THE NEW DORSETT
My compliments to Rick Telander for his incisive and solidly written story on Tony Dorsett (Hell on Wheels, Dec. 7). I particularly admired the balanced coverage he gave his subject—one that matched the kind of balance Dorsett has on the field.
WILLIAM E. COLES JR.
Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh
Since reading an SI article about Tony Dorsett when he was a senior at Pitt, I've had no respect for him as a person: His ego was too much to handle. However, it does say in Rick Telander's fine article that Tony D is realizing, through a good marriage and fine friends, that there's more to life than just himself. There is hope.
I've always admired Tony Dorsett as a running back, and now I respect him as a man. The positive recognition you have given him was long overdue.
Rick Telander writes: "Still it is remarkable that no one has ever stopped [Tony Dorsett], at any level." When Dorsett was burning college defenses at Pitt he had the misfortune to play in Memorial Stadium (Owen Field) in Norman, Okla. The Sooner defense held him to 17 yards in 12 carries, and a safety named Scott Hill delivered one of the finest one-on-one shots ever in college football when Dorsett attempted to turn the left corner. Result: Dorsett ended up on his backside four yards behind the point of impact. Dorsett is a superb athlete and deserving of the credit Telander gives him. However, he is human and he has been stopped.
WILLIAM T. WITT
Even as a career Redskins fan, I enjoyed your article about the Cowboys' Tony Dorsett. However, as a safety-conscious motorcyclist, I cringed in disbelief when I saw how Tony was dressed when riding his Kawasaki. If Dorsett goes down attired like that, it will likely be the last pileup he'll be involved in. Quick, Tex Schramm, get this man some proper riding gear!
TOMMY O. LEE
LANDON TURNER'S EXAMPLE
William F. Reed's article (Indiana's Captain Courageous, Dec. 7) about Landon Turner and how Turner has rebounded from the automobile accident that robbed him of his athletic future was truly special. Turner's play in the 1981 NCAA tournament was the key to Indiana's national championship, but his performance in the game of life has been even better. I wish Landon much luck in his uphill struggle. I also take my hat off to Indiana Coach Bobby Knight for making such special effort in behalf of his injured player.
I found your article on Landon Turner very rewarding and helpful. I was a running back for San Diego State this season until I was involved in an automobile accident on Oct. 31. I broke my right foot, badly injured my heel and was unable to finish the season. I was in shock over having lost the remainder of this, my final year, and I felt that I had been the victim of a raw deal—I had also missed the '80 season because of an operation on my right Achilles tendon. After reading the article on Turner, however, I suddenly realized how small my problem was and that I was indeed fortunate. While I may have missed some games, here is a man who not only is missing a shot at certain stardom, but also is facing the loss of the use of his legs. I want to thank you for a story that was more than a tale of statistics. It was one that helped me put things back in perspective. Good luck to Landon Turner.
William F. Reed's article is the most touching story I've ever read. So that hard-shelled ogre, Bobby Knight, has been exposed for what he really is. Now we all know what Hoosier fans have known all along: Knight is a kind, thoughtful, compassionate man.
HOWARD A. GROOMS
EDDIE JOHNSON'S TROUBLES
Having been an all-too-frequent guest of a local psychiatric institution from the time I was 18 until I was 26 years old, I read your article (Blinded by the Light, Dec. 7) on Fast Eddie Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks with considerable interest. What it took me about 10 years to learn—and possibly what Eddie needs to learn—is that for persons with emotional problems, making the wrong choices, such as using dangerous drugs and socializing with the wrong people, can have especially troublesome results.
What the public needs to learn is that drug and/or alcohol usage, while no doubt exacerbating the effects of emotional ailments, is often merely an indicator of the illness and not its underlying cause. As long as the ignorant masses point an accusing finger instead of offering a helping hand to the Eddie Johnsons of the world, progress in psychiatry and in the rehabilitation of those burdened with emotional illness is going to be slow. I am heartened by the patience of men like Stan Kasten and Mike Gearon of the Hawks.
ROY DAWKINS, R.N.
Bruce Newman's article is a brilliant dissection of Eddie Johnson's mind and body. As an Atlanta Hawks fan and a physician who knew of Johnson's mental state several years ago, I hope that he stays on his lithium—his best hope to slow his racing mind and calm his erratic behavior.
WILLIAM HAYLING, M.D.
Marina Del Rey, Calif.
I didn't have to be a writer to appreciate the time, objectivity, warmth and thoroughness Bruce Newman put into his piece on Eddie Johnson. But it helped.
The Ann Arbor News
Ann Arbor, Mich.
While your articles on the personal lives of athletes—such as those in the Dec. 7 issue on Tony Dorsett and Landon Turner—tend to be well-written, penetrating and entertaining, you went too far with your pseudopsychiatric analysis of Eddie Johnson.
When will you realize that an athlete—just like a businessman, street cleaner or reporter—is entitled to a private life? How would the writer like it if his personal affairs were published alongside his articles? Not very much, I think. So why not give Johnson the same courtesy? As long as he's playing basketball—and darned good basketball—let him and his family deal with his problems. And you deal with your own.
GWEN A. BAUMANN
KUHN ON "FIRST"
I have just read Robert W. Creamer's review of The First (THEATER, Nov. 30). I could not agree with him more strongly. I was there opening night and came away saying this is first-class entertainment. That was the unanimous reaction of all the people I talked to. The music may not be great, but many outstanding shows have survived that defect because they had other obvious strengths. And this show has other obvious strengths in good measure. I really had a hard time crediting the negative reviews.
BOWIE K. KUHN
Commissioner of Baseball
New York City
TINY, BUT GOOD
Concerning your SCORECARD item (Dec. 7) about the Gleason (Tenn.) High School football team, which finished the season with an 8-3 record despite the school's having an enrollment of only 155 students, 63 of them boys, I feel the accomplishments of Hardin-Central Public High School of Hardin, Mo. (population approximately 700) deserve mention. Hardin-Central has an enrollment in Grades 9 through 12 of only 68 students and is the smallest high school in Missouri that plays 11-man football. Despite the small enrollment, over the past four years Hardin-Central, under the direction of Principal and Coach Gary O'Neal, has 1) lost only one regular-season game, 2) advanced to the state Class A playoffs four times, 3) won four conference championships, 4) won three district championships, 5) won one state championship and 6) finished the season ranked first (1980), second (1979), third (1978) and eighth (1981) in the state.
Hardin-Central Public Schools
St. Stephen (S.C.) Academy is a small private school that has just completed its fourth season of football competition. In our first year, 13 boys came out for the team. In our second, we had 16 boys. We became a member of the South Carolina Independent Athletic Association in 1980, our third year, and with 25 boys on our team, we finished as the Class A state runner-up with a 12-1 record. This past season, which ended on Nov. 27, we were the Class A state champions with a 13-1 record. This school year we have only 120 students in Grades 1 through 12 and only 29 boys in Grades 9 through 12, of whom 23 were on the football team.
It just goes to show that good things do come in small packages.
St. Stephen Academy
St. Stephen, S.C.
I am writing concerning an item in SCORECARD (Nov. 23). Like the crew of the balloon Double Eagle V, which got far less ink for crossing the Pacific than those aboard Double Eagle II got for transiting the Atlantic in 1978, my grandfather got almost no publicity for a tremendous feat. I am referring to Hugh Herndon Jr., who with his partner, Clyde Pangborn, made aviation's first non-stop transpacific flight, in 1931. Their plane was named Miss Veedol. A flight across the Pacific is much longer and tougher than a flight across the Atlantic, but who ever heard of Hugh Herndon, Clyde Pangborn or Miss Veedol? Almost everyone, though, is familiar with Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. Is there no justice? Surely a great feat like the one achieved by my grandfather deserves some recognition!
While this letter is no doubt too late to have any influence on your selection of the 1981 Sportsman of the Year, may I suggest that the greatest sportsman of all time is Edwin Moses. Few, if any, athletes have ever dominated an event as he has the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.
WILLIAM J. EISENTRAGER
Concerning Sportsman of the Year, I can think of many deserving candidates. How about Fernando Valenzuela, Rollie Fingers, Mike Schmidt or Pete Rose? Or Craig Morton or Eric Hippie? Or Bear Bryant, Marcus Allen or Jim McMahon? Larry Bird or Isiah Thomas? John McEnroe? Wayne Gretzky? Sugar Ray Leonard? How about a group award?
Bismarck, N. Dak.
I never thought I would say it: Bobby Knight for Sportsman of the Year.
Keep in mind Bing Crosby's son Nathaniel. His come-from-behind win in the U.S. Amateur will surely be long remembered.
Bill Shoemaker. Please.
El Centro, Calif.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.