SI Vault
October 06, 1980
THE EARLY ALISir:As a free-lance photographer, I applaud Michael Brennan's Ali and His Educators (Sept. 22). The photographs are compelling postscripts to the careers of these obscure men. The shot of Sonny Liston's grave humanizes an unfortunate soul more than any portrait of his baleful glare ever did. Brennan has done some knockout work.RICHARD S. GOLOMB Pittsburgh
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October 06, 1980

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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One of the continuing enigmas in the world of pro football is how chronic losers like Bart Starr (Thanks, Bart Needed That! Sept. 15) can "coach" for years on end while one of the most consistent winners in the history of football and a coach who has never had a losing season. George Allen, is apparently blackballed from the NFL. It seems some of the league's owners don't want a winner. What a shame!
San Francisco

In his article on the University of Virginia (It's V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A-A-A-A!, Sept. 15), Frank Deford leaves out the most important part of Stonewall Jackson's full title as a professor at Virginia Military Institute. It is true, as Deford states, that Jackson taught philosophy, but his actual title was "Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Artillery Tactics."

Deford appears to take with a grain of salt the belief of Virginians that only the death of Jackson prevented Lee's army from being in Albany. N.Y. "next Tuesday." Heck, if Lee had had Jackson, who was something like 28-0-1 against the North (figuring a draw at Antietam), he'd have been in Albany by next Monday.
Saratoga Springs. N.Y.

Frank Deford cited an article in Playboy magazine that ranked the top party schools in the country. Apparently Deford confused the University of Virginia with West Virginia University. It was WVU that was rated in a class by itself by Playboy, not the University of Virginia.
Summit Hall
West Virginia University
Morgantown, W. Va.

?Both Deford and the Ninth Floor have apparently been taken in by the pervasive and enduring myth that, at some time in the past. Playboy published a ranking of the best party schools. There is no such list, says Playboy, which fields dozens of inquiries a year on the subject, and never has been.—ED.

I would like to thank you for your excellent article about Detroit Running Back Billy Sims (Revved Up and Running, Sept. 22). Detroit is for real. The Lions have three major ingredients this season that were painfully missing last year: a great running back in Sims, a superb field-goal kicker in Ed Murray (who booted a 52-yarder against L.A.) and an outstanding quarterback in Gary Danielson. I am convinced there is no team in the NFC that can challenge them. Detroit fans finally have a team they deserve.
Kankakee, Ill.

Michael Crosby's vivid account of Rock-away-style basketball in the '40s and '50s (NOSTALGIA. Sept. 8) made me recall my days on the courts of 108th Street in New York's Rockaway Beach, waiting with other hapless challengers for a chance to play against the best. We knew we hadn't a prayer of making it to the big leagues, but to be able to say that you were faked out by a Bob Cousy or a Dick McGuire.... Thanks for the memory!
Lieut. Commander, USN (ret.)
Port Townsend, Wash.

I grew up in the Rockaways and spent a lot of time on the basketball courts of Rock-away Beach. The pickup games Michael Crosby reminisced about sound familiar, except that the games I watched took place in the mid-'60s, at a time when Crosby claims the games had petered out. I vividly recall giving up courts in 1966-68 to guys who rode the subway down from the city ( Manhattan). Included in those groups were a young man named Lew Alcindor, another named Dean Meminger, and the likes of Kevin Joyce, John Roche and Tom Owens.

Although urban renewal may have physically changed the Rockaway Beach Al and Dick McGuire knew, the Rockaway way of life has not ended. The basketball may be faster and the players of a different style, but the spirit lives on.

I disagree with your labeling of the CBS World's Strongest Men competition as "trashsport" (TV/RADIO, Sept. 8). You do a disservice to the athletes and to fans of strength sports. The World's Strongest Men competition allows performers from diverse sports—weightlifting, powerlifting, football, bodybuilding, wrestling, track and field—to compete on an equal footing. The use of such a common object as a refrigerator or an automobile, which could normally only be lifted by three or four men, tends to sharpen the viewer's appreciation of the competitor's effort. The events draw on the rich heritage of the strong man in the circus and vaudeville, men like Sandow and Saxon, who lifted cannons and pianos and bent steel bars.

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