idiomatic narrative (As for the Droll Bowl and All Those Other Classics) of the gridiron fan's tumultuous weekend perfectly described the limbo we all encountered trying to keep track of the rest of the barrage of bowls.
I must also give praise to Reid's consistently illuminating reports on professional football. Each article is a titillating tirade, uniquely written.
January 22, 1973
In my next life, given a choice in my rebirth, I wish to be reincarnated as a staff writer for SI. I do envy their positions. Bravo on 1973's first issue, proof of why SI is the best-selling and best magazine of its kind.
MARY LOU DIAS
I certainly enjoyed Dan Jenkins' report on the big college bowl games, and in regard to his first paragraph I agree. USC has outranked, surely outclassed and outplayed all other competitors this college season. According to many of the previews, USC wasn't supposed to break into the top 10. Three cheers for USC, Coach John McKay and A. D. Davis.
Princeton, W. Va.
How could you have the gall to include the Orange Bowl mismatch between two second-rate teams, Nebraska and Notre Dame, as a major football contest and use a follow-up article to ridicule several superior teams that participated in superior bowl games? I'm sure you gained few friends with your derisive reporting, which made SPORTS ILLUSTRATED appear to be the more deserving object of ridicule.
Fort Myers, Fla.
As a Notre Dame fan since 1953 who criticizes Dan Jenkins every time he criticizes Notre Dame, I would like to thank him for the mercy he showed after Notre Dame's disgraceful performance in the Orange Bowl. In fact, he showed too much mercy. The Parseghian-led "Fighting" Irish can't hold their own against good teams. LSU, USC and Nebraska have blown them off the field. Mr. Jenkins would have been telling it like it was by saying the Irish (and I hate to admit it) are overrated.
ABE LEMONS' TOURNEY
I would like to thank you for the fine article (Whooping It Up in Endin Country, Jan. 8) on the 49ers of Long Beach. I disagree with only one phrase in your article and that's the very last one: "What Long Beach was missing was one good Endin." All of us 49er fans know what you meant by that remark, but this year Long Beach will dethrone the so-called mighty Bruins from Westwood for the simple reason that Long Beach is the better team.
Long Beach, Calif.
We very recently moved to "Endin Country" from Chicagoland and had the great pleasure of attending the All-College basketball tournament during the holidays in Oklahoma City.
What a big plus for moving here to see exciting basketball in the beautiful Myriad with no hassle getting there, parking or getting out again. And what fun it was to read Curry Kirkpatrick's piece, which surely told it like it was.
Mrs. ROBERT AUSTIN
Thank you for the article. Curry Kirkpatrick calls Abe Lemons "the funniest man in the whole sport." My wife and I met Abe on an Olympic tour last year. We suspect he is the funniest man in any sport.
As one who has had the pleasure of knowing Abe Lemons for a number of years, I found Curry Kirkpatrick's article most enjoyable. Mr. A. E. Lemons is a one-in-a-million guy I'll never forget.
I think one thing may have been over-looked in the face of the levity of Curry's article, though. In addition to being a wit and a humorist of unparalleled proportions, Abe is one of the most astute students of the game of basketball I have ever known.
While I was working my way through Oklahoma City University I had to fill a physical education requirement. Because I enjoyed Abe so much, I signed up for his class in basketball techniques. I had visions of class after class chock full of the coach's jokes and yarns. The humor was there, all right; that's as much a part of Abe as his accent and half-smoked cigar. However, I also learned during that class that this man could quote, word for word, passages (sometimes for paragraphs at a time) from the college basketball rule book. He also had an uncanny knack for remembering minute details of some games that took place 15 to 20 years ago.
Despite his talk about his "Endins," Abe treated every man fairly and never did one of his squads experience divisiveness because of racial altercations. He also placed a very high value on education and insisted that his players spend a designated amount of time each night studying in the school library.
Although I never played basketball for Abe, I knew quite a few men who did. I think that most of them would agree, after looking back on the experience, that Abe is an exceptional person, on and off court.
I was really happy to see that SI finally gave Jacques Lemairc (Up Jumps a Sharpshooter, Jan. 8) his fair share of credit. Mark Mulvoy did his usual excellent job of reporting on one of the many sharpshooters in the greatest of all sports. But I was shocked that a magazine like SI could make the obvious mistake of saying that the Lemaire-Cournoyer-Lefley line leads the NHL in scoring when simple arithmetic and common sense indicate that the French Connection of Perreault-Martin-Robert is No. 1. Nice article, otherwise.
ROBERT T. SMITH
•At the time, the two lines were co-leaders at 60 goals each
AD IN FOR TENNIS
I applaud the selection of Billie Jean King as Sportswoman of the Year; I also applaud her very sound comments on the reluctance of male pro tennis players to face up to the pressure of the sudden-death tie-break of VASSS, the Van Alen system (The Ball in Two Different Courts, Dec. 25).
The VASSS 9-point tiebreak is now virtually standard in the U.S. in all but WCT events; it was used in the U.S. Grass Court Championships in '70, '71 and '72 and in both the men's and women's intercollegiate championships.
If pro tennis is to be the senior stage of the sport and lead younger players to new levels of excellence, as pro hockey, pro football and pro baseball have done in this age of television, then men professionals, as well as women, must seize upon improvements, face challenges and take pressure as a matter of course. To graduate from amateur to professional is to welcome challenge and create competition and drama—not hide behind a tedious two-point margin that drags the game out unpredictably, confuses spectators, upsets schedules and hence is unsuitable for television. A professional who fears pressure is not worthy of the name.
Billie Jean King and the girls have gone for VASSS—sudden death—all the way in the game and the set because it creates more exciting tennis. When she says, "Let's score games 1-0, 2-0, and so on. A game should be four points, no deuce-ad, forget it," she's telling the WCT to grow up and drop a 700-year-old outdated system made up by monks for scoring a different game altogether. Will the time come when women will be the only tennis professionals on TV?
NORRIS D. HOYT
Ron Fimrite's article Cry Wolf in Carolina (Dec. 25) was excellent, except for one point that he didn't discuss. While he was building North Carolina State mountain-high, he forgot to mention that the University of North Carolina was without 6'7" supersophomore Don Washington, who was averaging 21.3 points per game. He was out with an injured foot, but will be back in time for the real conference race. Note, too, that North Carolina's first-team All-Conference Guard George Karl, who was averaging over 19 points a game, had to sit out almost three-fourths of the State game due to foul trouble. Send the Pack back.
I really enjoyed your account of the Big Four tournament in Greensboro, N.C. I was able to attend the games, and your article was a great complement to the action. I now feel even stronger than ever that the Atlantic Coast Conference is the best in college basketball, despite what other coaches have had to say. The ACC seems to be getting stronger and better balanced each year. Congratulations to Ron Fimrite for a fine story on four of the best teams anywhere.
Thank you for writing such a great article on the little one-man wrecking crew of Kansas City-Omaha, Nate (The Great) Archibald (He's Not Merely a Passer Fancy, Dec. 18). One has to wonder where the Kings would be without him. With his high-scoring contribution every night, the other players could almost fall asleep on the court. It is amazing that a man of his size can dominate the game as he does. Peter Carry has got a winner.
I would like to thank Peter Carry for his article and James Drake for great photographs of Nate Archibald, who will be the next Most Valuable Player of the NBA.
I enjoyed your article. For a little man in a big man's game to be leading the league in scoring and assists is spectacular. Although I am not a Kansas City-Omaha fan, I keep up with Nate Archibald.
Finally, an article on the annual Miss Rodeo America contest in Las Vegas (Here She Is, Miss Rodeo America, Dec. 11). Alice Higgins gave a humorous and informative account of the contest, to the delight of us rodeo lovers. For once there is a contest held for girls that doesn't judge only the figure. Let's have some more articles like this.
How could you write an article about the Miss Rodeo America contest and neglect to mention the girl who was first runner-up, Miss Rodeo Montana Bobbi Wirth? Your oversight was an unfortunate slight to a very charming young lady. On the other hand it may have been to Bobbi's advantage not to be mentioned in an article that made the Miss Rodeo America contestants look like a bunch of hicks. We would like to assure Alice Higgins and your readers that this most certainly is not the case.
MAILED TO ORDER
Regarding your Dec. 11 article In a Happy Hunting Ground by J. D. Reed, the Catalog Freak, I want to thank, you for showing me—and the world at large—that this so-called aberration of Reed's (and mine) is the one true mark of the connoisseur shopper.
While my intention is not to one-up Mr. Reed, I hasten to point out that my wife and I purchase virtually everything we need from catalogs, including many foods, most clothing, gifts, books, auto tires, shoes and boots, cigars, pipes, knives, etc.
Your readers should definitely be made aware of this surefire manner of leisurely shopping.
J. D. Reed should take a look at the 1973 Orvis Catalog: color plates of more than 209 flies, more than 75 rods, plus reels, lines, vests, waders. Nirvana—but no bush jacket.
Serious fly-fishermen already know about the Orvis Catalog, where the bamboo rod comes first.
Serious Catalog Freaks know that Orvis has been around since 1856; that outdates Mr. Reed's 1967 "enlightenment" by 111 years.
JEFFREY R. HILLS
The Orvis Company, Inc.
To continue in the vein of Jim Martenhoff and Dan Yuhr's thesis that no matter where you are on the world's oceans you are always going uphill (SCORECARD, Dec. 11), I would like to point out that in fact the contrary is the case. Since a boater always stands (or sits) vertically along a line determined by the pull of gravity, which is always toward the center of the earth, his line of sight will be a perpendicular to this vertical or a tangent to the curve of the water. Thus, no matter in which direction he is looking, the water will curve down from his line of sight, and movement in all directions will, happily, be downhill from wherever he happens to be. Rather than always having to pass over the crest of the hill with the crest always moving ahead of you, you are always riding on the top of the crest.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.