You are frequently the target of readers who question the appropriateness of some article in your magazine from the standpoint of what does that have to do with sports.
In the event that this should occur in connection with your story on Wheaties (Famous Flakes of America, April 5), I would like to refute such views by emphasizing how much the cereal meant to those of us who were fans in the '30s and '40s. So effective was the Wheaties advertising then that to many people the cereal was synonymous with being a sports fan. The Breakfast of Champions was a part of the life of those aspiring to accomplishment in the sports world.
My congratulations to Steve Wulf for the depth of his research and for capturing the feeling of the era about which he wrote.
STUART J. SOBELMAN
I can hear the critics saying, "I buy SI for sports, not cereal." Well, it was as clever as any story I've read recently, so.... "As I read my magazeenie...."
April 19, 1982
Congratulations on another great article. I'm a big fan of SI, but I'm probably an even bigger fan of Wheaties, with which I start almost every day. As an accountant, I sing in the morning, "Before I review my balance sheeties...."
DAVID W. KELLY
The first time I ate a bowl of Wheaties I understood why it was called the Breakfast of Champions. I figured only a person of tremendous self-discipline could eat it! The stuff tastes like wet shredded newspaper.
Your article on Wheaties refers to the time that Lou Gehrig, signed to endorse a rival cereal (Huskies), inadvertently succumbed to the brainwashing of the years by stating on the Believe It Or Not radio show that he started his days "with a big bowl of Wheaties."
There is an epilogue. An embarrassed Gehrig returned his radio-appearance and endorsement fee to Huskies with a note of abject apology. Huskies sent the check back to Gehrig with a letter indicating that every ballplayer was entitled to more than one strike.
A return engagement was arranged on the same program some weeks later. After a little preliminary conversation, the moment the radio audience was waiting for arrived. I happened to be listening. It was a medium fastball right over the center of the plate: "Now, Lou, what is your favorite breakfast cereal?" To the silent cheers of millions, Lou hit that one out of the park by saying, "My favorite is Huskies...and I've tried 'em all!"
EDGAR C. KELLER
San Bernardino, Calif.
At last! North Carolina's Coach Dean Smith has gotten the monkey off his back by proving he could win the big one (Nothing Could Be Finer, April 5). The man who believes in self-discipline has finally conquered all. And like the North Carolina squad and its coach, Curry Kirkpatrick's story was great and the photos, including the cover, superb. Congratulations.
As a reader of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for more than 20 years, I anxiously awaited your story of the North Carolina-Georgetown game. In an otherwise excellent article by Curry Kirkpatrick, I looked in vain for mention of John Thompson's magnificent post-game performance. Eclipsing the quality of that wondrous game was the moving spectacle of that huge man comforting a devastated Fred Brown. Thompson's interview with the CBS sports commentators reinforced my estimate that he is a man of class.
We shall never know whether Georgetown would have won without Brown's tragic misplay, but I submit that the Georgetown players could not really be losers with a coach like that.
FRANK R. NATARO
Curry Kirkpatrick's story on the NCAA championship basketball game was one that I have been waiting to read for a very long time. North Carolina's victory in that game was not only a great win for the team, school and state, but also for a fine coach, Dean Smith.
And Georgetown's John Thompson should be congratulated on his game. Even if he does not want to be played up as the first black coach to make the Final Four, the fact remains that he is. Now some young black athletes will not aspire to be a Julius Erving or a Magic Johnson, but a John Thompson.
MICHAEL P. ALLEN
In your perceptive coverage of the NCAA playoffs, I was surprised that you failed to mention one tournament factor: the home-jersey advantage. In all but three regional semifinals, all the national semifinals and the final game, the team wearing the white home jerseys won. While home jerseys could not prevent early exits by DePaul and Kentucky, one is left wondering what percentage of tournament games was won by teams wearing home jerseys.
THOMAS JAMES LONG
•72.3%, 34 games to 13, which is less surprising than it seems. The top-seeded team in each of 46 games wore white, and a coin was tossed for the final where the two top seeds faced off.—ED.
Thanks to North Carolina, my older brother has to feed my rabbit for a year. Thank you, Tar Heels.
Conneaut Lake, Pa.
As a psychologist, I have become increasingly alarmed about the sociopathic behavior and distorted thinking of many of the individuals we have elevated to the position of sports hero in our society.
Your story on Alberto Salazar (Possessed of a Certain Pride, March 22) presents a prime example. He is quoted as saying that he loves his pit bull terrier because of parallel traits with his own personality—"an affectionate veneer over a core of accomplished killer." Is this something to be prized, in humans or animals? We recently have had problems in Cincinnati with pit bulls attacking adults and children, yet Salazar seems to enjoy the fact that a pit bull in L.A. killed seven dogs before it was caught. What about the dogs that died and the feelings of their owners? Should Toby practice for "going for the record when he's older" by chewing up Salazar and ending his running career, would he be so enchanted with his pet's personality?
I also find it psychologically fascinating that this bloodthirsty individual has chosen to participate in a sport that requires no physical contact with the competition and therefore presents minimal risk to his own person.
Surely we can find a better role model for both sports fans and pet owners than Salazar.
G. PATIENCE THOMAS
The League for Animal Welfare
As a subscriber and a runner, I found amusing Alberto Salazar's affection for ferocious dogs. Dogs have to be one of the two worst enemies of the runner. (The automobile is the other.) Maybe Alberto moves too fast for any dog to catch, or perhaps there is not enough meat on those bones to interest a dog?
GERALD A. ALFANO
Guess who's going to pay for the great deal NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle got from the networks (TV/RADIO, March 29)? We are, through increased costs of everything that's advertised on pro football telecasts—at a time when a lot of people are taking cuts in wages or are getting no pay at all.
So Pete Rozelle negotiated a lucrative TV contract for the NFL. Now let's see him work out an agreement between the owners and players so that there is football to televise.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
As a swimming coach I particularly enjoyed your March 29 issue. First a feature on the remarkable swimmer Craig Beardsley (A Little Water Music, Please) and then results of both the NCAA and the AIAW championships and two FACES IN THE CROWD, Kim and Mark Rhodenbaugh. Even a picture of a golfer, Jerry Pate, in the water! Thanks for giving swimming a little coverage.
Twice in his BOOKTALK (March 29) Staff Writer Jim Kaplan used the term "recovered alcoholic." There is no such person, nor will there ever be such a person.
The time has come for the public to understand once and for all that alcoholism is incurable; it can only be arrested. While it's arrested or in remission—and it can be in that condition for a lifetime—the victim of this illness refers to himself as a "recovering alcoholic."
This may appear to be splitting hairs, but the sooner this insidious disease is more thoroughly understood, the sooner more of the rehabilitation and prevention programs mentioned in Kaplan's article will be established throughout the country.
Name and address withheld by request
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.