BEHIND THE CAMERA
In addition to displaying beautiful women, your annual swimsuit feature has always exhibited some outstanding photography, usually the work of a single photographer. However, this year ("The Fairest Island That Eyes Have Beheld," Feb. 14) you neglected to tell us who the photographer was. Your Contents entry suggested that it was Walter Iooss Jr., but did he take all of the pictures?
New York City
•Yes, he did. The credit was inadvertently omitted during the preparation of the final offset printing film.—ED.
I have been an avid SI reader for many years, and I consider the article Hold On There, America (Feb. 7) by Jerry Kirshenbaum and Robert Sullivan one of the most important the magazine has published.
As a physical educator who has worked with children and adults of all ages over the past 13 years, I have witnessed many of the phenomena that were discussed in this excellent piece. I have seen numerous students entering high school who couldn't do a pull-up, a push-up or a sit-up, who were totally inflexible, and who couldn't run one lap around the track without stopping.
Even more appalling to me—and not really dealt with in the article—is the poor motor skills that I see daily in my job. The average high school and junior college students I come in contact with are lacking in the basic skills of running, jumping, moving laterally or backward, etc. They don't know how to fall to protect themselves and thus are much more prone to injuries than they should be. These skills should be taught in our elementary schools before incorrect movement habits become ingrained. By the time these students reach secondary and postsecondary institutions it is very difficult to correct the bad patterns that have been adopted and practiced during their early years.
I recently took my 9-year-old son to our weight room to see how many pull-ups he could do. The answer: two. When he was four, he could do seven. What's happening to my son and to many of his companions in his school isn't their fault. It is the fault of the parents for not demanding better physical education programs in the elementary schools. I, for one, am going to use your article as a basis to improve our local P.E. programs. It has deepened my conviction that physical education is as important as any other facet of the education curriculum. I hope the article will start getting us back on the right fitness track.
Instructor, Physical Education
College of the Siskiyous
I know why youth fitness is a big zero. Part of the reason is emblazoned on the sweat shirt of one of the children pictured hanging from the uneven parallel bar. ATARI, screams the blue and orange emblem. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and my eighth-grade English teacher, John (Get In Your Seats) Ferone, may shudder at my parody, but, "Video, video everywhere, and no one stops to think."
Today's children are not in the playground, they are in game arcades, spending quarters, not to mention minds, on electronic nonsense. Better a sprained wrist from a spill on the soccer field than from a rigorous go at Pac-Man.
JAMES A. LUSK
White Plains, N.Y.
The article was well done, but the authors neglected to discuss one vital point: In recent years many colleges and universities have abolished any physical education requirement. They moved instead to a more fashionable freedom-of-choice, do-your-own-thing outlook. I think that at times we became so open-minded that our brains fell out.
As a result of this change, we college physical educators no longer see the majority of students who really need a structured exposure to bodily activity; they elect to do nothing toward the further development of a strong cardiovascular system or greater flexibility. We do see a small percentage of students who probably would keep active and at a suitable level of fitness in any case.
We are ignoring the 18- to 22-year-old, and it is a national tragedy that will produce regrettable consequences in the future.
ROBERT A. LATOUR
Department of Physical Education
As the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Southern Connecticut State University, I strongly support your article. Physical fitness, which also directly contributes to mental health, must be addressed and promoted at every age and economic level. As your authors indicate, learning about fitness, health and nutrition should be initiated in physical education classes in all schools.
Tax-paying populations should be reminded that professionals in physical education earn a bachelor of science degree. The body of knowledge in sports science has expanded dramatically in the past 10 years. To extend this information to the public, two major changes must be made in response to your article's accurate report: 1) School administrators must fill vacant physical education positions by hiring teachers possessing a solid and up-to-date sports-science background; and 2) sports medicine professionals, including specialized physicians, exercise scientists, researchers, etc., must escape from their ivory towers and stop talking only to one another. We fitness specialists must accept, as part of our professional responsibilities, the fact that we also must be public fitness educators.
JOAN A. FINN, PH.D.
SUPER BOWL XVII
Thanks to the photographer who brilliantly captured Dolphin Fulton Walker's run to Super Bowl glory (Hail to the Redskins! Feb. 7). We here in Martinsburg, W. Va. had the best of both worlds in Super Bowl XVII, seeing our favorite son, Walker, do what he does best against our favorite team, the Redskins. If it weren't for that "human diesel" known as John Riggins, the Dolphins might have been victorious, thanks largely to Walker's sensational, record-setting kickoff return.
I'll cherish this classic SI photograph, and I enjoyed Paul Zimmerman's insightful—as usual—writing on a very exciting championship game. And, Dr. Z, although you didn't mention your pregame prediction (New Names for the No-Names, Jan. 31), we Redskin fans have not forgotten what it was: Fins 17, Skins 10. Hail to the Redskins, and Fulton Walker!
Martinsburg, W. Va.
Granted, John Riggins' playoff work was beautiful to behold, but I'm surprised that an NFL scholar such as Paul Zimmerman could say that Riggins' 136 carries for 610 yards was "probably the heaviest four-game work load for any back in NFL history."
As a part of the Houston Oiler radio broadcast crew in 1980, I was privileged to watch Earl Campbell put together four games in which he rushed 134 times for 740 yards. In fact, he had a six-game streak of 195 carries for 1,076 yards.
That Campbell's average per carry in his four-game stint was 5.5 yards, compared to Riggins' paltry 4.5, is, of course, outweighed by the fact that Riggins now has a Super Bowl ring. As a fan and friend of Earl's, I can only hope he'll get at least one for his jewelry case before his career is over.
I remember the first Redskin-Dolphin Super Bowl match and thus must point out one thing: There are two Dolphin players, Bob Kuechenberg and Vern Den Herder, who have been on the team since the Super Bowl championship years of '73 and '74, not just one (Kuechenberg) as you said.
SCOTT J. WHITE
•Right. Den Herder, who officially retired from the Dolphins to his cattle ranch near Sioux Center, Iowa after the 1981 season, was persuaded to return to Miami for one more year—his 12th in the NFL—when, just before the 1982 regular-season opener, Coach Don Shula found himself short of backup defensive linemen.—ED.
PKA KARATE (AND OTHER) VICTORIES
Your article on PKA full-contact karate (Not Just a Lot of Kicks, Jan. 24) did justice to an up and coming sport that deserves more credit than it usually receives. Very few athletes have dedicated themselves to their sport as rigorously as Bob (Thunder) Thurman has to his.
However, to set the facts straight, I must point out he has been knocked out more than once, and not just "with a Coke bottle in a bar." At times Thurman has trained in boxing with a brawler named Gary Shull. While sparring, Shull once sent Thunder to the canvas—lights out. This is not to slight Thurman, because Shull's knockdown victims include not only Thurman but also a fighting bear. And in the novice heavyweight finals of the 1968 Kansas City Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, Shull won a decision over John Riggins, now the fullback of the Washington Redskins.
Kansas City, Mo.
As a fight fan, I was astonished to learn in your recent article on PKA full-contact karate that the sport has such an excellent safety record. Some of the reasons for this are given by Referee Jay T. Will, but I also noted that many of the safety rules only now being discussed for boxing—after too many deaths—have long been in place for the PKA fighters. Also, the PKA seems to act as a national regulator of both major and minor fights. Perhaps Don and Judy Quine from show business could help the WBA, the WBC and the boxing commissions to make their sport safer. Have the boxing people ever thought to ask them? Or are they just going to discuss it among themselves until the heat is off?
NOTRE DAME HOCKEY
While lamenting the passing of Notre Dame hockey (SCORECARD, Feb. 7), you disparaged the members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association when you said that Notre Dame "shifted the team from the big-time Western Collegiate Hockey Association to a 'bus league' in which it didn't have to fly to away games." Do you mean to imply that the CCHA is bush-league because its teams travel by bus?
To enlighten you, along with the Irish, Michigan State, Michigan and Michigan Tech left the WCHA to join the CCHA and trim travel expenses. I don't imagine such distant WCHA teams as North Dakota or the University of Denver were heartbroken to see away games at Ann Arbor, South Bend or Houghton, Mich. eliminated from their athletic budgets, either.
As for the CCHA, check out the WMPL [Radio Station WMPL of Houghton] college hockey poll for the week of Jan. 31. It listed three CCHA teams in the Top 10: Bowling Green (No. 2), Michigan State (No. 5) and Ohio State (No. 9).
Notre Dame will leave intercollegiate hockey if it must, but the CCHA shouldn't suffer insults from you because of it. It's a fine league in which tough-spirited hockey is played before appreciative crowds.
R. DOWE PARSONS
Three cheers for Notre Dame. The efforts of the Irish athletic department to restore some sanity to college athletics should be applauded and encouraged, not criticized.
What possible justification is there for granting athletic scholarships to athletes who participate in a sport that does not produce revenue sufficient to pay for those scholarships? The original purpose of college athletics was to provide an outlet for the students. Admittedly, football and basketball have gone far beyond this for reasons tied to the popularity of those sports. I have no argument with that. But please note that Notre Dame is not eliminating its hockey program. By putting hockey on the club level, the school is simply returning the sport to the student body, where it and the other non-revenue-producing sports belong. Next year Notre Dame's hockey team will truly represent the university. My only question is: Why, Father Hesburgh, did you stop with the hockey program?
IN DEFENSE OF KRIEK
Judging by comments made in 19TH HOLE (Jan. 31), I think many of your readers completely missed the point of your feature story on Johan Kriek (I'm an Animal Out There, Jan. 17). I didn't get the impression that he is "overpaid, spoiled or otherwise immature" just because he makes a good living playing tennis and can afford some of the world's best toys. Quite to the contrary, Kriek sounds as though he is intelligent enough not to take himself too seriously. Sure, if he let tennis become the focus of his entire being, he might be No. 1, but Kriek knows the game is not the axis upon which the world spins.
He can make a good living playing when he wants to; he obviously finds time to expand his mind, read a few books, involve himself in other interests and grow as a person. That's a lot better human being in my book than someone who is so narrow that he defines the human condition by how well someone hits a backhand. Give me a Kriek any day.
South Burlington, Vt.
ARKANSAS' JOE KLEINE
Regarding your article Brother, Can They Smother (Jan. 24), my brother, Joe Kleine, didn't leave Notre Dame for a superficial, selfish reason like "not getting the ball enough." Joe made that very difficult decision only after he discussed its most fundamental aspects with numerous people who were familiar with the entire situation, including Notre Dame classmates, Notre Dame teammates, Notre Dame boosters and his family. Joe reluctantly concluded that for many reasons he did not fit Notre Dame's obviously successful basketball system.
Joe hopes and feels he can develop as a Razorback, and he's proud and happy to be at Arkansas. But no one is mad; no one is to blame. Our whole family does, and will, support Notre Dame—unless, of course, Notre Dame plays Arkansas.
ROBERT MICHAEL KLEINE
Kansas City, Mo.
In the Dec. 6 issue of SI, in an article on Elaine Zayak (Flight of the Bumble Bee) Bob Ottum quoted from an article of mine in the European magazine Ice and Roller Skate and stated that my "comment was aimed at ABC in general and Peggy Fleming in particular." This is not true. I have found ABC Television's figure skating coverage to be first-rate, with superb, knowledgeable and fair commentary by Jim McKay, Dick Button and, in particular, Peggy Fleming.
Redwood City, 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.