I haven't finished reading my Sept. 7 issue, because Leigh Montville's article on Southern California (Everything under the Sun) made me stop to write immediately. Montville had me smiling, empathizing and anxious to buy an airline ticket to L.A.! It was a great visual tour that could only have been written by an Easterner. Thanks, Leigh!
As a native of Southern California, I want everyone in the rest of the nation to know that it does rain here, that it's overcrowded, and that when you see mountains in the background of the Rose Bowl on TV on New Year's Day, it's the only time they are visible all year. So please don't feel obligated to rush out and see what living in Southern California is like.
Incidentally, I am destroying any copies of that issue I can get my hands on so that no one else can find out about living in paradise.
And just as a matter of interest, the boys and girls in the red bathing suits pictured on page 60 are the 9-to 12-year-old division of the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards. My son Ryan is among that group.
SUSAN MOCSNY BAKER
Huntington Beach, Calif.
At one point Leigh Montville asks where people from California go on vacation. The answer is simple: Hawaii.
I anxiously drove home to get my new issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED from the mailbox, secure in the knowledge that Ben Johnson would be on the cover. But whom did I see there instead? Some California skimboarder! I have nothing against California surfers—or surfers in general. I body-surf myself. But to put a skimboarder on the cover when, in that very same week, Johnson had blasted the 100-meter-dash record with a Beamonesque 9.83 clocking is incomprehensible. Utterly astounding.
Wonderful essay by Jack McCallum in your Pro Football Spectacular (POINT AFTER, Sept. 9). I had been waiting for someone to point out the obvious stupidity of the NFL's instant replay rule. Officiating is as much a part of the game as passing or blocking or tackling. Mistaken decisions even out, as long as the officials are men of integrity—which is the only thing that really matters.
McCallum is right. The rule slows down the game and makes officials hesitant about making controversial calls, for fear that the replay official will overrule them. It is fruitless for the NFL to think it can perfect such a vague rule. The league could save itself a lot of headaches by just dropping it.
McCallum rationalizes that, because football is coached by imperfect coaches and played by imperfect players, there is nothing wrong with imperfect officials officiating the games. This is obviously the rationale of an imperfect writer. It is the imperfections of the teams, not those of the officials, that should decide the winners and losers.
NICHOLAS S. TUSKE
As long as you have the tools to correct a wrong decision, why five in the past?