The Super Bowl
I had to write to compliment your entire staff on the Feb. 8 issue. It had the most outstanding photographic coverage of a Super Bowl—or any other single athletic event—that I have ever seen. All the pictures were stunning, and the way they flowed together to illustrate the game was a work of art.
JOHN B. CAGLE
Congratulations on a fantastic issue. Peter Read Miller's POINT AFTER photograph of Alvin Harper "dunking" the football expressed the joy that Dallas Cowboy fans across the country felt on that glorious day.
Excuse me, but did I see Dr. Z pumping gas in Orchard Park, N.Y.?
Eight articles on a game that had a final score of 52-17? I know it was the Super Bowl, but most people I know turned it off at halftime, and you guys devoted a whole issue to it? Your only other coverage that week was a couple of pages on women's basketball and a REPORTER-AT-LARGE about an ice skating marathon in Finland. And POINT AFTER, usually one of your best features, was a complete cop-out, consisting of a Super Bowl photograph. It seems to me that you decided to phone it in that week. Your loyal readers deserved better.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Where were all the great Super Bowl photos? The issue had a nice cover and one good shot of the pivotal Thurman Thomas fumble. The rest of the magazine was a lackluster collection of bad angles and/or poor focus. Boooo!
JOEY D. WILSON
Before a weekend or professional athlete plunks down $1,200 for vision exercises (Focus, Jan. 25), he or she should realize that the exercises have not been shown to improve athletic performance. Athletes give testimonials claiming that everything from breakfast cereals to sneakers improve performance, but such claims can be substantiated only by controlled studies. Adequate controlled studies that correlate vision exercises with improved athletic performance have not yet been done.
Visual functions such as dynamic vision, peripheral awareness and visual concentration are important, but visual skills are closely linked to motor memory. You can practice hitting tennis balls all day and not necessarily improve your ability to hit a baseball. Similarly, the visual skills learned in a practitioner's office will help an athlete perform better on tests done in the office, but it is far from certain that those skills will help on the ball field.
Until the needed studies are done, if I had $1,200 to spend and wanted to check my vision, I would go to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist who did not make a living by selling sports exercises. I would then take the $1,100 or so I had left over and spend it on the best coach I could find.
PAUL F. VINGER, M.D.
Director, Vision Performance and Safety Service
Tufts University School of Medicine
The Worst of the Worst
In your article about the Dallas Mavericks (How Bad Can You Be? Jan. 18), you say the alltime worst team in baseball was the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, who finished 36-117 for a winning percentage of .235. In fact, the distinction belongs to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, now the Indians, who went 20-134 for a percentage of .130. I know the disclaimer in such instances is for the writer to say he was referring to baseball's modern era. If that was the case, it should have been so noted. You labeled your list Alltime Worst Teams.
Richard Hoffer's story Field of Schemes (Jan. 18) brought back bittersweet memories of the homeland I chose to leave because of its pervasive, almost institutionalized corruption, cheating and deceit. I watched the Zamboanga team from the Philippines defeat Long Beach on the diamond. I felt proud of these boys because I was aware of the odds they had to overcome to get there. But when I heard that they had to forfeit their Little League World Series title, I was not a bit surprised.