NOW ABOUT THAT JINX
Being a true Arkansas Razorback fan, each year I believe that we will beat Texas. This year was no different. All the factors were in our favor: The Razorbacks hadn't played up to their potential, Texas had beaten Oklahoma handily and it was ranked No. 1 in both wire service polls (we all know what had happened to the three previous No. 1 teams). But the icing on the cake came on Friday before the Texas game when I found, to my pleasure, that SI had put the Longhorns on the cover of the Oct. 19 issue. I loved it! I knew the game was ours!
Just in case there's something to the jinx, please don't put the University of Arizona Wildcats on the cover. (How about Arizona State instead?)
DOUGLAS A. HOFFMANN
Don't put Penn State's Nittany Lions on your cover until after they've defeated Alabama, Notre Dame and Pitt.
FRANK J. MILKO
How about doing a cover story on the next opponent of our beloved but unfortunate Seattle Seahawks? We're desperate for a victory.
November 2, 1981
I enjoyed your article on the Miami Dolphins (New Names but Still No Names, Oct. 12), though one thing puzzles me. I notice that on the back of his helmet each Miami player wears not only his own number but also a black square with the number 51 in it. What is the meaning of this?
•The number 51 was worn by Linebacker Rusty Chambers, a five-year Dolphin veteran, who died last July in an auto crash.—ED.
BEHIND THE PLATE
You said that among Dwayne Crutchfield's other accomplishments (A Collision Course with Destiny, Sept. 28) was being named the All-City catcher in the Cincinnati high school area in 1978. That is wrong. My son, Dave Browning, a graduate of McNicholas High School, was the All-City catcher in Class AAA that year and Frank Hess was All-City in AAA, the only other category.
GARY D. BROWNING
First-class job on your "Hockey '81-82" package and the Wayne Gretzky article (The Best and Getting Better, Oct. 12).
You talk of Gretzky's knack of setting himself up behind his opponent's goal and making his plays from there—and say that this tactic is revolutionizing the game.
I have to disagree. Wayne is super at using the net, but I believe there was a No. 21 who played 20-odd years for Chicago and used the net in the same manner. I'm talking about Stan Mikita—Mr. Black Hawk.
E.M. Swift's Sweet Lou from the Soo (Oct. 12) was more than a first-class article on Lou Nanne. It also revealed what the NHL really needs: a good kick in the pants. What was once billed as "the world's fastest sport" is now but a snail-paced relic of the game in which such greats as Gordie Howe and Rocket Richard thrilled us with their speed, crisp passing and dazzling scoring rushes. Today, as Mr. Swift mentioned, hockey is spoiled by excessive line juggling, smothering the puck and, of course, violence, which is not essential. When memorable games and players of the past are discussed, they are seldom, if ever, remembered for 300-plus penalty minutes, but for fine play and sportsmanship that characterized the hockey of the day.
Only leaders like Lou Nanne have the brains, ideas and savvy to give the sleeping giant a much-needed shot in the arm.
In an age when an athlete's salary is as important as his statistics, Robert F. Jones's article (Bang! Gotcha! You're Dead, Oct. 19) was a breath of fresh air. A competition in which the only prize is the thrill of having participated is the ultimate game.
One quibble: Mr. Jones states that his "was probably the last generation of American boys whose favorite game was 'war.' " I am 22 years his junior and spent countless childhood days waging "war." I'd be a wealthy man today if I had a nickel for every time I yelled, "Bang! Gotcha! You're dead!"
Mr. Jones's war game was great, but there has been a better war game in Covington, La. for the past seven years. Instead of paint balls, we use pump BB guns with the protection of fencing masks. The only injury I know of was getting shot in the hands when not wearing protective gloves.
When I was a kid, I used to play war with my friends. "Bang! Gotcha! You're dead," we'd shout. It was fun. So when I got old enough, I enlisted in the Marines and volunteered for Vietnam. Only in Vietnam, when someone shouted, "Bang! Gotcha! You're dead," it wasn't fun anymore.
Now I teach history at a Quaker high school. Until last week, I used to read articles in SI about football and hockey and swimming. And that was fun. Then I read Robert F. Jones's article, and suddenly reading SI wasn't fun anymore.
Some people learn about war the hard way. And some people never learn.
WILLIAM D. EHRHART
For four of us, playing "guns," as we called it, evolved into hunting each other with BB guns. We bundled up in winter clothing, with special emphasis on scarves and ear muffs. Our safety glasses were the old fashioned machinist's type with mesh sides. We hunted in a no-man's-land of scrub woods, abandoned farm fields, swamps and streams that were poised for suburbia and are now just that. The badge of courage was a BB that stuck in your cheek.
My mother wouldn't allow me to own a BB gun, so I had to borrow one. It was always an old single-shot type, had more power and greater accuracy than the more popular rapid-firing pump guns.
Late in the afternoon of the last day we played, I was lying behind a berm looking across a field, when one of the enemy suddenly stood up about 50 yards away. I squeezed off a shot before I got the message that he was calling time—end of combat.
When we got together he showed me where my shot had hit him—square on the bridge of his nose; he had already taken off his glasses. We rode our bikes home and later he came over to show me the BB he had picked out of the corner of his eye. I've never shot at anything but a target since.
Dan Levin should be congratulated for staying on the trail of the meteoric Dr. Robert Arnot for more than a few hours (What's Up? Doc., Oct. 19).
What a guy this Arnot is—roller-skating, windsurfing, cycling, running, flying, dancing and doctoring blithely along while the rest of us poor slobs worry and fret. If I could catch him, I'd grab him by the sleeve of his white coat and ask how much time he took with the family of that stroke victim before he went back and "worked the phones." It's all right, Bob. After all, you're a lot like all of us, except you're better at it. You live nowhere in particular and you do everything. By filling a life with constant activity, it's easy enough to ignore the fact that it's devoid of meaning.
For heaven's sake, there's an energy crisis on. This kind of showing off is just the new form of conspicuous consumption. Bob should learn to spend his resources more wisely. He might even consider stopping to smell the roses.
ROBERT W. OLDS, M.D.
Dr. Robert Arnot may be a daring and fascinating fellow and a great deal more, but to this pilot he sounds like an accident looking for a place to happen.
After reading about his exploits, such as buzzing his lady friend's house, making a low-visibility approach to an airport while running out of fuel and flying at altitudes where decision-making abilities are severely impaired because of oxygen deprivation, I'm dead sure of one thing—I wouldn't fly with him. And knowing that he is charging along up there, blowing on his toy trumpet, romancing his companion and apparently paying more attention to a telephone conversation than to a controller, I'm even uneasy about sharing the same sky with him.
RICHARD W. MORSE
West Chester, Pa.
Bob Arnot has to be one of the most complete and fulfilled human beings on this planet. Combining a genuine contribution to humanity with a passion for endurance sports must heighten this man's insight to levels I only wish I could experience.
Dr. Robert Arnot is my idol. I want to be like him when I grow up.
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