Congratulations on an outstanding choice for Sportsmen of the Year (A Reminder of What We Can Be, Dec. 22-29). All of America and possibly other parts of the world were uplifted by the triumph of the U.S. Olympic hockey team. I'll never forget being at the game and then later that night watching the replay on TV at the Holiday Inn in Lake Placid. Many of the players and their families laughed at and cheered each play in a joyous party scene. While reading E.M. Swift's excellent article I got a huge lump in my throat and tears surfaced all over again.
MICHAEL P. ROSE
I am not, never have been and never will be a hockey fan, but I found myself caught up for that one moment when our Olympic team took the gold. In all the sports I do follow, I can think of no other moment more thrilling or satisfying than that. You called it right. They are the Sportsmen of the Year.
The Dalles, Ore.
The article on the U.S. Olympic hockey team by E.M. Swift is the best piece of sports journalism that I've ever read. Instead of merely glorifying a group of obviously talented athletes for their remarkable athletic achievement. Swift artfully details an amazing human drama played out over seven long months. The character studies within the article are superb.
An understanding of the ingredients of the events that took place in Lake Placid last February makes the savoring of the ultimate triumph so much sweeter. I shall read the article over again many times.
THOMAS J. SANTOS JR.
January 5, 1981
The patriotism the Olympic hockey team aroused was the greatest thing I've ever seen. As E.M. Swift says, "The flags. My God, what a sight." Just knowing that the American spirit and American pride aren't dead is the most gratifying feeling any American could have. Those 20 young men might think that they played for themselves, but in truth they played for all America. Congratulations on your wisdom in choosing the most deserving Sportsmen ever.
The U.S. Olympic hockey team demonstrated what this country is all about: the land of opportunity. Those 20 young men really are "first in the hearts of their countrymen."
THOMAS SNYDER JR.
Hamilton Square, N.J.
Bravo! No better choice could have been made. Too often today's heroes are quickly forgotten, but these gallant young men will live in our hearts forever.
MARC J. SHAFFER
CHRISTOPHER J. BERGMAN
The article should be reprinted once every six months lest we forget the miraculous achievement of this fine group of young men.
GARY F. KEPHART
Fort Meade, Md.
It was with great delight that I learned the Sportsmen of the Year trophy awarded by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to the U.S. Olympic team will eventually rest here at the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. This past June we dedicated a new display to the 1980 and 1960 gold medal teams. The SI trophy will be exhibited in the 1980 wing of the display, along with such memorabilia as Mike Eruzione's stick, Mark Pavelich's gold medal and Mark Johnson's jersey.
ROGER A. GODIN
United States Hockey Hall of Fame
A world of thanks for John Papanek's article about Lloyd (All-World) Free, "the Prince of Midair," and the resurgent Golden State Warriors (As the World Turns, So Do the Warriors, Dec. 15). Although their life stories may resemble soap operas, Free and Bernard King have matured to become the guiding lights of the vastly improved Warrior club.
There's no sense crying over a wasted SI cover on Lloyd Free, but I would like to suggest a change in his nickname. After reading your article and watching his ball-hog tactics on TV, I think Lloyd (Gimme the Ball) Free would be more appropriate.
I'm glad that Lloyd Free is being recognized for his athletic ability and, more important, his sensitivity and fine personal characteristics. I rate him among the finest young men I've had the opportunity to associate with during my 24 years at Guilford College.
However, regarding Lloyd's statement that he attended a "nobody school," let me say that Guilford is widely respected for its academic excellence—four Danforth scholars in five years—and its concern for the individual. It's also interesting to note that at one time Guilford was reported to have more athletes in professional baseball than any college in the nation. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Guilford took pride in major league alumni like Ernie Shore, Tom Zachary, Luke Stuart, Stu Martin, Glenn Perry and Rick and George Ferrell.
In recent years Guilford has been represented in the NBA by Bob Kauffman (Seattle, Chicago, Buffalo and Atlanta), Greg Jackson (Phoenix), M.L. Carr (Boston) and Free. Jackson, Carr and Free were members of the 1973 NAIA national championship team. In addition, since 1966 Guilford has had 18 All-Americas—in baseball, basketball, football and golf—three NAIA Hall of Famers and two Coaches of the Year. Quite a record for a "nobody school."
Director of Athletics
VINDICATING THE VIKES
As a devoted Minnesota Viking fan for the past 15 years, I feel that Paul Zimmerman's article on the Vikes was somewhat biased (When the Dust Cleared, It Was Minnesota, Dec. 22-29). In noting that for 14 straight years Minnesota has lost its final game of the season, he failed to state that 10 of those final games were NFL playoffs, including four Super Bowls, a record matched or surpassed by only Pittsburgh (four) and Dallas (five). The Vikings have been in transition since their last Super Bowl loss in 1977, yet they've won three out of the past four NFC Central Division titles. And this year marks their 11th such championship in 13 years. No NFL team can match that record.
If the Vikings win this year's Super Bowl game, both they and the NFC Central will finally be vindicated.
I don't know how you did it, but thanks a lot for the rare picture of Bud Grant smiling. It's a sight for sore eyes.
Please say it isn't so! How could you do this to us? The University of Dayton Flyers went undefeated during the regular season, then staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in college football history in a game against Widener, and finally destroyed Ithaca, the defending NCAA Division III national champion, to win the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl 63-0. What do we get? One sentence in FOR THE RECORD (Dec. 15). Does the dream of an entire community deserve such a small amount of recognition? Hardly.
In your article on Ithaca College football (In This Town, No. 1 Is No. 2, Dec. 1) you state that the most renowned Ithaca alumnus athletically may be pro wrestler Bob (Gorilla Monsoon) Marella. Let's not forget Infielder Grover (Deacon) Jones, who in 1956 batted .409 for Dubuque in the minor leagues and later played for the Chicago White Sox (1962, '63 and '66). Jones is now the hitting coach of the Houston Astros.
I've just seen the article Avery Brundage—the Man Behind the Mask (Aug. 4). As an old journalist, I judge the accuracy of articles by any facts I am conversant with myself. I would therefore like to comment that, contrary to your story, I declined the invitation to the church ceremony and subsequent buffet dance on July 28, 1973, at which I was included amongst "other aristocrats and dignitaries."
Honorary Life President
Comitè International Olympique
Concerning your choice of FACES IN THE CROWD (Dec. 22-29), that first one was a real dog. I can't figure out how he wormed his way into your column. What's more, Laws looks like a real crab, and I suppose Jimmy Carter had something to do with the big peanut eater. The Noon News was never slower coming in, and that kid of a goat is too young to play basketball. I suggest you screen your Faces more thoroughly in the future.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.