FOR THE DOGS
Tell me, are you running a can-cover contest for Alpo? Your Feb. 24 issue has to rank as one of your dumbest. Right smack in the midst of exciting basketball and hockey seasons, you've got a shaggy Rinny-Tin-Tin on your cover. If there's a "big itch" in the dog show world, let's keep the fleas in Madison Square Garden.
Wow! I've just read your Feb. 24 issue, and I am still in a state of shell shock. Dogs? Horses? Glamorized karts? Tugs-of-war? Wrestling? Frisbeeing? Surely you jest. This isn't the SI I've been eagerly awaiting each Thursday for years. Hurry up, baseball! Who says it's not the national game?
PHILIP F. SMITHKA
White Plains, N.Y.
As if bridge weren't enough.
Regarding two recent cover photographs, we prefer the dames over the dogs.
JIM ALGEO, GREG GODEC, MARK BISHOP, GARY MANN, RICHARD HACKETT
Your Feb. 24 issue was perfect for my new puppy.
THOMAS F. STIENSTRA
Palo Alto, Calif.
After reading the article (Lowdown on the Top Dogs), I'd say it was a great shaggy-dog story.
I enjoyed your article on Westminster. However, I think you should have made it even clearer that Captain Arthur J. Haggerty was ringside judging, which is a pretty precarious practice, even for one as experienced as Haggerty. Your article made all of the judges look ignorant because they didn't have the sense to pick Haggerty's ringside choice. You can tell much by movement, but there is a lot hidden under those gorgeous coats and inside the mouths that only the judge who has gone over the dog could know.
Winning best-in-show at Westminster is a very big honor. It would be sad to have any of this esteem taken away from the Old English sheepdog by Haggerty's remarks.
MRS. C. M. SUNDERLAND
I suggest that if Captain Haggerty finds a way to keep an Old English's muzzle clean (barring a face-wash after every meal), he let the world in on the secret. Of course, Haggerty would prefer the miniature pinscher—neither has much hair.
I agree with Captain Haggerty that temperament should play an important role in the decision of whether or not to breed a specific animal. After his discourses on the importance of temperament and the "aggressiveness" of the Old English sheepdog, he states that Ch. Sir Lancelot of Barvan had a "dirty muzzle" and adds, "a dog like that should not win Westminster." The fact that Sir Lancelot did not take a bite out of Haggerty is testimony to his good nature.
After reading the paragraph on the Yorkshire terrier the average person is going to believe that all Yorkies have open skulls and can easily die. This is not true. The problem will occur more often in the toy breeds but is not common. Ask any reputable Yorkshire terrier breeder. In the future, we hope your Westinsmter review will be in better taste, or please don't bother.
LEONA and SCOTT RYAN
As an exhibitor and fancier of dogs, I have to say that your article by Robert H. Boyle was one of the best I've ever read. The comments by Captain Haggerty may well have provided the impetus and hammer blows that are needed to shake up modern dog showing.
To have given an open critique, such as Haggerty did, on our most prestigious show, the Westminster, will undoubtedly not endear him to many, but he gained the respect of countless others. To name names and point out faults required tremendous courage and an all-consuming personal honesty, which appear to be lacking in the show world of today.
ROBERT H. BURNS
Silence Is Golden Basenji Club
Captain Haggerty says it all in 17 sweet words: "...any dog that becomes a champion in the show ring should be able to pass working tests."
Now let's go to work and get back to the main point of dogs.
RAYMOND C. HOAGLAND
Fair Haven, N.J.
Never have I read such a satisfying article as Richard W. Johnston's These Vikings Were Steelier (Feb. 24). I have been a Viking fan for quite some time now and my loyalty to them was severely tested after their disappointing play in this year's Super Bowl. But your article restored my confidence in them, not just as a football team but as people. I'm sure they can pull themselves together and have another good year, one they can be proud of. And if they don't, with a little practice they could be tug-of-war champions of the world.
Columbia Falls, Mont.
Dave Osborn says, "It was the greatest experience, the greatest victory, I've ever had in sport. Better than any football game...and people who see that tug-of-war on television will remember it when they've forgotten who played in the 1975 Super Bowl."
I remember who played in the 1975 Super Bowl. The Steelers wiped the Vikings off the field. They dominated the game in every aspect. If I were privileged enough to be a Steeler and someone asked me about the tug-of-war, I would simply hold up my hand and show him my Super Bowl ring.
BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER
I've always respected SI for standing up to the biggies in the sports world, but you really blew it with "Set 'Em Up in the Other Alley" (SCORECARD, Feb. 24). You openly contradict yourself. You say girls join boys' sports because girls have no other outlet for their talent. Maybe these guys had no other outlet but to play on the girls' team; after all, there was no boys' team. Let's face it, it girls can compete with guys—well, it works both ways. You can't have your cake and eat it.
Women ought to read the Equal Rights Amendment. Men also ought to wake up; a lot of money awaits those entering female tournaments.
The best of both worlds is no longer available, ladies. The ERA offers you combat boots, not roses or candy, because those days are gone forever.
SAMUEL A. NIGRO, M.D.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
At last the shoe is on the other foot. Educators in America must realize, and quickly, the absurdity of girls on boys' teams and boys on girls' teams. What is needed are separate outlets for boys and girls to further their athletic talents. If the formulation of separate teams for boys and girls necessitates a cut in boys' athletic funds, so be it. But it is something that must be done, and the sooner the better. Until then, if the girls are going to participate on boys' teams, then boys should be allowed to develop their athletic abilities on girls' teams. Gentlemen, keep on bowling!
KEITH A. MAHAFFEY
North Riverside, Ill.
VIOLENT HOCKEY (CONT.)
This letter is in response to the increasing uproar over the violence prevalent in ice hockey today. I believe this criticism is unjustified in that it merely segregates one manifestation of our violent society.
Hockey provides what the majority of the ticket-buying public wants to see, speed and violence. If rock 'em, sock 'em hockey did not attract large crowds throughout the United States and Canada, you can bet that the front offices would change the playing tactics of their teams.
We live in a violent world and ice hockey is an extension of it. All of us should realize that criticism directed at hockey is, in truth, criticism directed at our society. Hockey will become less violent when our society becomes less violent. Until then we can continue to criticize, continue to buy tickets or, as many do, continue to do both.
W. STEWART MOSS
IDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
On behalf of the ever-increasing number of flying disc enthusiasts, let me thank you for your entertaining coverage of two of our more prominent figures, John Kirkland and Victor Malafronte ("They Are My Life and My Wife", Feb. 24). I only wish that you could have provided the reader with a clearer description of the degree to which the sport is developing.
This summer there will be six major events on the North American tournament schedule. The forms of competition are quite diverse, ranging from disc golf to freestyle. The competitors are drawn from across the continent, and they are dedicated. The result is a fascinating display of talent which, like Victor and John's act, draws an amazed reaction from spectators. I'm sure both John and Vic will attest to the severity of the competition at these events.
Many of us look forward to a flying disc show in the future, possibly with basketball as a warm-up act.
Flying Disc World
Applause for your interesting feature on the young wrestling prodigy Jimmy Carr (Driving Up with a Compact Carr, Feb. 24). More applause for your prescient observation that Michigan State's two-time NCAA champ, Pat Milkovich, might prove to be a stumbling block for Jimmy. Milkovich dawdled for around 10 seconds of their Feb. 21 match before recording his first takedown en route to a convincing 9-2 victory.
Barry McDermott's article about young Bill Cartwright (A High Road for a Hot High-Schooler, Feb. 24) shows that there are still great athletes whose values transcend million-dollar contracts. Every year we hear about agile giants who can jump and shoot. But one who respects his parents' judgment? Who values an education? Who has poise and discipline at 17? That's news.
Let us hope Bill has the impact, in both talent and character, that another great USF center had 20 years ago. You know who I mean. Ron Watts' friend.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.