THE DELEGATE FROM THE U.S.
In your last issue (SI, Dec. 20) I found, among other things, a very good article on skiing by Roland Palmedo. Unfortunately, there is too much truth to his observations about U.S. ski diplomacy on the international level. It is, however, not generally known that the National Ski Association of America (NSA) is a deficit operation with a ridiculously low budget. The NSA is not financially independent, so the seven divisions of the NSA have to contribute to the operation of the NSA. Thus being unable to pay the expenses of its delegates to the FIS World Congress, the NSA had to call on people who could afford to pay their own way even though they may not have been the most qualified representatives.
Our new and current ski administration, with Albert Sigal of California at the head, is trying to put the NSA back on its feet and to secure better support among all skiers. In one of your issues you estimated that there are approximately three million skiers in the U.S., and of them only about 55,000 are affiliated with the NSA.
Recently, at a board of directors meeting of the NSA at Colorado Springs (all directors went there at no expense to the NSA), I was appointed as one of three delegates to represent the National Ski Association of America to the FIS World Congress in Switzerland this year. It will be necessary for me to raise at least half of the cost of such a trip, and I am certain I will. Mr. Palmedo brought out the fact that most past delegates have been unable to speak any other language but their own. Fortunately, I can speak Norwegian fluently, can converse with Swedes, have studied German eight years, plus having been subject to German occupation for five years, but my two years studies of French could not keep me from speaking with gestures rather than sounds. Competitively and administratively I have been connected with skiing for 20 years (I'm now pushing 29) and have skied much in Norway and throughout the U.S.
It is my desire to become completely familiar with past actions of the FIS, and to attend these meetings in Switzerland with the purpose in mind to work for better relations between the nations, for better skiing and facilities in the U.S. and all other countries, for better and more uniform understanding of the amateur code, and to attempt to restore other countries' confidence in the United States as an important skiing nation.
GUSTAV F. RAAUM
January 10, 1955
FOR LOVE, NOT MONEY
Mr. Roland Palmedo, whose great contributions to skiing have long been recognized throughout North America, states (SI, Dec. 20), "The FIS, unfortunately, holds the paradoxical rule that a professional ski instructor is a competitive amateur."
Why not, Mr. Palmedo?
Ski races have no prize money. All racers ski for the excitement of competing and the honor of winning. If he races, the ski instructor usually loses income. His season is short. The time used for training, traveling and racing is nonproductive. If hurt, the rest of the season is lost. The instructor races because he loves to race.
Teaching skiing is not advantageous to a racer. The average pupil is a beginner or an intermediate; this means slow skiing. No help when he has to pour himself over a tough downhill course at 60 mph.
The FIS title, World's Champion, should be held by the best ski racer in the world. This might not be true if Mr. Palmedo had his theories put into practice.
On this continent, the Harriman Cup at Sun Valley and the Ryan Cup at Mont Tremblant seem to many to have become more important than their respective national championships. Both these races award the cup to the racer with the best time, regardless of classification. Yet, last year both races were won by amateurs.
Ski racing requires clear, decisive thinking. It deserves the same type of thinking from its representatives on the international ski councils.
Congratulations to SI for its excellent job covering the wonderful white world of skiing.
WADE HAMPTON IV
President, Canadian Ski
Mont Tremblant, Canada
SI HIT A LOW WITH US WHEN HERMAN PICKED US TO GET LICKED FOUR WEEKS IN A ROW. HOWEVER AS HIS JUDGMENT IMPROVED OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD YOUR MAGAZINE CHANGED. NINE YEAR OLD STEVE PARTICULARLY ENJOYED YOUR ARTICLE ON OLD PISTOLS AND MY WIFE ANN LIKES THE FOOTBALL COVERAGE. YOURS IS A GREAT CHALLENGE IN A FIELD IN WHICH SOME WHOLESOME REPORTING CAN DO MUCH FOR AMATEUR SPORTS. I HOPE YOUR MAGAZINE WILL ANSWER THIS CHALLENGE.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
•But Herman picked. Ohio in the Rose Bowl.—ED.
SOMEDAY THEY WILL
My sister, Mary Beth Hellman, coached by Charles (Spud) Abbott, learned to swim when she was six years old. She is now eight and has been swimming in competition for one and a half years. She is in the same age group as Debby Lee (SI, Dec. 6). My sister has beaten Debby twice, the only times she swam against her. Mary has won her team letter and a star for being loyal to the Peninsula Club Team. In her one and a half years of swimming she has won seven first-place ribbons, three first-place medals, and in her first half year she won three others. To top it off she won two cups for being the best "eight years old and under" swimmer on our swimming team. And she went through eight straight dual meets undefeated. In the championship meet my sister placed first to Debby Lee's third.
Anyhow, none of these meets are very important. We live very close to Palo Alto and nobody around here ever heard of Debby Lee except us because my sister beat her. Nobody ever heard of my sister either, but maybe someday they will. Why don't you put my sister's picture in your magazine, like you did for Debby. We took it right after we saw Debby's picture.
San Mateo, Cal.
•Fine, here it is.—ED.
NEW GAME, OLD MASTER
H. Allen Smith's most interesting article on the Lenz-Culbertson match of 1931 certainly brings back memories.
In particular I liked being referred to as a young man with black hair. Today I am white-haired and 52.
However, there is a young Jacoby now playing. My 21-year-old son, Private James O. Jacoby, U.S.A., became the youngest life master in the country when he and I finished second in the men's team at the recent National Championships in Atlanta.
Of the contestants in the Lenz-Culbertson match, I am the only one who is still active in bridge circles and I have no expectation of quitting in the near future. The game is too much fun, and continues to be the world's number-one card game in spite of occasional challenges from other games.
Incidentally, a new challenge is about to take place. The game of Calypso (see below), which is an import from England, is commencing to be played in various places. This new game which, while primarily of the bridge family, does introduce some of the ideas of canasta, has a great deal to it, and I imagine many of your readers will be trying it out in the near future.
•When Mary McHale Jacoby announced her engagement to Oswald Jacoby, a "bridge expert," her friends at first were pleased over the addition of an engineer to the family, somewhat alarmed when she explained Jacoby made his living from the card game.
They need not have worried. Oswald Jacoby was an intellectual prodigy who played auction bridge at six, entered Columbia University at 15 and at 21 became the youngest certified actuary in the country. The '29 depression prodded Jacoby, who had retired young, to combine his considerable mathematical ability, excellent memory and love for cards into a profession. Since then he has been ranked as one of the top bridge players each year and has made a great deal of money lecturing and writing on the game. It was Jacoby who skimmed the cream off the amazing postwar canasta boom that put two jokers into several million packs of cards. He hopes to repeat with Calypso, announced by its English developers as the first really "original" game of the century. In Calypso, four players are dealt 13 cards in each of four deals from a four-pack deck. Each player draws for his own individual trump suit which remains constant for the deal. The object is to take tricks, which are placed face up on the table, and from these to build an ace-high sequence in trumps called Calypso.—ED.
Having just read your November Song in SI, I cannot resist writing to tell you how much I enjoyed it. The college reunion—the old grads singing—hit me in the right spot, especially my sense of humor.
But above all, Public School No. 3 because I know it so well. I had to migrate from Englewood, N.J. to find me a wife in Brooklyn. The family, Dr. Andrew Lawrence, lived on Jefferson near Marcy, one block from Hancock. And when my wife, then Eleanor Lawrence, received her first assignment as a substitute teacher it was at—No. 3! She stood 5 feet and scaled 97 lbs. and was given the toughest class, most of the boys taller than she. At the end of a week the principal congratulated her: "You lasted a whole week—a record—the others generally last one day!"
Since then we have raised 11 children, so perhaps the experience was valuable.
PAUL D. MURPHY
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
•We raise our voice again to P.S. 3.—ED.
I love MATCHWIT and hope you will have more of them.
Fort Thomas, Ky.
•We will try for one a month.—ED.
THERE IT IS
I appreciate your editorial approach to the under-teen-agers, who, like my eight-to ten-year-olds, pore over each issue, beg for new copies two to three days before mail-arrival time, and who are wowed by the impact of the sports panorama you present. And now, not at all least, please, for my kids' sake, could you direct the new MATCHWIT to their level. I'm for them! And we're for you. So, there it is.
A. D. KREMS, Ph.D.
FROM RIGHT TO LEFT...
In the Dec. 20 issue I was greatly perturbed by your MATCHWIT puzzle. I tried to work the puzzle with a friend of mine but found that it was next to impossible due to the fact that I am one of those awkward writing left-handers. One of these days make a MATCHWIT puzzle for us lefthanders so that we can stop worrying about getting part of words written over the top of our hands by our right-handed opponent.
I hope you will continue to put out as excellent a magazine as you have in the past.
JOHN DE HOOG JR.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Re: MATCHWIT. I'm left-handed. My partner is right-handed. Now what?
LARRY T. SHAW
•Our man Ajay offers a solution.—ED.
OLYMPICS: COX PLAN (CONT'D)
Read with great interest the letter on Olympic training sent in by William D. Cox of Salt Lake City. Had the pleasure of chatting with Bill at the annual meeting of the Amateur Athletic Union held last month at Miami Beach.
With the great Russian athletes making such tremendous strides in track and field and other European stars beginning to monopolize records formerly held by Americans, such a plan as outlined by Bill Cox might be the answer to our problem. A big surprise to followers of track and field sport in the U.S.A. (who customarily lead the world in practically all of the running events) is that we have but one man in a running event who is considered a world leader. Track News rates Charley Thomas of Texas as the world's number-one sprinter with a mark of 20.5 for the 220-yard dash. If we wish to dominate the track and field sport in the 1956 Olympic Games something radical must be done.
JAMES A. LEE
U.S.A. Olympic Committee
YOU WILL DESTROY THE SPIRIT
I think that the emphasis that is being placed on winning the 1956 Olympics is extremely unfortunate, since it will destroy the spirit of the modern Olympiads. The effect of this emphasis is to fix the spotlight of attention on a duel between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., and I am afraid that if this overemphasis is maintained until the games take place, a "defeat" of the U.S. will be looked upon by your American people as a defeat of the American way of life. This is particularly unfortunate....
With the vast strides which are being made in improved performances in athletic activity it seems only reasonable that the standard of ability that can be attained by an athlete in his undergraduate years will not be sufficient to carry U.S. colors to victory in future international competitions. It will be necessary to develop intensive programs to keep these athletes interested in postgraduate competition. While the standard of the American college athlete has been steadily progressing, no one would seriously suggest that the majority of athletes reach their maximum peak at the age of 21 or 22, except in certain events.... These are the lessons to be learned from the rise not only of the Iron Curtain athletes but also from the tremendous strides which have been made by athletes from the British Commonwealth....
FREDERICK N. A. ROWELL
I just noticed the colorful picture sequence of the mongoose and the cobra. There is a film sequence of the action you depicted and it is shown at the first practice session for the University of Kansas basketball team each year.
It was from the repeated showings of that film that Dr. Forrest C. (Phog) Allen developed his pressing defense which he has used so effectively in recent years. It was largely through this defense that the 1952-53 team reached the finals of the NCAA where they bowed to Indiana by one point. The mongoose film is used to show the coordination it takes to play the game of basketball and Phog has used it for a long time.
J. EDWARD TAYLOR JR.
•Dr. Allen succeeded Inventor Naismith at Kansas in '08, has since won 750 games.—ED.
Your current issue has just arrived. I have never seen anything so interesting as the fight between the King Cobra and the mongoose and, therefore, cannot resist writing you to congratulate you.
It is, in fact, astonishing and I am going to have a lot of fun showing it to my kids.
RICHARD E. BYRD
•Thanks to Explorer Byrd who has seen many an interesting sight.—ED.
NEVER OVER THE HILL
Although we are original subscribers at our house, I have resisted writing down my thoughts about the magazine, or should I say one aspect of it, until now. I hope SI conveys to others what it conveys to me, and yet I'm afraid this is impossible unless a person has had a deep, lifelong interest in sports and what they stand for.
Your phrase, "The Wonderful World of Sport," is to me the finest possible description of your magazine. It catches the eye, it conveys so many things, and it can be interpreted in so many ways that I can no longer resist telling you what it means to me.
I recall—when I was 11, I believe it was—that my Dad got me and my older brother out of bed at 4 o'clock in the morning. We put on four pairs of socks, heavy underwear, at least two shirts, a couple of sweaters and coveralls, plus a stocking cap. We poured scalding hot water on the manifold and cranked up the old Ford for a 12-mile ride to a little slough where we knew the mallards would be feeding.
The wonderful world of sport means getting up before daylight in the little town I lived in, and hurrying down to the tennis courts, and sitting on the court until daylight to be sure we'd have a court to play on. It means a basket in the backyard where all the neighborhood kids came before and after school and all day Saturday and Sunday. It means a box of magazines in the basement where we could shoot the rifle; a set of horseshoe stakes. It means football—first touch, then tackle, and then touch again. It means running around the track, or pole-vaulting with a broken javelin shaft when I weighed 60 pounds. It means sports idols, band music, cheering crowds, walking miles to play.
Then it means coaching in junior high, high school and college. It means officiating. It has its heartaches and its tense moments, but always its rewards. It means growing up, developing, maturing. It means what this country stands for, an opportunity, a way of life, something worth fighting for. It means an appreciation of skill developed to the ultimate degree of grace, ease, perfection, poise and confidence.
Of those things that make this country so great, certainly one is the freedom that is inherent in sports, the opportunity for all to compete, the recognition of anyone who has the ability, a wonderful way for youth and adults to spend their leisure hours. It can only happen in a country that stands for fair play, that provides the opportunity for all, that believes in its youth as its future leaders.
This is written by someone who never achieved more than a little local recognition in any of the many sports he participated in, who tried his hand at coaching, at officiating and always at encouraging youth to do better and keep trying. Some people would say people my age are over the hill, even though we still compete in golf, tennis, bowling, fishing, hunting and other sports. But a true sportsman is never over the hill if he really believes in what you so rightfully call "The Wonderful World of Sport." It is truly just that—a wonderful world of sport.
MERLE F. OGLE
LETTER FROM A WIFE
Before getting down to the main idea, I want to tell you that in our busy life my husband and I have time for only two magazines. These are SI and TIME. Before SI, we took another magazine, but had to drop that when SI came out. Naturally, we think it's wonderful!
I noticed the picture of the tennis players' wives. I have seen pictures of football players' wives, basketball players' wives, coaches' wives, even minor league owners' wives. But I've never seen one mention about the wife who suffers the most on the sporting scene—the sportswriter's wife. This is understandable, since such articles are written by sportswriters and men never give their own wives credit for anything!
My husband, Lee, is the sports editor of the Alton Evening Telegraph, circulation 29,000. For two years I've been a sports-writer's wife, hence I know of what I speak. Lee has the impossible job covering two colleges, five major high schools, 12 smaller high schools and three junior highs, with only the help of high school correspondents.
Unlike all the other wives mentioned, this wife never has a break any time from sports. The pressure is on her husband all year long. There is no season of the year that she can count on seeing her husband for any length of time, or having dinner on time. Her life is one mad whirl from football to basketball to baseball to softball, not to mention track, cross country and bowling. If the wife is quite fond of her husband she will take up following him to games, just so she won't forget what he looks like. Her entire conversation for the day will often consist in a few words while traveling from home to gym. He is off for work at seven in the morning, gets home at night just in time to eat and leave for a game, and then goes to the office to write after the game. Naturally, there's no conversation at dinner because that's his only time to read SI.
Perhaps you feel the sportswriter's wife doesn't watch the game in anxiety like participating players' wives. But that isn't so. Her ears constantly burn from all the things she hears people say about her own true love. She watches in anxious worry as the verbal attacks on her husband get stronger and stronger. Sometimes she verbally attacks the attackers, in defense of her husband. But mostly she just prays. However, I have seen my husband attacked by a three-year-old child, whose father told him to "always hate that man."
Then, too, everyone she meets has something to say about her husband. People look shocked and say, "You married him?" And there are the letters, the 2:30 a.m. phone calls (Who won the Slippery Rock-Fort Hays State game?), the fun of finding your car with flat tires, and we've even been stoned by some fine kids.
Why would a wife put up with this kind of life? The only answer is that she's nuts about a guy who's nuts about this wonderful world of sport!
YOUR ISSUE (SI, JAN. 3) PRESENTS IN STRIKING MANNER THE EXTENT TO WHICH EUROPEAN SKI BOOTS NOW DOMINATE AMERICAN SKI SLOPES. THIS DOMINATION IS SOMEWHAT EXAGGERATED BY THE FACT THAT THE BASS SKI BOOT SHOWN THERE IS LABELED AS "SWISS-MADE."
G. H. BASS AND COMPANY HAVE BEEN MAKING SKI BOOTS FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. ALL OF OUR BOOTS ARE MADE IN OUR FACTORY AND CARRY OUR LABEL. OUR LINE NOW CONTAINS STYLES FOR DOWNHILL, JUMP, AND CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING. WE BELIEVE WE ARE THE ONLY AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS NOW MAKING A COMPLETE LINE OF SKI BOOTS.
IN SPITE OF THE INFLUX OF EUROPEAN BOOTS SINCE THE WAR, WE STILL FEEL THAT THERE IS ROOM ON AMERICAN SLOPES FOR AN AMERICAN-MADE BOOT ESPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN FEET AND AMERICAN CONDITIONS. WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO SUPPLY AMERICAN SKIERS WITH THAT TYPE OF BOOT.
W. S. BASS,
G. H. BASS & COMPANY
•Our apologies to Mr. Bass and his fine boot.—ED.