Super college basketball issue (Nov. 27)! Please don't leave me in suspense, though. Did Earvin Johnson make the cover shot?
BRIAN J. FAHEY
•Without even ripping his tailcoat.—ED.
REACHING FOR THE TOP HAT
A great job of ranking the Top 20 teams. The Duke Blue Devils are the "class of the country."
I'm not saying Duke isn't good, but Notre Dame is great. We'll see who's No. 1.
Boca Raton, Fla.
The North Carolina Tar Heels will be on top, led by Mike O'Koren. Everyone knows Coach Dean Smith is the basketball world's answer to Merlin the Magician.
Michigan State should be No. 1, with two possible All-Americas in Earvin Johnson and Greg Kelser. You hardly mentioned Kelser. He led the Spartans with a 17.7-point scoring average and 9.1 rebounds per game last season. He also had a 61% shooting average from the field.
Battle Creek, Mich.
You write that "UCLA isn't UCLA anymore," yet by my count the initials UCLA appeared 67 times on 19 different pages of your college basketball issue. Not bad for a school whose "mystique is gone."
GARY L. GAILE
Kentucky a "have-not" team? Kentucky has two of the best guards in the country. Kyle Macy and Truman Claytor. In Kentucky there's no such thing as a have-not team.
I fail to see how Iona (No. 9) can be ranked higher than Syracuse (No. 17).
•Maybe it shouldn't have been. See page 73.—ED.
You left out Rutgers.
Garden Grove, Calif.
De Witt, Ark.
You'll be sorry when Coach Bob Dye and Calvin Roberts lead Cal State-Fullerton to the Top 20 this year.
•No, we'll be very happy. Go get 'em, Titans.—ED.
Your only mistake was in leaving out the Virginia Cavaliers.
I enjoyed the article Irish with a Touch of Limey (Nov. 20) by Robert H. Boyle. My father spent a great part of his life breeding and running red dogs in field trials. One of my earliest memories is of riding in the back seat of an old Buick with a red setter on one side of me and a pointer on the other. Red setters are a worthy breed and it is good to see them gaining more recognition.
MARTHA E. BAYNARD
It seems every week you come up with a new and refreshing article, and your piece on red setters was no exception. My hunting hat goes off to Robert H. Boyle.
Your story about the Irish (and English) setters was for the dogs. Why don't you have more articles on surfing?
OUTWITTING THE SQUIRRELS
Jeannette Bruce is not alone (VIEWPOINT, Nov. 27). Ringling Bros, never put on a show as daring as the one our squirrels performed at the Droll Yankee bird feeder I put up at a friend's house last Christmas.
For more than a month I kept devising new antisquirrel measures, none of which was successful for much more than a minute and a half, and I became the butt of numerous jokes. Two square feet of sheet metal and eight square feet of clear plastic sheeting finally did the trick (or else the squirrels simply got tired of the game). Theirs was the last laugh, though, because whenever I look at that bird feeder now, I'm not looking for birds, I'm looking for squirrels.
BRAINARD COOPER JR.
Your story about deer hunting in Pennsylvania's Potter County (The Rites of Autumn, Nov. 27) reaffirmed my opinion that the American sportsman is dead.
Every year on Opening Day, too many "slob hunters" with high-powered rifles, CB radios and four-wheel-drive vehicles are turned loose on the countryside—all in the name of "harvesting" our wildlife. It is a disgusting scene.
Bil Gilbert's article hit the nail on the head concerning the wild and crazy things that occur on Opening Day. Having fished and hunted in Potter County, I too stand in awe of this vast, beautiful area. I only hope that man in his foolishness and greed will not ruin the mountains and streams of "God's country."
Along with the CBS documentary The Guns of Autumn of a few years ago, your article ranks as one of the biggest pieces of biased journalistic propaganda to yet fuel the fires of the antigun lobbyists and give sportsmen a black eye. How about getting back to unbiased hunting coverage?
God does not shoot deer.
PETER E. PICKETT
VASSS FOR SOCCER
Thank you for your confidence in my ability to devise a sudden-death system for soccer (SCORECARD, Nov. 27).
I attended an English school, arriving on Sept. 19, 1912, my birthday. What a present! The first time I appeared on the soccer field. I found the ball at my feet. In my confusion, I kicked at it wildly, and scored a goal. Unfortunately. I put the ball through the goalposts of my own team. It took me weeks to live it down.
Soccer became my love. I practiced kicking the ball against the gym wall by the hour. In 1913 I was center half on the second team and looked forward to taking that position on the first team in 1914. Unfortunately, World War I intervened.
You asked me to find a way to cut out the extra time periods when the score is tied. I give it to you: raise the height of the goal crossbar by two feet, increase the width of the goal by two or three feet and eliminate the center halfback from each team. Many more goals will be scored. The drama will be heightened. After all, shooting goals is what brings the excitement. If the elimination of one defender doesn't do the trick, eliminate one or maybe both fullbacks. You'll find it simplifies the problem.
At present in soccer, there are too many feet in the way, spoiling the shot at goal.
Now if you'd like to eliminate domination of the game of basketball by outsized giants, give me a call.
JAMES H. VAN ALEN
ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY
Having been a Seaway pilot for some 18 years on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and a shipmaster in offshore trade, I have developed some ideas relative to Seaway winter navigation that have apparently been overlooked by the participants in this hotly contested issue (A Winter of Discontent Heats Up, Nov. 20).
I feel sure that the employment of saltwater ships on the St. Lawrence above Montreal in winter would be minimal because, I believe, few owners would engage their ships in a trade so apt to result in high insurance costs, tugboat and icebreaker assistance costs, higher tariffs, higher pilotage rates and, most of all, costly delays caused by ice damage and/or periods of limited visibility whenever the water is exposed to below-zero F. ambient temperatures.
The most likely prospects for winter navigation on the St. Lawrence would be the Russians, who have cargo vessels strengthened for use in ice in the Baltic and the White seas, and whose government subsidy would offset financial losses caused by delays. This leaves the 730-foot lake vessels that carry the preponderance of Seaway bulk cargoes: iron ore and grain. These ships are not designed for navigation in ice and would be subject to the same risks as saltwater vessels, both financial and physical.
Therefore, with greatly reduced traffic and much higher costs during the winter months, I see little justification for the expenditure of large sums of taxpayers' money to make winter navigation on the St. Lawrence possible, especially during this period of high inflation when the entire country is seeking relief from excessive spending.
JOSEPH J. STROKIRK
I pored over Robert Boyle's article on the St. Lawrence River and found myself reminiscing about the 25 summers I spent at my father's house on Wellesley Island.
The St. Lawrence Seaway project of the '50s made a permanent scar on the river by changing the contour of many of the Thousand Islands and deepening the channel to allow ocean vessels to pass through to the Great Lakes. The freighters do add an international flavor to the backwoods and are quite elegant at night as they slip quietly by. However, they have failed to provide the financial success that many were led to expect by those who encouraged the Seaway.
It was not until 1976, when a barge full of No. 6 crude oil hit a shoal off Wellesley Island and then proceeded to an anchorage about four miles upstream, spilling oil all the way, that the majority of the islanders began questioning the Seaway. That oil spill did damage to the environment and to the tourist trade. All the islands hit by the oil and all the bays in which the oil collected still bear the scars.
I cannot see how it would be possible to create a safe winter passageway. It would not only endanger the environment and the lives of fish and game but it would also jeopardize the lives of the islanders. Many depend upon snowmobiles to get from island to island and to the mainland in the winter. With open water, it would be impossible to live on some islands during the cold months. Game animals also have certain paths across the ice that would be blocked by open water. And fish would be disturbed from their winter habitat. I hope you will keep us informed of the outcome of this controversy through future articles.
JAMES E. HOFFMAN
North Hollywood, Calif.
Sportsman of the Year? Why Syracuse Center Roosevelt Bouie, of course. He managed to catch five muskie "whoppers" in Oneida Lake (The Top 20, Nov. 27) even though most world-class fisherman would have trouble finding five muskies in that walleyed pike-filled lake. Give Rosie a dunking for his fish story.
•They were walleyes.—ED.
I have read the letters in your latest issues and I can't believe some of the candidates proposed for SI's 1978 Sportsman of the Year award. There's only one person who deserves the award, Tom Sneva, two-time USAC driving champion.
Francis Tarkenton is having the best year of his career.
Charleston, W. Va.
This has been the year of the team, and the most outstanding team is the 1978 New York Yankees.
Why not give bowlers some long overdue recognition? This year Mark Roth has won more money and more tournaments than any other bowler in history. He deserves to be Sportsman.
LOST AT SEA
That was a great story by H. Marvin Bird (A Long Time Between Beers, Nov. 13) regarding his and Bill Knorr's ordeal. What is left out is the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force and the San Diego County Sheriffs Department (the agency responsible for coordinating searches for U.S. citizens south of the California border) were all completely amazed that these two men survived the 11 days at sea. Marv made it sound almost easy, almost routine. It wasn't. Very few people would have survived such an experience. Knorr, for example, lost a total of 49 pounds.
Marv and Bill were located on the last pass of the last day the government agencies planned to search. Civilian planes were calling it quits, too. Paul Palmquist, George Morales and I (three friends and business associates of Bird and Knorr) also had searched from my Aero Commander. We had given up hope but planned to come back the next day to continue to search alone. As we were clearing customs in Calexico, we learned of the rescue. I'll bet that customs officer still remembers three grown men crying so hard with relief and joy that they could not see to fill out the forms.
Indian Wells, Calif.
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