BEHIND THE CAMERA
In addition to displaying beautiful women, your annual swimsuit feature has always exhibited some outstanding photography, usually the work of a single photographer. However, this year ("The Fairest Island That Eyes Have Beheld," Feb. 14) you neglected to tell us who the photographer was. Your Contents entry suggested that it was Walter Iooss Jr., but did he take all of the pictures?
New York City
•Yes, he did. The credit was inadvertently omitted during the preparation of the final offset printing film.—ED.
I have been an avid SI reader for many years, and I consider the article Hold On There, America (Feb. 7) by Jerry Kirshenbaum and Robert Sullivan one of the most important the magazine has published.
As a physical educator who has worked with children and adults of all ages over the past 13 years, I have witnessed many of the phenomena that were discussed in this excellent piece. I have seen numerous students entering high school who couldn't do a pull-up, a push-up or a sit-up, who were totally inflexible, and who couldn't run one lap around the track without stopping.
Even more appalling to me—and not really dealt with in the article—is the poor motor skills that I see daily in my job. The average high school and junior college students I come in contact with are lacking in the basic skills of running, jumping, moving laterally or backward, etc. They don't know how to fall to protect themselves and thus are much more prone to injuries than they should be. These skills should be taught in our elementary schools before incorrect movement habits become ingrained. By the time these students reach secondary and postsecondary institutions it is very difficult to correct the bad patterns that have been adopted and practiced during their early years.
I recently took my 9-year-old son to our weight room to see how many pull-ups he could do. The answer: two. When he was four, he could do seven. What's happening to my son and to many of his companions in his school isn't their fault. It is the fault of the parents for not demanding better physical education programs in the elementary schools. I, for one, am going to use your article as a basis to improve our local P.E. programs. It has deepened my conviction that physical education is as important as any other facet of the education curriculum. I hope the article will start getting us back on the right fitness track.
Instructor, Physical Education
College of the Siskiyous
I know why youth fitness is a big zero. Part of the reason is emblazoned on the sweat shirt of one of the children pictured hanging from the uneven parallel bar. ATARI, screams the blue and orange emblem. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and my eighth-grade English teacher, John (Get In Your Seats) Ferone, may shudder at my parody, but, "Video, video everywhere, and no one stops to think."
Today's children are not in the playground, they are in game arcades, spending quarters, not to mention minds, on electronic nonsense. Better a sprained wrist from a spill on the soccer field than from a rigorous go at Pac-Man.
JAMES A. LUSK
White Plains, N.Y.
The article was well done, but the authors neglected to discuss one vital point: In recent years many colleges and universities have abolished any physical education requirement. They moved instead to a more fashionable freedom-of-choice, do-your-own-thing outlook. I think that at times we became so open-minded that our brains fell out.
As a result of this change, we college physical educators no longer see the majority of students who really need a structured exposure to bodily activity; they elect to do nothing toward the further development of a strong cardiovascular system or greater flexibility. We do see a small percentage of students who probably would keep active and at a suitable level of fitness in any case.