BACK TO BASKETBALL
First it was sexy Cheryl Tiegs on SI's cover (Feb. 14); now, seven days later, it's an ordained Pentecostal minister, NBA rookie Terry Cummings of the San Diego Clippers. What a difference a week makes!
Bruce Newman's article (At the Head of His Class, Feb. 21) was excellent. As a fan of both DePaul and Ohio State, I was disturbed when Terry Cummings and Clark Kellogg abandoned their respective colleges to enter the NBA. I understand their reasons, though, and wish them luck in their NBA careers.
As Newman said, Cummings, Kellogg and James Worthy are the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, as they well should be. What I don't understand is why Cummings and Clark weren't considered All-Star material, especially if, as your article said, they were among only four players—the other two being Moses Malone and Larry Bird—averaging at least 20 points a game while grabbing 10 rebounds. This article finally gives these super-rookies the attention they deserve.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened my mailbox and found Terry Cummings of San Diego dubbed Rookie of the Year on your cover. Then I read the article and was appalled that Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins was barely mentioned. I don't mean to denigrate Cummings, but he hasn't led his team anywhere. As of Feb. 27, the Clippers had a record of 20-38, while the Hawks, with Wilkins, were 28-29. Atlanta was only 10 games out of first place in its division, compared to San Diego's 21½ in its. Cummings as Rookie of the Year? Sheeeeesh!
March 7, 1983
Curry Kirkpatrick's article They're SEC-ond to None (Feb. 21) on the Southeastern Conference and its basketball parity was interesting. It's amazing to see a group of teams trading positions from top to bottom, week after week. However, I couldn't help noticing the comment by Georgia Coach Hugh Durham that North Carolina "took the week off" when it played The Citadel and Furman on one weekend in the middle of the conference schedule. This remark seemed unfair coming from a man whose team took the month of December off, playing the likes of Randolph-Macon, Georgia State, Central Wesleyan and Augusta. Compared to that, Carolina's schedule is awesome.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Your article praising SEC basketball was right on the mark. The conference has been strong from top to bottom for several years. However, asserting that "the middle-rung schools would blow out the third-or fourth-place teams from anywhere else" is absurd. I doubt if they could blow out Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, the third-through sixth-place teams in the Big Ten after last weekend. Iowa has lost seven Big Ten games, yet has beaten Indiana twice. After a down time last season, the Big Ten has returned to power. While the SEC has an impressive 81-18 record in non-conference games, the Big Ten is even better at 85-18.
DA NEW BROONS
Congratulations on finally noticing the best team in hockey (The Doggone Bruins May Go All the Way, Feb. 14). Although Jack Falla wrote an engaging article on Boston's Pete Peeters & Co., he didn't place enough emphasis on the value of Rick Middleton, perhaps the most complete and most underrated hockey player since Jacques Lemaire. Of course, the emergence of such stars as Peeters, Barry Pederson and Keith and Bruce Crowder has helped Da Broons attain their lofty status, but Middleton's extraordinary play has been "the straw that stirred the drink," as Reggie Jackson might say. If Middleton is not the best two-way performer in hockey today, then Gordie Howe must still be playing somewhere!
Jack Falla's piece on the Bruins was excellent. His hockey writing is a welcome addition to SI. One correction, however: The Bruins' team record for most shutouts by a goaltender is held by Hal Winkler, not Terry Sawchuk. Winkler had 15 shutouts for the Bruins during the 1927-28 season.
In addition, Hall of Fame Goalie Frank Brimsek had 10 shutouts for the Bruins in 1938-39, and fellow Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson had 10 in 1935-36, 11 in 1932-33, nine in 1931-32 and 12 in 1928-29.
Pete Peeters' performance—seven shutouts so far this season—may indeed place him in the company of such hallowed goalies someday.
CHARLES M. PYLE III
BORG'S SWAN SONG
Curry Kirkpatrick took some cheap shots at Southern towns—"tanktowns"—in his story on Bjorn Borg's farewell exhibition tour (A Marriage Made in Glitzville, Feb. 14). It's really sad that a reporter could write a piece like that. Come on! Was it that bad—limos running red lights, an old lady climbing into Borg's limo and calling him "Bjorn boy"? And what's wrong with giving someone the key to a city? Low blow.
Curry Kirkpatrick was most kind in his description of the events surrounding Bjorn Borg's farewell tour. I was one of the unfortunate people who had to sit through promoter Bill Stamps's sideshow in Chattanooga. I was embarrassed as a Chattanoogan, as a tennis player and as a human being. Stamps succeeded in making a circus out of a dignified sport. I hope that Borg doesn't feel that was representative of all of Chattanooga—it's really a fairly nice place to live.
Signal Mountain, Tenn.
In the article on fitness (Hold On There America, Feb. 7), you mentioned a ludicrous situation at Proviso East High School in May-wood, Ill., where students could earn physical education credits by playing pinochle.
This is ironic because in 1942, soon after the U.S. had entered World War II, Proviso gained national recognition for its innovative program of promoting vigorous physical education. The late Les Remley, then athletic director, reorganized the physical education curriculum and installed, in the basement of the spacious field house, the same type of obstacle course used by the training camps of the armed forces. We Proviso students then spent long hours scrambling over hurdles, climbing ropes and trudging long miles around the oval cinder track.
Remley believed—and preached—that all students should be graduated from high school not only with the training and education to hold a job, but also with the physical capacity to comfortably meet the demands of adult life. His staff included, among others, Wrestling Coach Lou Slimmer, who had been the state's leading physical fitness exponent long before World War II; Andy Puplis, former quarterback at Notre Dame; and Chuck Kassel, who had played end on the Red Grange teams at Illinois.
I left Proviso in 1943 and did not return until 1968 when, while taking part in my 25th class reunion, my wife and I watched Proviso's football team play neighboring Waukegan. As we looked around us at that game, we quickly realized that the vigorous Proviso of the early '40s was gone. Student spectators in the stands ignored the cheerleaders and the action on the field. Instead they sat and gossiped, played cards, drank booze and listened to music from transistor radios.
Proviso's decline should not tarnish the luster of the fine coaches and teachers of its earlier years. They invested their lives in nourishing us in body, heart and mind.
By the way, Proviso alumni include astronaut Gene Cernan, actress Carol Lawrence, talk-show host Mike Douglas, Green Bay Linebacker Ray Nitschke, White Sox Pitcher Orval Grove and me, a claims examiner.
Congratulations for possessing the courage and journalistic integrity to take a close look at the so-called fitness boom and to discover that it is largely illusory. We Americans have much work to do to improve our diets, our life-styles and our exercise patterns.
As the sports editor of a small-town newspaper, I was interested in Jerry Kirshenbaum's and Robert Sullivan's remarks about the disparity between competitive athletics and phys ed programs in the schools. They are on target in saying, "Administrators, parents and the local press are often more interested in what happens in the gym on Friday nights than during school hours."
We in the media tend to lionize those students with superior athletic skills and ignore those whose interests and skills lie elsewhere. It's an unfortunate trend that does little to publicize the value of fitness. Reevaluation of our perspective on sports and fitness is in order, and your article will help us in the task.
It was a pleasure to read Walter Edmonds' reminiscence of his early experiences as a fly fisherman (A Birthday to Remember, Jan. 31). Several years ago, a group of us purchased Northlands, the Edmonds' estate near Boonville, N.Y. The pond on which Walter practiced his casts is still there, and the farmhouse—all 16 rooms—is in nearly the same condition it was when he was a boy.
After the purchase I negotiated with Walter's wife, Katharine, to buy the furniture and decorations that remained in the house. Above the fireplace in what we call the library, a stuffed trout mounted under glass caught my eye and I expressed a desire to purchase it. She would not sell it to me, but was kind enough to donate it. It hangs there still. Quite possibly, this is the same 8-pound trout that Walter's father caught at Murray Bay so long ago.
•Edmonds says the mounted fish is, indeed, his father's big trout.—ED.
PITT'S DR. Z
In the Jan. 17 FACES IN THE CROWD, you noted that Paul Zehfuss, a 74-year-old eye surgeon, had shot two holes-in-one in one round of golf.
Your readers might also be interested to learn that Dr. Zehfuss was a member of the 1927-28, '28-29 and '29-30 basketball squads at the University of Pittsburgh. The first and last of those teams were winners of the mythical national championship.
While earning his Pitt medical degree, Zehfuss was a freshman basketball coach; later he was an assistant coach, and a physician with the student health office. His exemplary professional and World War II military service brought him the Pitt Varsity Letter Club's Letterman of Distinction Award in 1965.
In addition to being an "ace" golfer, he also well represents what intercollegiate athletics can and should be about.
ROBERT C. ROSBOROUGH
Pitt Varsity Letter Club
ANOTHER MARIS FEAT
An item in FACES IN THE CROWD (Jan. 24) says that Brent Fullwood set a national high school record when he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in one game. An old high school yearbook of mine says that Roger Maris, who's better known for his baseball accomplishments, returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in a 1951 game as Shanley of Fargo, N. Dak. defeated Devils Lake 33—27. Who's right?
C. MICHAEL REIMRINGER
West Henrietta, N.Y.
•Maris' returns for TDs were never submitted to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the arbiter—and SI's source—of such records. However, Maris' football coach at Shanley, Sidney Cichy, who, incidentally, has twice appeared in FACES IN THE CROWD (Nov. 17, 1975 and Dec. 5, 1977), assures us that Maris did run back four kick-offs—all for more than 80 yards.—ED.
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