That was a wonderful article about Jack Nicholson (Wild In The Seats, Nov. 3). You're right, we Celtics fans don't really hate him; anyone who is that devoted to his team has to be O.K. His taste, however, is all in his art collection.
Rick Reilly's article on Jack Nicholson was the most fun I've had reading since John Madden's Hey, Wait a Minute, I Wrote a Book! But what really topped off the story were the wild behind-the-camera photos of Nicholson by Brian Lanker.
The one most promising proposal overlooked by Jack McCallum in his analysis (The Incredible Shrinking Court, Nov. 3) was a total maximum height restriction for the five players on the court at any one time—with an accompanying total maximum for the team's roster.
Following your "NBA Average Size" chart, an average-player-height allowance might be 6'6". The maximum height a team could field at any one time would be 32'6". If, in following this restriction, a team chose to "spend" its height allowance by using a 7'6" center, it would be allowed only 25 feet for the remaining four players. It would therefore permit, for example, two 6-foot guards and two 6'6" forwards.
SAUL E. FEDER
New York City
November 17, 1986
I read the radical changes proposed for the NBA. As a small man (5'6"), I enjoy playing the game as it is. However, for the NBA and college basketball, I agree with all of the proposed changes. They would make the game more exciting and would force some of the big men to learn how to move and really play.
In response to Franz Lidz's article on North Dakota gambling (A Truly Friendly Game Of Chance, Oct. 27). We North Dakotans realize that there isn't much to see here. No smog, no pollution, no traffic jams, no muggers, no organized crime—dull, dull, dull! The next time Lidz is covering a stadium sports event for SI and enjoying a cold beer (very likely made from North Dakota barley), a hot dog on a bun (North Dakota beef, pork and durum wheat) and potato chips (North Dakota spuds), he can be reminded that farming is what goes on in the vast stretch "between the Badlands and the Red River Valley."
Hoople, N. Dak.
(Yes, Hoople does exist!)
North Dakota may not be as modern as other states, but North Dakota State University has the No. 1 team in the nation in NCAA Division II football. The Bison have been top contenders for at least the past five years, and they have been at the top of the North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for 17 of the past 21. What's more, they have a wonderful wrestling team.
Fargo, N. Dak.
I read the story with some amusement. As the public official in charge of regulating charitable gambling in North Dakota, I appreciate the exposure the state received. Nonetheless, the impression that there is little else to do here is hardly accurate.
It is ironic that a magazine dedicated to sports would ignore the tremendous attractiveness of this state from a sportsman's stand-point. North Dakota boasts some of the best upland game hunting, migratory bird hunting, big-game hunting and fishing in North America. Where else can a hunter obtain a limit of ducks and geese in the morning, a limit of pheasants in the afternoon and then catch salmon and walleye in the evening? While the state does not pretend to have some of the urban pleasures available elsewhere, the lifestyle and the opportunities for sportsmen here are virtually unrivaled in the U.S.
Placed in context, charitable gambling plays a very small role in the recreational activities of the average North Dakotan.
NICHOLAS J. SPAETH
State of North Dakota
I enjoyed the article, but where did Franz Lidz get his name? Not in North Dakota. Where are rattlesnakes supposed to bring their mothers? To the opera? What exactly is wrong with little bitty black leather bikinis—unless it's 40° below? What's wrong with Hoople, Cackle and Zap?
Actually, the less you know, the better we feel. It helps keep the riffraff out of our state.
Minot, N. Dak.
GOD IS A SHE?
I was dismayed to see Douglas S. Looney refer to God as "She" (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Oct. 27). On what basis does he make such an assertion? His own bias? Notwithstanding the fact that Western society generally accepts the generic reference to God as "He" because of what is understood to be God's own self-revelation in the Bible, Looney's comment bears no relevance to the substance of the item. I'm aware of trends toward using non-sexist or all-inclusive language, but this is blatant editorializing. If Looney's perception of God is feminine, so be it. But he should not use his position as a writer to state as fact that which is truly his opinion. One may indeed have thought that God didn't want St. Joseph's to win. And in fact, God didn't.
ROBERT A. REITH
Prospect Park, N.J.
I was distressed when you used a personal pronoun for God. God is God! God is not a female! Please stick to sportswriting and leave religion to those people who are qualified.
THE REVEREND WILLIAM M. CARNEY
St. John's Lutheran Church
Britton, S. Dak.
My priest, the Reverend Fred Fenton of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, will be especially delighted. He has been telling us for years that God is not just a He!
Santa Monica, Calif.
THE FOY AWARD
Funny you should notice. Last year the Tennessee Vols finished with one of their best records ever by scoring the biggest upset of the bowls, and they got one sentence and a picture in your Jan. 13 issue (The College Bowls). This year things go awry and Ivan Maisel gives them the Flop of the Year (FOY) award (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Oct. 27). Come on, show some balance. Furthermore, the idea that 10,000 Alabama fans could "out-holler the 85,000-plus Vol faithful" is absurd. Vol fans are nothing if not vocal.
KEVIN W. BUTLER
Losing to archrival Alabama 56-28 was devastating enough for Volunteer fans. But does that loss combined with their other losses to Auburn, Army and Mississippi State make the Vols deserving of the label Flop of the Year? I wasn't so sure. But then against Georgia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 25, they missed a 27-yard field goal with less than two minutes to go when the ball hit the right upright and fell to the ground like a dead duck. Final score: Georgia Tech 14, Tennessee 13. Only the Vols' third loss to Tech in 22 years. Surely any doubters as to Tennessee's new title are now convinced. What a bummer!
May I respectfully suggest that this award be renamed?
ROBERT W. FOY
HEAVY METAL ATHLETES
Thank you for Franz Lidz's ON THE SCENE (Oct. 27) look at golfers Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, lead guitarists for the rock group Judas Priest. I had the pleasure of watching them perform in Chicago. However, they are not the only heavy metal athletes.
Lars Ulrich, the Scandinavian-born drummer for Metallica, originally came to America to pursue pro tennis. David Lee Roth is a devoted student of the martial arts. Steve Harris, an expert bassist, considered playing pro soccer in England before founding his now super band, Iron Maiden. Probably the most notable rocker-athlete, however, is Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden. He is a member of the prestigious London Thames Fencing Club and is considered to be one of the top amateur fencers in England.
Iowa City, Iowa
I have always thought that the only two media types in America who really understood "the Red Sox thing" were Clark Booth and Peter Gammons, and in his sidebar to your World Series coverage (Good To The Very Last Out, Nov. 3) Gammons proved it beyond a doubt. His piece touched every Red Sox nerve in this long-suffering body. Our team may have lost again, but we are the only fans in the country who have raised their rooting beyond sport, elevating I it to the quasi-Calvinistic religious experience cited by Booth.
Be of good cheer, fellow Sox lovers. Unlike true Calvinists, some of us may be rewarded in this life by the ultimate Red Sox victory. But then again, would we be able to handle victory as well as we have handled defeat?
When I left the U.S. in July, the Red Sox were perched atop the American League East. This new success of my favorite team worried me: To whom could I turn, halfway around the world, to understand my sorrow when the inevitable collapse began, or to share my joy if a near miracle did occur? My apprehensions were unwarranted. Even in a tiny, remote village in the tropical jungles of Indonesia, a Sox fan may be found, as this picture of a Balinese woman testifies.
From Beantown to Bali, the burden of being a Bosox fan weighs heavily upon us all.
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.