Lately, you seem to be reaching new fronts. These stories aren't "jock talk." John Fowles' evocative ecological piece three years ago is an example. Sometimes the story is reminiscent, such as the warm study of Charlie ( Choo Choo) Justice, or the almost eerily beautiful story on Cool Papa Bell, certainly one of your finest presentations. And now comes Annie Dillard's Footfalls in a Blue Ridge Winter (Feb. 4). The quality these stories, and others, share is a very high level of writing.
STILL THE ARMY
It seems to me your magazine has an obsession to show just how awful Arnold Palmer's golf game has become in the last few years. Over and over again you actually criticize the man because he is 44 years old and is no longer able to win a tournament a week. Palmer is doing something that he dearly loves, and yet your magazine seems to be holding this against him.
Barry McDermott's article on Arizona basketball (Blooming Cactus Flowers, Feb. 11) is in accordance with SI's customary excellence. But Barry errs in coupling Tucson with retirement communities, shuffleboard sticks, "rusted arteries" and Bingo. Tucson is no St. Pete or Sun City. Tucson's median age is lower than that of most major cities. Its population, which is made up of many who have dared to "go West," is vigorous, ambitious, glorious and predominantly young. And that is Tucson's real Cactus Flower.
FRED L. VANCE
Thank you for a very fine article on the University of Arizona's basketball team. The Wildcats and Coach Fred Snowden were portrayed as they are, winners. Snowden naturally wants to bring a national championship to Arizona, and that event may not be far off.
WILLIAM N. JONES
The walls of my 12-year-old son's room are covered with color pictures of Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers, all snipped lovingly from the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. When Richard received the Jan. 28 issue with the pretty bikini-clad girl on the cover, he flipped right past the cover and over all those inside color pages with no more than a cursory glance to get to the important stuff about basketball and hockey. Then came the Feb. 11 issue containing three cries of outrage from a mother, a school principal and a priest. You guessed it! Richard made a bee-line for the Jan. 28 issue to get a better look at the offending pages to see what he had missed. Then he came to me for my explanation about "what was so bad."
It is no wonder that a child is bewildered by such reactions from adults to pictures of pretty girls in bathing suits. All those who might in the future consider writing such letters should think first of what adverse effects their comments may have on other people's impressionable children.
In this violent and aggressive world, some people complain about one of the very few nice and innocent things left on this globe—women in bathing suits. I would like to ask them if they also remove the pages on which pictures are shown of violent actions in sports like football, hockey and boxing. If you ask me, these people have the wrong idea about what is harmful to children.
The Hague, The Netherlands
In response to the letter from two members of the female sex who argued that Cheryl Tiegs did nothing to depict or promote women in sports, I would have to strongly disagree. After viewing all the beauties in your Jan. 28 issue I have been putting in two to three miles of roadwork a day. Cheryl and friends did wonders for my sports program!
Although I enjoy your annual bathing suit issue as much as the next guy, one of my favorite issues from year to year is the one that carries all of the letters in protest to it.
DOMINIC G. FLORY
Hooray for your break-through article on adult athletes (Hurdling Life's Barriers, Feb. 4). Bud Deacon makes a fine representative for the thousands of adults who seriously train in all sports for healthier, happier and more active lives.