THAT FIFTH DOWN
Congratulations to Walter Bingham for his NOSTALGIA piece (Nov. 22) about Cornell football in the glory days. It was a warm, touching account.
I particularly enjoyed Bingham's description of the controversial fifth-down play in the Cornell-Dartmouth game of 1940. He mentioned my late father, head of the Eastern Intercollegiate Football Association. In the aftermath of that game, my father sought to bolster the spirits of much-maligned Referee Red Friesell by sending him this telegram: "Don't let them get you down, down, down, down, down."
Chief Editorial Writer
No, Marshall Coach Bob Zuffelato hasn't seen Dr. J take off from a foot inside the foul circle and dunk (It Will Be One Testy Season, Nov. 29), and sports journalism loses a little bit more credibility each time nonsense such as this creeps into print. Not even Bob Beamon could do it. We're talking about a 20-foot long jump, at the end of which a guy is still at or near the apex so he can dunk. If SI can set it up, I'll bet anybody $5,000 Dr. J can't do it. The takeoff board is 20 feet away. No fouls permitted. Also, we don't do it in Mexico City or Denver.
Sports Copy Editor
Los Angeles Times
Curry Kirkpatrick blew it (He Cleaned Up On the Dirt, Dec. 6)! The headline referring to John McEnroe in the Grenoble newspaper, Le Dauphiné, JOHN LES DOIGTS DANS LE NEZ?, doesn't mean "Is John picking his nose?". This is an idiom that means "Will John win in a breeze?" Kirkpatrick's boner brought unjust criticism to the French for a crudeness that was actually the writer's invention.
Pat Putnam's article (He Took It All and Would Not Fall, Dec. 6) on the fight between Larry Holmes and Randall (Tex) Cobb was very good. I watched the bout on television, and as Putnam stated, Cobb had only one gear, forward, and only one speed, slow. But watching Cobb sent shivers up my spine. It was uncanny how he would take punch after punishing punch and hardly even waver. I admire him for his guts and determination.
Also, while watching the fight, I gained even more respect for Holmes. In the 15th round, he didn't punch Cobb for 90 seconds for fear of seriously injuring him. Who else has the all-around credentials of Holmes to be selected as SI's Sportsman of the Year?
Redwood Falls, Minn.
Howard Cosell, for his insistence during the TV broadcast that they should have stopped the Holmes-Cobb debacle.
How about finally recognizing John McEnroe as Sportsman of the Year? His Davis Cup matches against Mats Wilander of Sweden and Yannick Noah of France not only showed his tennis ability but also his great pride in representing the U.S. McEnroe showed he has a very big heart, and we should all be proud he's an American.
The Sportsman for 1982 should be golfer Tom Watson. His dramatic victory in the U.S. Open over Jack Nicklaus and his follow-up victory in the British Open signified his arrival as the successor to Nicklaus as king of the game.
If Robin Yount isn't deserving of Sportsman of the Year honors, I don't know who is.