With the temperature plummeting below zero, the wind-chill readings falling to intolerable levels and the snowfall exceeding predictions, the last thing I needed was a Winter Sports Special (Dec. 11). Bring on your annual swimsuit preview!
John G. Zimmerman's photographs of ski bowls (Whoopee Wonderland, Dec. 11) left me spellbound. They were so lifelike that I thought I was there instead of here in rainy Virginia.
JOHN W. KRAUS
I must admit that your article on ski bowls was informative, interesting and exciting. But when William Oscar Johnson concludes by saying, "Bowl skiing is as good as skiing gets," I have to disagree.
Tree skiing is the ultimate. It is steep and challenging, and the quality of the snow is better, because the trees offer more protection from wind and sun.
The article Daring Young Man on a Tower of Ice (Dec. 11) is a fascinating account of a challenging experience. The superb writing of William Oscar Johnson allowed me to admire both the climber and the poetry of his movement. This was more than a story, it was a gift of sharing.
RABBI ELLIOT HOLIN
Westlake Village, Calif.
The account of Jeff Lowe's solo ice climb was most engrossing. Johnson writes with such a sense of realism and detail that one can almost imagine oneself clinging to frozen Bridalveil Fall. Also, my congratulations to Photographer Willis A. Wood for some excellent pictures.
RICHARD A. PERRY
I was interested in your SCORECARD item (Dec. 11) on the Cincinnati Reds' firing of Manager Sparky Anderson. Executive Vice-President Dick Wagner's excuse for the firing was the weakest one I have ever heard. He said that Anderson didn't speak out strongly against Pete Rose's defection. What could Anderson say? He had no control over the purse strings.
If the Reds are smart, they'll fire Wagner and John McNamara, Anderson's replacement (I use that term loosely), then rehire Anderson and his coaches and give the rest of the unsigned players everything they want.
I suggest not a fan boycott of Opening Day, but a totally silent crowd. Picture 50,000 Cincinnati fans sitting in Riverfront Stadium for three hours with their arms folded, uttering not a sound. That should let the sports world know how we feel about the shabby treatment of Sparky Anderson by Dick Wagner.
DAVID E. CARTER
PRIDE AND POISE
Pride comes easily to an Oakland Raider fan, what with the Raiders having pro football's best record over the previous 10 years.
Poise, however, is difficult to maintain when guys like Joe Marshall try to wipe that pride away because of one poor game (The Broncos Say Thanks, Dec. 11).
Why can't everybody let the Oakland Raiders die in peace?
ALAN R. EAGLE
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
BALLARD AND GRETZKY
How can Toronto Maple Leaf owner Harold Ballard (A Tongue on the Loose, Dec. 11) be against an NHL-WHA merger? Look at the NFL and the NBA. They merged with or absorbed their rival leagues and are successful. It seems to me the NHL can use all the help it can get. Ballard should be trying to help the whole league, not just himself. Not even Jerry Kirshenbaum's fine article on the WHA's Wayne Gretzky (Minor Miracle Up North) could save this issue, but thanks for the picture of the Edmonton Oilers' Bill Flett.
A player of the caliber and potential of Wayne Gretzky is all the more reason for the WHA and NHL to merge. Then we who live in NHL cities can see this extraordinarily talented athlete.
R. P. FOX
Little Neck, N. Y.
MONDAY SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Regarding the "Monday night alternative," (TV/RADIO, Dec. 11), commercial time on the 1978 ABC telecasts was unavailable to Budweiser, so we purchased the CBS Radio package. Anxious to promote listenership, and thus increase the reach of our commercials, our brand team made an announcement at the outset emphasizing the excellence of the Jack Buck-Hank Stram broadcast team.
However, for reasons we do not completely understand, our announcement struck the fancy of certain journalists, including one at SI. As a result, Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser were put in the position of impugning, at least implicitly, the quality and character of the ABC-TV team.
While Buck and Stram have been excellent all season long, any suggestion that the ABC team is anything less than outstanding is to us both regrettable and untrue.
Let's face it. ABC-TV made Monday Night Football the American institution it has become, and the trio of men in ABC's broadcasting booth deserves the lion's share of the credit. More to the point, if commercial time on the ABC telecasts were available, we would execute the buy without hesitation.
MICHAEL J. ROARTY
Vice President, Marketing
With Jack Buck and Hank Stram reporting, you don't even need a TV to get a clear picture of what's going on.
My only regret is that this article was not published before the season started.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed your college basketball issue (Nov. 27), I was disturbed by your failure to mention the U.S. Air Force Academy's women's team, which had a 20-2 record last season and was one of the best Division II teams in the Rocky Mountain area. Considering that last year's team was made up entirely of freshmen and sophomores, this year's should be even better.
CADET JOHN T. FARQUHAR
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
I read your survey of women's basketball and was intrigued to note that Chris Critelli will perform for Old Dominion. She already has played for two Canadian universities, Winnipeg (1975-76) and Laurentian (1976-78). Let's stop pretending that this is collegiate athletics. Women's sports do not seem to have profited at all from the mistakes of men's intercollegiate athletics.
JOHN H. WREDE
Due West, S.C.
•Because Critelli is attending Old Dominion on a sports scholarship given by the Canadian government, the AIAW has ruled her ineligible to play with the Lady Monarchs this season. However, Critelli plans to return to Old Dominion next year and is expected to play out her remaining season of eligibility then.—ED.
You put together an excellent college basketball preview. However, in Steve Wulf's article on the small colleges, he focuses on the Hamilton Continentals, a marvelously talented Division III squad that went 23-3 last year. The Continentals had the nation's longest winning streak—21 games—a year ago, until they met the Great Danes of Albany (N.Y.) State, who shocked Hamilton 94-83, and then proved it was no fluke by defeating the Continentals 101-95 a few days later to win the ECAC Upstate New York Tournament. The Great Danes have another strong team this season.
MAKE ROOM FOR PETRIE
In your review of college basketball's vintage years (Nov. 27), you omitted Geoff Petrie from the class of 1967-70. There's no doubt that the players mentioned (Maravich, Issel, Lanier, Murphy, Mount, Scott, Archibald, Cowens and Tomjanovich) were the cream of the crop. However, Petrie must be considered a member of this elite group. After a fine career at Princeton, Geoff played six seasons with the Trail Blazers. In his first year, Geoff became the seventh rookie in NBA history to score 2,000 or more points, which earned him co-Rookie of the Year honors with Dave Cowens. Unfortunately, recurring knee problems forced him to retire at 28, when he was still in his prime.
MICHAEL J. WEBER
VOICE OF THE WOLVERINES
Thank you for the story on Bob Ufer (TV/RADIO, Dec. 4). The intensity of his Maize and Blue tunnel vision is equaled by the intensity of his love and concern for the game, its players and their fans. Ufer is first class all the way.
I listen to Bob Ufer every Saturday there is a game I cannot attend.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Several weeks ago I had to listen to Bob Ufer's description of the Michigan-Michigan State game on my rented car's AM radio. What a relief it was to reach my friends' home in Ann Arbor and listen to Tom Hemingway call the game on the university's FM station, WUOM. Having lived in Ann Arbor for nine years, I have formed the opinion that Hemingway is one of the ablest announcers in the business. Too bad John Papanek didn't do a piece on him instead of the sophomoric Ufer, who is the worst announcer I've ever heard on a broadcast not coming from Chicago.
H. ANTHONY ASHBY
This is the third occasion of my writing SI, and all of my letters have been concerned with the same athletic achievement—namely, the winning of the Illinois Class 4-A high school football championship by Joliet (Ill.) Catholic High School.
The object of my first letter (1975) was to gain recognition for Joliet Catholic's feat and to make SI aware of the beginning of a dynasty. My second letter (1976) acknowledged the relative insignificance (to a national sports magazine) of that first championship, in light of all the high school teams that win state championships each year—but also pointed out that Joliet Catholic had done it again.
This letter, after a one-year hiatus (building my case, as it were), comes to advise you that the dynasty is in full sway. Joliet Catholic has just completed another undefeated season, shutting out all four championship playoff opponents en route to its fourth consecutive Illinois 4-A championship.
Additionally, the Hilltoppers have now won 32 consecutive games, won or shared their conference title in seven of the last eight years and won 58 of their last 60 games, 23 of them shutouts. Over their four championship seasons they have a regular-season record of 51-1.
I might add that Coach Gordon Gillespie not only guided Joliet Catholic's football team to the four championships, but he also coached Lewis University of nearby Romeoville, Ill. to three consecutive NAIA baseball championships.
Please, for Gordie and his young men, give Joliet Catholic some mention.
R. J. WILSTERMAN
Class of' 57
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