TIDAL WAVES (CONT.)
Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue. In the early years, my father hid the issue from me. During my adolescent years, I hid it from him. In more recent times, I found myself hiding the issue first from my new bride and then from my kids. Now it's my kids' turn to hide it from me. That doesn't matter because I have another copy at the office, which I hide from my boss. May this tradition continue for generations to come.
As a 33-year-old academician who is concerned with and, to a certain extent, dismayed by the proliferation of sex as a marketing tool, I have monitored the development of the swimsuit issue. The real value of this year's 25th anniversary edition was, in my opinion, the magazine's analysis of itself in various articles. These pieces certainly enhanced my understanding of the evolution of this annual media splash. The SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue has become a significant social phenomenon and one that has a high degree of class and style.
Jule Campbell should be commended for her dedication to excellence. The stories on past swimsuit cover models prove that she and SI always choose the finest all-around models. This is further evidenced by the former models' enduring beauty and grace.
As for this year's cover girl, I can only say one thing: Kathy Ireland, will you marry me?
JOSEPH A. RELLA
Pelham Manor, N. Y.
March 13, 1989
I read all of your 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue. I really did. Cover to cover. Honest.
President, West Michigan Liars' Club
Grand Rapids, Mich.
As my superiors would say: "Outstanding!" However, I hope my superiors don't find out about my viewing the issue. They are drill sergeants in the U.S. Army, and we were in a period of training during which we were supposed to be reading only army manuals. I had to read the magazine in bed with a flashlight. I hope most of your readers read it in more relaxed circumstances. I like to think that we in the armed forces are defending American values, especially those that allow beautiful women to grace the pages of your publication.
Fort Jackson, S.C.
Last year my son, Rob, was entrusted to pick up his high school's mail every day during second-hour study hall. On the day the SI swimsuit issue arrived, the assistant principal chastised him for snitching it from the mail and smuggling it into third-hour history class. For several years before that he was chastised by me for smuggling the issue into his room before I could censor it. But this year he is suffering the ultimate punishment: He's a freshman at Manchester College, 80 miles away, and cannot get his grubby hands on our copy of the biggest and best swimsuit issue yet—at least not for a few weeks. By that time my favorite photos of Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson et al. will be dutifully hung in my garage gallery.
Eat your heart out, Rob. Love, Dad.
•Rob replies: "Sorry, Dad, while you were busy writing to SI, Mom swiped your issue and sent it to me. Love, Rob."—ED.
It's Sunday evening, and my wife and I have spent part of our weekend taking turns with your swimsuit issue. And, yes, we read the articles. Our congratulations to Jule Campbell et al. My wife might disagree, but tell Rick Reilly (POINT AFTER) that Roman Gabriel will never match Cheryl Tiegs in fishnet. And that Ashley Richardson! Hubbahubba!
TIM TILTON, D.D.S.
Forget the girls in their swimsuits. Just send me Rick Reilly in his $28 Arrow shirt. Better yet, send me to Mexico with him. Anyone who can write that well has to be entertaining.
We are the four St. Anselm's College alumni who wrote SI eight years ago regarding your bathing suit issue. We were surprised to learn, in reading Leigh Montville's piece (Letters and More Letters), that school officials would not help Montville locate us, citing the "interests of the school." So, for the record: We're still close friends. We still read SI. And we still believe in God—especially in February.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN, Chicago
DON DONOVAN, Manchester, N.H.
CHARLIE GILMORE, Plymouth, Mass.
DAN DELANEY, Cambridge, Mass.
Your 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue is another example of exploitation of women for mammon and lust, though I enjoyed reading Leigh Montville's accurate account of our telephone conversation and his quotation of the letters to the editor that I have written in the past about the swimsuits. By the way, the illustration of the priest by Patrick McDonnell was appropriate.
REV. PHILODORE H. LEMAY, M.S.
The swimsuit issue is antiquated, trite and probably detrimental to the behavioral development of children and young adults. I vote that you cease and desist with this annual foolishness.
P. KENT HARMAN, M.D.
What a great idea. Two separate SIs in early February, one for those who want to read about sports and one for those who want to read about aging models.
Of the articles dealing with the women who have made SI's swimsuit cover, the best was Jill Lieber's account of Ann Simonton (The Woman Warrior). I think Simonton is right: Modeling is "a glamorized form of prostitution." Si's annual swimsuit issue is an especially pernicious example of this, one that we all would do well to outgrow.
I loved the issue, but I wish Ralph Wiley had not tried to be a movie reviewer. His story on model-actress Dayle Haddon (Her Gaze Can Daze) dumped on North Dallas Forty, in which she had a minor role 10 years ago. Wiley may think North Dallas Forty is a "B movie," but it is the most thought-provoking sports film ever made. Ralph is not very wily when it comes to film critiques.
Hats off to Kevin Cook for writing such a heartwarming article (The Iowa Girl Stands Tall, Feb. 13) on the Bobcats of Dike High. The story was to Iowa girls' high school basketball what the movie Hoosiers was to Indiana boys' basketball: a small-town team defying the odds to win the state's most coveted high school championship.
I was reminded that in 1978 powerful Spencer High was upset in the regional finals by a school from Melvin, a town of 300 people that somehow sent enough supporters to Spencer, some 34 miles away, to occupy half its packed 3,000-seat field house. The Spencer coach was Tom Murr, later Dike's coach.
I am glad that six-on-six girls' hoops is still being played somewhere. One thing, though. If the game's followers are so bent on tradition, why have they adopted the three-point basket? What's next, the shot clock, or maybe even (gasp) five-on-five full-court basketball?
It's interesting that SI detailed the so-so fortunes of the LPGA (Find the Golf Here? Feb. 13) in the same issue that celebrated Iowa girls' basketball. The latter story explained why the six-on-six version of the game is more popular in Iowa than girls' five-on-five basketball: "After all, fans can see the same game played more expertly by males."
There are creative ways to play golf tournaments, too, beyond the monotonous format of the PGA Tour. By including such special events as skins games and match-play tournaments the LPGA could interest more fans.
ROBERT BRUCE NORRIS
Unless the ladies of the LPGA want to audition for girlie shows, they should reveal their best form on the golf course, not in bathing suits.
GEORGE W. LEE
Toms River, N.J.
In your year-end issue, Pictures '88 (Dec. 26-Jan. 2), you showed (below, right) Wayne Gretzky beating No. 24 of the N. Y. Rangers, Michel Petit. On the cover of your Feb. 6 issue you showed Mario Lemieux beating Petit. If you look closely, Petit has pretty much the same expression in both photos. He should be the leading candidate for Most Burned Defenseman of the Year, although I would not consider being burned by either Gretzky or Lemieux a reason to be demoralized.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.