STRIKING IT UP FOR THE BAND
Having been a member of the University of North Carolina Marching Tar Heels, I particularly appreciated Heinz Kluetmeier's photo essay on the Florida State Marching Chiefs (All Horns Up!!! Dec. 6). The band is an integral part of an athletic program, but its hard work too often goes unnoticed. Thank you for noticing!
ROBIN D. HUFFINES
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Obviously, you aren't aware of the reputation of The Pride of West Virginia, the West Virginia University Marching Band. If, as you claim, the Florida State band has never lost a halftime show, it's simply because it has never competed against the Mountaineers. West Virginia and Florida State will meet in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 30, and there will be more at stake than the results of the football game.
PAUL R. SOUTHERN
Charleston, W. Va.
The Florida State Marching Chiefs are a fine band, but I can't understand why you did an article on them instead of The Best Damn Band in the Land, the Ohio State marching band. I saw the two go head-to-head in Columbus in 1981, and if any members of your staff had been there, I'm sure you wouldn't have made the erroneous claim that the Florida State band has never lost a halftime show.
As a graduate of Stanford and a professor at Florida State, I have had the pleasure of seeing Florida State's completely disciplined Marching Chiefs and Stanford's totally irreverent marching band. Which troop is preferred? Let me withhold my choice until I see how the Marching Chiefs defend against a five-lateral game-ending kickoff return for the winning touchdown.
Two articles in your Dec. 6 issue, All Horns Up!!! and TV/RADIO, point up my biggest disappointment in TV coverage of college football. The way the games are shown, we might not even know that Florida State has a marching band if you hadn't reported it. Any pictures of bands in action these days seem to appear only by accident when the network is switching between the New York studio and the stadium.
The worst case was the Nov. 20 Ohio State-Michigan game when we had, arguably, the two best college bands performing and saw, as I recall, maybe 30 seconds of the pre-game and halftime shows. The announcers exacerbated the situation by telling us how much they enjoyed the pageantry. If it was so good, why didn't we get to see it?
HOWARD H. FROST
I was moved by the Elaine Zayak story (Flight of the Bumblebee, Dec. 6). Having observed Zayak's daring but graceful figure-skating maneuvers on TV over the years, I can fully appreciate Bob Ottum's profile of this high-spirited individual. To think that she performed so majestically in spite of the tragic foot injury she suffered at age 2½—incredible! Heinz Kluetmeier's multiexposure masterpiece dramatically shows Zayak's determination. Let's have a standing ovation for a courageous, impish young lady who had the fortitude to overcome extreme adversity.
JOHN W. ALLEN
It's unfortunate when a sportswriter feels that he must disparage a past champion in order to promote a new one. Bob Ottum has done Elaine Zayak a disservice by implying that Peggy Fleming wasn't a courageous and technically superb skater.
Let me remind Ottum that in her first international competition, the 1964 Olympics, Peggy, then a skinny 15-year-old, skated with the flu and a fever to finish a creditable sixth. As for her technical ability, let me quote Ottum in the March 13, 1967 issue of SI (Crystal and Steel on the Ice): "Technically, it was two double toe loops, double flip, double axel, some waltz jumps blended into a flying camel, with all that blended into a double Lutz. But never mind the technicalities. It was a dazzling picture of pink on ice and skating's most graceful show. Where the others had bounded to the attack, Peggy flowed into the jumps. It made all the difference."
This doesn't include mention of her signature spread eagle-double axel-spread eagle combination or a jump she often performed in exhibitions, a wonderful delayed single axel. I have seen only one other skater, Robin Cousins, a man, perform this jump well in my 25 years of observing the sport.
What Ottum has forgotten is that Peggy, with her unique abilities, revolutionized the sport. Female skaters would never again look like the heavyset Sjoukje Dijkstra. I would hope that one day some young woman will do a triple axel with Elaine's athleticism and Peggy's style.
MICHAEL M. TSUJI
Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
Bob Ottum's story on Elaine Zayak was a welcome sight in our household. My family unanimously agrees that Peggy Fleming has been totally negative toward Zayak. Could she be jealous? With Fleming's athletic ability, an attempt at one triple jump, let alone seven, would put that "soft-spoken butterfly" flat on the ice. I'm glad the article brought all this out.
I commend Heinz Kluetmeier on his spectacular multiple exposure photograph of Elaine Zayak. But having read about the mix-up concerning the original photograph in LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (Dec. 6), I'd like to report a second mix-up on the part of SI. The picture shown is of a double toe loop, not a triple toe loop.
MARK W. JOHNSON
•According to Anne Gerli, an international judge with the U.S. Figure Skating Association, Zayak is executing a triple toe loop in the picture. Her foot in the second exposure of the sequence can be seen clearly digging into the ice; she pushes off from her toe and begins to rise while spinning—the third exposure. The loops occur between the third and fourth images, between the sixth and seventh and between the eighth and ninth. The ninth figure appears only faintly, but if one examines Zayak's feet, one should, suggests Gerli, be able to make out a third loop.—ED.
I enjoyed Bob Ottum's article about Elaine Zayak. She certainly deserved the story, because she won the world championship with a radically different style of skating. However, my reason for writing is that my brothers, friends and I got quite a laugh out of Ottum's description of Lou's Tavern, the bar owned by Elaine's father. Rich.
As lifelong residents of Hillsdale, N.J. and occasional drinkers at Lou's, we've rarely seen a hardhat there or heard someone say, "Did youse see dat?"—although the friendly arguments about what to watch on TV do take place. Also, the old Erie Lackawanna tracks that you described now belong to NJ Transit, the state public transportation agency, and daily carry thousands of commuters part of the way to Wall Street and back; hardly the hard-bitten area that Ottum portrayed. But it was great reading about our town in your magazine.
Congratulations on Barry McDermott's article (Hey, Look Who's 4-0!, Dec. 1). It was about time someone gave Joe Gibbs and the Redskins the credit they deserve. The 'Skins are too often overlooked, and when attention is given to them, it's always mentioned that they barely pull out victories. Surely no team could win large numbers of close games merely by luck; any team with results like Washington's must have earned them with skill and perseverance.
You did it again, SI! Just when I thought the Redskins would beat those dreaded Cowboys for the first time in three years, you put them on the cover. Of course, Dallas beat us again. Please hold off on any coverage of the Redskins until they finally beat the Cowboys—maybe in the playoffs. Thank you.
Your excellent SCORECARD item (Dec. 6) on the magnificent prank pulled by MIT students at the Harvard-Yale football game contained one error. MIT does have a football team, with a fulltime coach, former Bates standout Dwight Smith, and three assistants, including Ted Dumbauld, former Navy linebacker and 1980 Academic All-America. Although football at MIT is considered a club sport and isn't affiliated with the NCAA, the level of competition might be comparable to that of Division III.
Finally, as SI noted in a feature article several years ago (Beating Their Brains Out, May 26, 1975), MIT continues to offer its students one of the broadest intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation. At present, we have 34 varsity sports teams for men and women.
Sports Information Director
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
THAT FIFTH DOWN
Congratulations to Walter Bingham for his NOSTALGIA piece (Nov. 22) about Cornell football in the glory days. It was a warm, touching account.
I particularly enjoyed Bingham's description of the controversial fifth-down play in the Cornell-Dartmouth game of 1940. He mentioned my late father, head of the Eastern Intercollegiate Football Association. In the aftermath of that game, my father sought to bolster the spirits of much-maligned Referee Red Friesell by sending him this telegram: "Don't let them get you down, down, down, down, down."
Chief Editorial Writer
No, Marshall Coach Bob Zuffelato hasn't seen Dr. J take off from a foot inside the foul circle and dunk (It Will Be One Testy Season, Nov. 29), and sports journalism loses a little bit more credibility each time nonsense such as this creeps into print. Not even Bob Beamon could do it. We're talking about a 20-foot long jump, at the end of which a guy is still at or near the apex so he can dunk. If SI can set it up, I'll bet anybody $5,000 Dr. J can't do it. The takeoff board is 20 feet away. No fouls permitted. Also, we don't do it in Mexico City or Denver.
Sports Copy Editor
Los Angeles Times
Curry Kirkpatrick blew it (He Cleaned Up On the Dirt, Dec. 6)! The headline referring to John McEnroe in the Grenoble newspaper, Le Dauphiné, JOHN LES DOIGTS DANS LE NEZ?, doesn't mean "Is John picking his nose?". This is an idiom that means "Will John win in a breeze?" Kirkpatrick's boner brought unjust criticism to the French for a crudeness that was actually the writer's invention.
Pat Putnam's article (He Took It All and Would Not Fall, Dec. 6) on the fight between Larry Holmes and Randall (Tex) Cobb was very good. I watched the bout on television, and as Putnam stated, Cobb had only one gear, forward, and only one speed, slow. But watching Cobb sent shivers up my spine. It was uncanny how he would take punch after punishing punch and hardly even waver. I admire him for his guts and determination.
Also, while watching the fight, I gained even more respect for Holmes. In the 15th round, he didn't punch Cobb for 90 seconds for fear of seriously injuring him. Who else has the all-around credentials of Holmes to be selected as SI's Sportsman of the Year?
Redwood Falls, Minn.
Howard Cosell, for his insistence during the TV broadcast that they should have stopped the Holmes-Cobb debacle.
How about finally recognizing John McEnroe as Sportsman of the Year? His Davis Cup matches against Mats Wilander of Sweden and Yannick Noah of France not only showed his tennis ability but also his great pride in representing the U.S. McEnroe showed he has a very big heart, and we should all be proud he's an American.
The Sportsman for 1982 should be golfer Tom Watson. His dramatic victory in the U.S. Open over Jack Nicklaus and his follow-up victory in the British Open signified his arrival as the successor to Nicklaus as king of the game.
If Robin Yount isn't deserving of Sportsman of the Year honors, I don't know who is.
The pro football fan.
Chevy Chase, Md.
Glenn Allison. His 900 series was a remarkable bowling achievement, but his dispassionate, resolute response to the American Bowling Congress' arbitrary denial of his record is even more remarkable.
Someone who isn't afraid to show love for his family, his friends and, especially, his opponents. The pride of Youngstown, Ohio, Ray Mancini.
Northwestern Coach Dennis Green, for improving the football program while maintaining a healthy balance between academics and athletics.
Cody Webster, the Little League whiz, and Luke Appling, the septuagenarian home-run king.
JOSEPH F.J. CURI, M.D.
Reginald Martinez Jackson.
GLENN A. FREUND
Scotch Plains, N.J.
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.