THE MAGIC OF FLUTIE
A Perm State graduate and die-hard Nittany Lion supporter now living in Boston, I've had an opportunity to watch Doug Flutie play on numerous occasions, including his four outstanding performances against my alma mater. His competitiveness, quarterbacking skill and outlook on the sport have never ceased to impress me. John Underwood (It Wasn't A Fluke. It Was A Flutie, Dec. 3) was correct in stating, "It doesn't matter if he ever plays a down of pro football...." Flutie is the epitome of everything college athletics stands for. He will be more than missed.
ROBERT J. CLARKE
I hope that well be seeing a replay of your Dec. 3 cover when it comes time to announce the Sportsman of the Year. Other athletes may have performed as well as Doug Flutie in 1984, but none embodied the essence of sport in the way he did. Flutie brings a special human element to the playing field. He symbolizes what we all would like to be: someone who always tries his hardest, who doesn't give up and who can triumph against the longest of odds. He is a fierce competitor, a "winner," but never at the expense of sportsmanship. Most of all, Flutie has fun, and we have fun watching him. And in the end, isn't fun what sport is all about?
Has Flutiemania also struck SI? As Boston College fans, we appreciated John Underwood's account of the spectacular performance by Doug Flutie and his Eagle teammates against Miami. We also noticed that the article began on page 22 (Doug's jersey number). Was this a fluke, or is Flutie performing miracles beyond the control of SI's editors?
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
?The editors had full control over that one.—ED.
I applaud writer Jack McCallum and reporter Armen Keteyian on their article Everybody's Doin' It (Dec. 3). It's about time someone brought to light the fitness disease that grips so many Americans. It may be epidemic. I'm a 26-year-old former three-sport participant in high school who has been jogging, playing, lifting and stretching since 1976. Luckily for my body and, especially, my mind, I recently realized the negative effects of fitness fanaticism. It controlled my life. Rather than being an emotional release from the pressures of the day, running became an obsession, a duty around which everything else was planned. If I missed a day or two, I was a mental wreck. The same guilt feelings accompanied my Nautilus workouts.
On Nov. 8 I threw away my running shoes and began riding my 10-speed a few days a week—but only when I feel like it—and started a sensible program of push-ups, sit-ups and ballet-type stretches. My legs and joints thank me every morning, and I haven't known such peace of mind in years!
There's a reason why you never see a smiling runner: Nobody really likes it.
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Your article on fitness gadgets was factual and thorough. As an 80-year-old physician, let me remind your readers of an exercise that is safe, requires no gadgets and, if done properly and briskly, is aerobic: walking.
A.M. LIBASCI, M.D.
You complain that the message of aerobics and fitness "is spread by prophets with more marquee value than expertise." If so, then why did you perpetuate the inequity? You had a golden opportunity to provide a service to your readers by telling about the many exercise physiologists and technologists who have developed safe, effective programs based on conclusive research. Unfortunately, the press focuses on luminaries who haven't paid their educational dues. I hope you will correct this deficiency in the future. While not well known, I am proud to sign myself.
DONNA M. ANDERSON, B.S., M.S.
Certified Fitness Instructor
Fitness Consultant, General Foods Corp.
Jack McCallum may be surprised by the increase in sales of rowing machines, but I'm not. It's the easiest way to exercise every major muscle group and to increase cardiovascular fitness at the same time.