OLYMPIANS IN REVIEW
Congratulations on the excellent coverage of the 1976 Winter Olympic Games, especially William Oscar Johnson's article Opening Up Those Golden Gates (Feb. 23). The photographs were breathtaking, with one possible exception. Bobby Clarke may be the NHL's best, but the pixie from Riverside, Conn., Dorothy Hamill, skated her way to a gold and, for her performance, deserved to be on your cover.
Good judgment, SI. Dorothy Hamill dazzles the world with elegance on ice. Rosi Mittermaier charms Innsbruck to its knees with her golden smile. And you put a street-hockey player on the cover.
A close-up of Dorothy doing her "Hamill camel" might have gotten Cover of the Year honors, plus at least a 5.9 from the Russian judge. Oh, well, on page 17 you did give us a full-page shot of her standing on the winner's platform, and she looks just fine, thank you.
Page 17 never had it so good.
March 8, 1976
Admit it, that couldn't have been Anett Poetzschhpinkly flopping onto the ice in the picture on page 21. It had to be Dorothy Hamill looking for a lost contact lens.
Kew Gardens, N.Y.
•Nope. It was Anett Poetzsch—pinkly taking a pratfall.—ED.
Come now! As you said (TV/RADIO, Feb. 23), Dick Button rarely uses superlatives, yet he called John Curry's performance the greatest he had ever seen. SI relegated the finest five minutes in Olympic figure-skating history to FOR THE RECORD. Furthermore, neither SI nor ABC saw fit to emphasize the fact that both Curry and Dorothy Hamill have the same coach, Carlo Fassi.
Your Olympic coverage was excellent. But leaving out Curry is like reviewing the '75 World Series without mentioning Pete Rose.
LESLIE C. McANENY
Colleen O'Connor and Jim Millns won a bronze in ice dancing, a new Olympic sport, and they were barely mentioned.
DOREEN C. DALLAS
I was amazed to read in your Olympic preview (Feb. 2) that Sheila Young skates without socks. That must mean she simultaneously experiences the ecstasy of victory and the agony of de feet.
RUTH HUBBS KENNEY
Fort Jones, Calif.
In case you forgot, there is a country north of you called Canada. I was thoroughly disgusted at your failure to recognize three members of Canada's ski team. Ken Read, David Irwin and Jim Hunter all finished in the top 10 in the premier ski event at Innsbruck, the men's downhill.
New Hamburg, Ontario
Although there were many outstanding athletes, the true heroine of Innsbruck was Rosi Mittermaier. She deserves the highest accolades not just for her years of struggle and dedication, which paid off in three medals, but for always maintaining a friendly and exuberant attitude—her all-too-rare ability to smile, win or lose. Rosi embodies the ideal of the Olympic movement.
William Leggett's review of TV coverage of the Winter Olympics properly awarded gold medals to Dick Button and the ABC camera crews. How about another for your own Anita Verschoth? Her background section in your Olympic preview was our family's bible for the Games, and our faith was rewarded by the accuracy of her predictions, particularly in skating.
JOHN S. BLISS
New York City
My compliments to Ray Kennedy on an expertly written piece on the leader of the two-time Stanley Cup champions (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Clarke, Feb. 23). Bobby Clarke and friends have brought us Philly fans something we have long been waiting for: respectability in the professional sports world. Now it is a great feeling to wake up in the morning and read the sports page.
Take Pete Rose and Jimmy Connors for fierce competitiveness. Add Henry Aaron for a consistently good job year after year. Throw in Bill Russell for the ability to bring a team together. Add a truckload each of unselfishness, humility and kindness. What do you have? The finest man around, in or out of sports: hardworking Bobby Clarke.
Atlantic City, N.J.
I agree that Bobby Clarke is a player who always gives 100%, but I also think he is a dirty hockey player who gets away with too much. I was glad to see Ray Kennedy bring out the fact that even Coach Fred Shero admits, "Clarke carries his stick a little higher than it should be."
FREE THROW OR THROWAWAY?
Indiana's nationally televised overtime defeat of Michigan (BASKETBALL'S WEEK, Feb. 16) presented a perfect example of one of basketball's ridiculous rules. Indiana won because it violated the rules. By committing more than the limit of six personal fouls in the second half, the Hoosiers forced Michigan, leading by two points with 14 seconds left, to go to the line and risk giving Indiana the ball, which it did without scoring any points. If Indiana had not been over the foul limit, Michigan would have kept the ball. Similarly, if the rules allowed a team that was fouled in, say, the last two minutes of each half the choice of keeping the ball instead of having to shoot one-and-one free throws Michigan undoubtedly would have elected to keep the ball, and most likely would have won. The rule should be changed.
FRANK G. POLLOCK
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
MANAGING THE BULLS
Curry Kirkpatrick seems to draw some unusual conclusions about the Chicago Bulls and their managing partner, Jonathan Kovler (Choice Seats at the Bull Ring, Feb. 2). As Kovler's close personal friend for more than 12 of his 29 years, I can assure you that the Bulls are not one of his "toys." He is an intelligent, articulate gentleman with a logical business mind. As a dean's list student at American University and as the current director of a large charitable foundation, he has demonstrated that he can do more in 24 hours than most people can in a week.
Since when is it wrong to apply some normal "rules of thumb" to professional basketball players who think that signed three-year contracts should be torn up and renegotiated at their whim? Unlike Kovler, some star-struck owners drool at their players' feet, give them enormous salaries and guarantee a losing season at the gate. Professional basketball needs more owners like Kovler.
RONALD B. NISSENBAUM
HUNTING IN BAJA
I found your Jan. 19 article Baja: Road to Adventure factual and exciting, but a bit irresponsible. You mention the availability of bighorn-sheep hunting but you do not mention that it is illegal to hunt this animal in Baja unless you qualify for a bighorn-sheep permit, which costs $4,100. Only 20 of these permits are given to nonresidents each season. Anyone caught hunting this animal without a permit is subject to imprisonment, fine and confiscation of all guns and equipment, including automobile and /or plane.
You also mention white-winged dove shooting. The limit for white-wing in Baja is 10 per day Monday through Thursday, 20 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 1 to March 31, and you must have a hunting license ($67.20).
I was born in Baja, and it is now my job to help protect her against irresponsible adventurers. Your article tends to suggest that anybody may go down there and shoot whatever he feels like, and of course this is misleading.
Mexican Game Department
CULLING THE HUNTERS
I read Russell Chatham's article Shooting Elk in a Barrel (Feb. 2) with interest, as I am a junior at Montana State University majoring in fish and wildlife management. I am also an avid hunter.
Controversy has clouded the Yellowstone elk situation for many years. The problem boils down to this: there are too many elk for their traditional winter range to support. The late-season "hunt" would be a good management tool were it not for the inept hunters who shoot at elk "over a mile away" or those who just "fired into the herd" and got one. Herein lies the problem. The blame rests not with the Department of Fish and Game, but with those who cannot conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner, yet still have the gall to call themselves hunters.
For as long as I have been hunting I have been told that slobs such as these make up only a small percentage of all hunters, and it is this "small percentage" that ruins it for the vast majority. If these slobs are so few in number, why do I keep running into them? I think it's time to stop fooling ourselves and admit that there are more "slob" hunters than we care to realize. We have to find some way to change them into responsible hunters or face the possibility of losing the sport entirely. The general public will not stand for much more of this.
FAST FASTPITCH PITCHER
With the abundance of sports activities in the world today, some are bound to be overlooked. However, the accomplishments of Ty Stofflet and the Rising Sun Hotel fastpitch softball team of Reading, Pa. representing the U.S. at the world tournament in New Zealand should not pass unheralded.
On Feb. 5 in a game against New Zealand, Stofflet pitched 20 innings without allowing a hit, struck out 32 of the 61 batters he faced and batted in the winning run (Rising Sun won 1-0). He struck out the side in the second, sixth, seventh, 12th, 15th and 18th innings and at one point had a string of eight straight strikeouts. A hit batter in the 19th inning was all that prevented Stofflet from pitching a perfect game.
Such a performance should be recognized, even though the world championships ended in a three-way tie for first place (Canada, New Zealand, Rising Sun) because of poor weather conditions.
FRED DEP. ROTHERMEL JR.
A JUDGE'S VIEW ON VIOLENCE
Inability to find space for playing the popular sports is a frustrating fact of life in urban America. The vacant lots and side streets that once served as playgrounds have been built up or are choked with parked cars and moving traffic. And playgrounds provided by city planners are too small and too few.
As I see it, there is a connection between this pent-up frustration and the tendency to brutality and violence in spectator sports. This tendency has become most apparent in hockey, but can spread to other spectator sports and may adversely affect the future of them all. In his recent article (Wanted: An End to Mayhem, Nov. 17) Ray Kennedy spread the blame among the hockey players, the media, the managers and the owners, but he let the spectators off almost scotfree. There are those who believe the root cause of this violence can be traced to a certain kind of spectator. Alas, we all know the type: they might be called the "violence freaks." The power of these "violence freaks" to denigrate modern sports should not be underestimated.
I suggest that both the past and the present indicate that "violence freaks" may be a root cause of violence in hockey and other spectator sports. But what can be done to protect and preserve these sports? I cannot give you the answer, although as an aging judge I have had long experience with violent personalities in criminal courts, a place they much frequent. Their cure is well beyond the expertise of the legal and medical professions. But a partial cure may lie in sports themselves. These troublesome people have had little or no experience in playing any body-contact sport. They may be the byproduct of the urban shortage of space for sports. Could it be that some sharp physical contact might help them? I, for one, believe it might. I suggest that we revive a court game once played by the ancient Olmecs and Mayas—men and women. What makes it most suitable for urban play is that it required little space and was a body-only game. Neither hands nor feet could touch the ball, which was made of solid rubber and weighed 20 to 25 pounds. The ball was moved into a goal at either end of the small court by players striking it with their heads, shoulders, chests, buttocks, elbows or knees, and it was bounced not only on the floor of the court but also on the sloping walls flanking each side.
Lest anyone think such a game might foster violence, let it be noted that spectators of this ancient sport are reported to have taken a dim view of outbursts of resentment between players. They had a cry, "Bad-tempered coward!" that seems to have been an effective check against wanton exertions of strength or intentional injuries.
J. RANDALL CREEL
Mill Neck, N.Y.
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