Your article on Alabama's victory in the Sugar Bowl (The Rising of the Tide, Jan. 8) was great, and the cover picture was one of the best ever taken. But the final UPI ratings—USC No. 1, Alabama No. 2—have cheated Alabama out of a second national title. Last year in the Sugar Bowl, No. 3 Alabama defeated No. 9 Ohio State, while No. 2 Oklahoma lost to No. 6 Arkansas in the Orange Bowl and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Notre Dame was given the national title.
This year No. 2 Alabama soundly whips No. 1 Penn State, while No. 3 USC beats No. 5 Michigan on a terrible call by an official, and USC ends up with the national title. It's just not fair.
Your Sept. 18 article on the shortcomings of the college football polls (To the Polls, Weakly) has just been made more valid. UPI's No. 3 team beats the No. 5 team and moves up to No. 1. Strange.
Here is a question for the esteemed UPI board of coaches: If USC was voted No. 1 because it beat Alabama earlier in the season, why was USC not ranked No. 2 before the bowl games, instead of Alabama?
DORIS S. SEALS
January 22, 1979
After reading your coverage of the Rose Bowl and Charles White's phantom touchdown, I could not help but recall the title of your Nov. 20 article on USC tailbacks, It's Not Just a Run of Luck.
USC tailbacks are faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. They are also able to score a touchdown without the football.
It is beyond me how USC can "defeat" Notre Dame and Michigan on two very controversial calls and still move from No. 5 to No. 1. Maybe it is a run of luck.
RICHARD T. McKENNA
Perhaps you should rename your magazine SPORTS INSIGHT. In your Rose Bowl preview (Dec. 25-Jan. 1) you have a sketch showing an official's arms extending out of a rose. Could that be line judge Gilbert Marchman signaling the phantom touchdown by Charles White on New Year's Day?
It seems to me that it was unworthy of you to give Woody Hayes the back of your hand (SCORECARD, Jan. 8). I would think you could show some sympathy for this fine and decent man who has had his great career end in this very sad way.
RALPH R. BAYER
Your SCORECARD item on Woody Hayes seemed rather one-sided. There was no mention of Woody's trips to Vietnam during that conflict, or of his visits to servicemen's families after he returned from those trips, visits he financed out of his own pocket. This is only one example of his humanity. Let's face it. Whoever replaces Wayne Woodrow Hayes as coach of Ohio State follows a legend, whether he likes it or not.
THOMAS E. HILL
Hayes' violent antics were not only dangerous and irresponsible but also set a horrible example for players and young viewers. I congratulate Ohio State on firing Hayes. His outstanding record is overshadowed by his behavior at the Gator Bowl.
A great article and a great call for Jack Nicklaus (Still Glittering After All These Years, Dec. 25-Jan. 1)! The honor of Sportsman of the Year is well deserved. I first met Jack when we were both 15 years old. I represented New Jersey and Jack represented Ohio in the Jaycee National Junior Golf Championship at Columbus, Ga. Not only is Jack the best golfer of this era but also he is a total sportsman. Now that he has decided to challenge us in the golf-design field, it will be a lifelong contest. He still has a long way to go to catch up, but we welcome the challenge. The game as a whole will benefit.
ROBERT TRENT JONES JR.
Palo Alto, Calif.
I knew that your selection of Jack Nicklaus as Sportsman of the Year would arouse controversy. However, when Clinton Sundberg of Studio City, Calif. writes, "Golf is not a sport and golfers are not athletes" (19TH HOLE, Jan. 8), I feel I must rebut.
I began to play organized baseball at age 10 and played for six years. I began to fish when I was eight and continued until I was 14, I started hunting small game and white-tailed deer when I was 12 and continue to hunt today at age 26. I played three years of junior high football and three years of high school football. I have played power volleyball since I was in 10th grade and probably hundreds of games of basketball, bowling, racquetball and tennis. And I have golfed regularly since I was 16. Of all those sports, I have no hesitation in saying that golf is far and away the most difficult, the most challenging and the most demanding.
The ultimate challenge in golf comes down to the fact that you play yourself, not an animal, not another team, not an opponent. While I suppose the same could be said about bowling, it is the variety of factors—the number of possible shots, weather conditions, differing courses, etc.—that make golf the more demanding sport. Every golfer has, at one time or another, drilled a 250-yard drive, or nailed a five-iron tight to the stick, or snapped a 70-yard wedge over a pine tree onto the green, or dropped a 30-foot sidewinder of a putt. The trick is in controlling the environment, your equipment, your body and your mind to do it consistently. In no other sport do all these factors come into play on such an individual basis.
Kenny Moore's cautious, tender glimpse of his venerable grandfather (The Good Fight—for 102 Years, Dec. 25-Jan. 1) is the most delightful thing I have read in years.
KENT DAVENPORT, M.D.
I know this man that Kenny Moore writes about. He is my grandfather, too, although my grandfather's name is different—Hans Julius Petersen—and, at 96, he's six years younger than Fred Moore. Nonetheless, he is that same active, crusty old man that Moore so admires. He is a personification of the human spirit and its refusal to become weak or stale. He is a perennial winner in the game of life; he has real staying power.
It really isn't necessary to tell anyone how much we love him, because when you read between the lines of Kenny's story, you can't help but know.
BARBARA ANN PETERSEN
Kenny Moore has done it again. Every reader with his own memories of a very special grandfather is given a chance to share in a moving tribute to the kind of person who helped make our country great.
Maybe Kenny can't box, but he can run and he sure can write. Fantastic story!
I thoroughly enjoyed James F. Fixx' article on the legend of Pheidippides (On the Run in Search of a Greek Ghost, Dec. 25-Jan. 1). It might be well to remember that although the ancient Greeks revered their athletes, they were not above, making them objects of humor upon occasion. This poem by the Greek poet Nicarchus, as translated by Edwin Arlington Robinson in his Collected Poems, is a good example.
A MIGHTY RUNNER*
The day when Charmus ran with five
In Arcady, as I'm alive,
He came in seventh.—"Five and one
Makes seven, you say? It can't be done."—
Well, if you think it needs a note,
A friend in a fur overcoat
Ran with him, crying all the while,
"You beat 'em, Charmus, by a mile!"
And so he came in seventh.
Therefore, good Zoilus, you see
The thing is plain as plain can be;
And with four more for company,
He would have been eleventh.
When I was Naval attachè to Iran in 1973-75 I helped found Iran Roadrunners, an international group of fun runners. We held a number of races, climaxed by the "Persian Marathon," which we first ran in March 1974. When I came across the finish line in first place, I received cheers from friends, onlookers and a couple of Iranian athletic officials. However, one of the officials took me aside and told me, "In the future, we will not call this a 'marathon.' It is a long-distance race or a 42-km. run." What became instantly clear was that "marathon" is a dirty word in Iran, which, of course, was formerly Persia. Never do they like to be reminded of that disastrous defeat in 490 B.C.
I should add, however, that the next year when we went ahead and called it a marathon anyway, the T shirts we handed out with PERSIAN MARATHON emblazoned on them were highly sought after, even by the Iranian officials.
JOHN A. BUTTERFIELD
There is a fourth basketball coach besides Gene Bartow, Jack Gardner and Frank McGuire who has taken two different universities to the NCAA final four (Branching Out into the Big Time, Dec. 4 and 19TH HOLE, Dec. 18). Forrest (Forddy) Anderson did it with Bradley in 1950 (finishing second to CCNY) and again in 1954 (finishing second to La Salle), then with Michigan State in 1957 (losing a triple-overtime to McGuire's eventual champion North Carolina Tar Heels in the semifinals, and finally finishing fourth).
He is also one of only two coaches to take his team to both the NCAA and the NIT finals in the same year. In 1950 his Bradley Braves were runners-up to Nat Holman's CCNY club in both tournaments.
Billy Pallacanestro Team
LOUGHERY & CO.
In my opinion, you've got the story all wrong concerning coaches like Kevin Loughery who show their emotions during games (The Mouth That Roars, Jan. 8). If one looks back in sports history, one finds many successful coaches who have let their feelings be known to officials. As far as I can see, it's the teams with the quiet "Everything will be all right" attitudes that are losers, no matter how much talent they have. Physical violence is wrong, but there is nothing wrong with giving one's vocal cords some exercise.
New York City
As director of a CYO basketball program, I was pleased to see your article. Kevin Loughery is a disgraceful example to youth and a detriment to all those who are trying to instill in youth a proper perspective on sports.
One of the primary objectives of our program is to develop respect for officials. Loughery heads a growing list of coaches and players who, by their example, are making this objective very difficult to achieve.
The basic answer to the "problem" of officiating doesn't lie in berating or baiting officials. The answer lies in the simple understanding and acceptance of the fact that officials are human and make mistakes. These mistakes are just as much a part of a game as the much more numerous mistakes of players and coaches. A simple comparison of the number of a team's turnovers, missed assignments, poor coaching decisions, etc. with the number of poor calls by officials will clearly demonstrate that the effect of officials' mistakes on the won-lost column is very small.
Hyde Park, N.Y.
Your bridge quiz (Only One Way to Get There, Dec. 25-Jan. 1) was superb! Years ago you had many bridge articles. I hope the millions of bridge players will get more chances to test their brains in the future.
In regard to your article on Canadian sports mogul Harold Ballard (A Tongue on the Loose, Dec. 11), I was serving a sentence in Millhaven Institution's maximum security prison when Ballard arrived at Millhaven's minimum security camp, now called the Bath Institution, to begin serving his sentence.
The two prisons are completely separate from each other, and there is no contact between inmates. So when Ballard received that furlough to attend the signing of Darryl Sittler's contract and shot his big mouth off to the media about how good the food was at Mill-haven and that it was "more like a motel than a penal institution," he was talking about the minimum security camp and not Millhaven Maximum, as everyone was quick to believe.
I have no doubt that Ballard was very popular among the inmates at Bath Institution, but any popularity he had with those of us in the main joint was quickly lost when it was splashed across the country that we were living a life of ease and had steak regularly.
To Ballard's credit, when he was later released on parole and interviewed by the media, he pointed out that he had been talking about the minimum camp.
New Westminster, British Columbia
I would love to invite Harold Ballard to taste some of the meals we eat here in the Millhaven maximum security prison. And no inmate receives passes at Christmas time or at any other time.
We have read many articles about Ballard, and he keeps mentioning that he was in this prison. Possibly he wants his fans to think he is hard-core, but to us he is just a pussycat, like his football team.
Chairman Prisoner Committee
*¬¨¬®¬¨¬©1915 by Edwin Arlington Robinson, renewed 1943 by Ruth Nivison—used by permission of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
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