ALWAYS READY WITH A DIVE
Congratulations on the wrestling spread (SI, April 11). As one who knows this entertainment like the back of his hand I learned long ago the futility of disillusioning the wrestling fan. If you tell him the truth he either thinks you are not quite bright, or are just plain spiteful.
I still enjoy the tin ears, if for no other reason than to see what they'll think up next. They are marvelous athletes. They train very casually, if at all, work hard and often and are always ready to dive out on the concrete on their heads. Those cauliflowers are real. I like to hear a fan say, "Yes, I know most of them are fixed but I saw one Monday night I KNOW was on the level." He saw no such thing, of course. What he saw was two good performers, the kind who could take a sack of meal into the ring and put on a convincing show.
Some while ago a match in Dallas was really something. The gimmick was a two-by-four left "thoughtlessly" by a carpenter on the apron of the ring. At the height of the festivities the villain was to hop through the ropes, pick up the two-by-four, and break it over his rival's head. The weapon was to have been almost sawed in two. Everything went according to schedule except that the board didn't break as expected. "Guess he didn't saw it quite far enough," said the villain, striking a harder blow. Well, he had the poor guy's scalp open, with blood streaming down his face, before he discovered the carpenter had forgotten to saw it at all.
To wrestling's credit: I never heard of a dime being bet on it.
April 24, 1955
Keep going with SI.
G. V. BURKE
THEY'RE ON THE UP-AND-UP
I very much enjoyed your pictures about professional wrestling, but it seems to me that the words made it sound like the matches are faked. This is an impression which many of my friends who have seen it only on TV also have. I attend all the matches held here in Harrisburg and for that reason can say that most of them are on the up-and-up. You can't tell me that such holds as the full nelson, drop kick and fore arm blows don't hurt. Of course some of those wrestlers deserve to be hurt since so many of the referees are blind just as you said; maybe you could kick up an investigation on some parts of wrestling just like you did in boxing.
I AM SATISFIED
After reading front to back the April 11 COLOR SPECTACLE on professional wrestling, I will finally keep my big mouth shut...for at long last I am satisfied and SI can now go on its merry sport-go-round.
Truly I enjoyed the April 11 issue more than words can convey: to sum the whole thing up in a very few well-contented words—I'm like the old dog who after a good hunt and a well-filled stomach, just wants to go lay down somewhere and snooze.
Best wishes always and anxiously awaiting future issues.
ERNEST E. VONKLEECK
...I must admit that those lovable villains were far more entertaining in SI than they could ever hope to be on TV.
Ridley Park, Pa.
You have had your fun and have done your duty with your article on wrestling. Now let's get back to SPORTS and leave the grunt and groan boys and their antics to the entertainment media.
H. C. EVANS
Rx FOR TRICK KNEES
In regard to your very excellent article, Trick Knee by William H. White (SI, April 11): I was wondering if perhaps Mr. White had a schedule of exercises, such as lifting the weights by the foot and others? I'm very interested in this problem as a chronic trick-kneer and physical education major at Brockport State Teachers College (home of New York State's best soccer team).
I would appreciate any information you can give me on some prescribed exercises.
•Check your doctor first. If he agrees you have a trick knee try these exercises: Lying on your back, tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh. After a few seconds of steady tension, slowly raise your leg about 6 inches off the floor and lower slowly. Build up slowly to where you can do this 20 times several times a day. Also try running in place, alternating with full knee bends. Another suggestion: stand with your back to a heavy bed or table whose top is about 2 feet from the ground. Try lifting the object with the heel of the affected leg, keeping your trunk and head straight.—ED.
THOSE SMART CROWS
Last week's EVENTS & DISCOVERIES story on crow catching was interesting, but—was it my imagination?—it seemed that the writer was not convinced those crows were as smart as he'd been told they were. Which is why I want to write this note.
I was alone late one afternoon, on a golf course where there are extensive woods around the western section. The clubhouse is a mile away, in the northeast corner of the course.
The constant cawing of a hundred large crows was the only sound in an otherwise windless, deserted countryside. A lone golfer disturbed them not a bit, and a few were likely to gather close to inspect my progress. Suddenly one cawing sounded above the rest, and conversation ceased. Almost silently they took off, certainly leisurely, to the west, through the woods, out to a corn field farther west.
Not being a crow student, I paid no attention. About two minutes later a Cadillac drove up. Out stepped a hopeful man with a shotgun.
K. L. DUGAN
STRIKE OR SPLIT?
The results of my perfect delivery before some 60 amazed bowlers in a recent league bowling match were as follows:
1) A strike on the score sheet.
2) A split ball.
...Up until now I have not found anything in particularly bad taste in SI, but by golly, when you print a picture on the cover (SI, April 11) in full color, of a white woman embracing a negro (with a small letter) man, you make it evident that even in a magazine supposedly devoted to healthful and innocent sports you have to engage in South-baiting....
I care nothing about those three people as individuals, but I care a heck of a lot about the proof the picture gives that SI is part of the giant plan to flaunt all decency, so long as the conquered of 1865 can be reminded of their eternal defeat. This is the kind of sporting instinct SI has!...
F. M. ODOM
LET ME SAY, SIR
...To tell you that I was shocked at SI's cover would be putting it mildly....The informative note inside the magazine tells me that this is Mrs. Leo Durocher, a white woman, with her arm affectionately around the neck of Willie Mays, a Negro ballplayer....
Let me say to you, Sir, the most appalling blow ever struck at this country, the most disastrous thing that ever happened to the people of America, was the recent decision of the Supreme Court declaring segregation unconstitutional....
EDWARD F. WEBB
Please cancel my subscription to SI immediately....This is an insult to every decent white woman everywhere....
T. B. KELSO
Fort Worth, Texas
...Such disgusting racial propaganda is not fit for people who are trying to build a stronger nation based on racial integrity.
A. C. DUNN
In regard to your April 11 cover, it is the best yet.
ALBERT L. TABORN
SO I SENT HIM A TELEGRAM
On March 5 I sent the following telegram, quote:
HON. GOODWIN J. KNIGHT, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA, SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU SIR FROM A NON-PROFESSIONAL SPORTSMAN SPORTS FAN ON YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT TO INVESTIGATE GANGSTERISM IN BOXING. SI HAS STATED THAT CARBO OWNS PART OF MARCIANO. THIS MONTH'S BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE STATES THE SAME. GEORGE BARTON, SPORTS EDITOR MINNEAPOLIS WRITES QUOTE—IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT CALIFORNIA DOES ABOUT THE MARCI-ANO-COCKELL FIGHT UNQUOTE. ANOTHER SPORTS EDITOR STATED IT SHOULD BE HELD ON A BARGE IN MID PACIFIC. I READ IN CHICAGO WHERE THEY DIDN'T WANT THE FIGHT, LAS VEGAS TURNED IT DOWN AND THE NEW BOXING COMMISSION OF NEW YORK SCARED THEM OUT. WILL YOU AND YOUR COMMISSION ASK MR. WEILL TO CLEAR HIMSELF OF HIS TWENTY YEARS OF ASSOCIATION WITH CARBO BEFORE CALIFORNIA SANCTIONS A MARCIANO-COCKELL FIGHT. YOUR GREAT STATE CAN MAKE THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE SPORT OF BOXING IN THE PAST TWENTY YEARS BY DOING SO.
Keep up the good work of bringing such items as Rough Justice to the attention of your readers for I am sure that one day they will have proper effect in the right place at the right time.
ROBERT A. REESE
GET DOWN AND DO SOMETHING
Every once in a while you come across a piece of writing that seems to slug you over the head and stirs you into action. You've got to sit right down and do something about it....
It isn't only the writing that gets you—but the soundness and desperate need of the idea which the author presents.
This is the way I felt recently when I read the SI article by my old friend Budd Schulberg—in which he makes a plea for the creation of a much-needed home or hospital to take care of the ill, destitute and unfortunate ex-gladiators of the ring (SI, Feb. 28).
True, the sports world is loaded with misery and pathetic stories, but speaking as an oldtime fighting guy, in my opinion there is no sadder nor more pathetic picture than the unfortunate and broken-down has-been who is mentally, physically and financially unable to take care of himself....
The fight game is one of the few sports that has failed to establish—on a national basis—an actual channel through which its former and needy performers can seek aid.
Schulberg's idea for a hospital or destitute ring vet's home is not new, of course. Others have pointed out the need in the past. But Budd's idea—as far as I know—of setting aside one day a year in which the funds of all boxing shows, nationally, would go toward this end, is imaginative and inspiring.
Because of Schulberg's great suggestion and plea, I have tried to do my little bit to help the cause along. I have contacted Norman Lockwood, head of the California branch of the International Boxing Managers Guild and suggested that Lockwood contact his organization's heads and propose that a fraction of 1% of the purse earned by each fighter piloted by IBG managers should be turned over to a nationally known businessman (perhaps appointed by President Eisenhower), to hold and build into a fund from which a sorely needed ring vet's home and hospital could be created.
This is only a starting point and much, much more needs to be done, I know. Nevertheless, with an ambitious start and the right kind of pushing by the fight game and its followers, I know Budd Schulberg's dream and suggestion can easily become an actuality....
FIDEL LA BARBA
Santa Monica, Calif.
•Fidel La Barba is the only world champion fighter who ever retired to go to college. La Barba, then 18 years old, won the 1924 Olympic Flyweight championship, then turned pro and outpointed Frankie Genaro to become world champion. In 1927 he entered Leland Stanford, later was hired by Darryl Zanuck as junior writer and sparring partner (see cut).—ED.
The April 11 issue of SI is to my way of thinking the best issue thus far. Perhaps it is a personal reaction, but you seem to have (at least for me) hit on a photographic and makeup format that is most interesting.
I guess I particularly liked the candid camera work because it made me feel that I was actually on the scene in the Seminole Golf Club locker room at the Amateur-Professional Tournament. The shots of the handball player's wife watching him lose personalized the story of the Los Angeles handball championship contest and I really was enchanted with your text and photographs of Man Alone.
BOOSTER, BELIEVER AND ADMIRER
As an avid booster of Miami's football fortunes, as a great believer in the ability of Andy Gustafson and as a wide-scope admirer of Herman Hickman, I very much appreciate the article which appeared in your April 11 issue of SI discussing the possibilities and future of University of Miami's team.
It was obvious that they had the greatest team in the South if not in the nation last year, and if Andy will go so far as to admit that "this year's squad is the best I have ever had," look out, Notre Dame!
United States Senate
Many thanks for the amusing bird-watching story (SI, March 21) about Roger Tory Peterson. I thought the yarn a very pleasant and entertaining bit of satire, and I have forwarded two copies to my sons, both of whom are "fellow Harvard men."
R. C. MURPHY
Lamont Curator of Birds
The American Museum of Natural History
A SPARROW FROM A PEACOCK?
Your golf coverage by Herbert Warren Wind is great as was the preview of the Masters. The photograph of Ben Hogan on the cover was beautiful.
This may shock you (you aren't used to criticism). Oh, that article by Gerald Holland, Boston Bird Watcher Walks With His Hero, was simply hilarious. Mr. Holland, who probably doesn't know a sparrow from a peacock (not that that is a sin), writes in a cocky, sarcastic way about something he doesn't know anything about. Excuse me if I am wrong. This ridicule has no place in SI. Bird watching is a fascinating hobby. How about a good article on it? If you want to be humorous get Parke Cummings. Let Holland stick to such articles as The Golden Age Is Now. They are excellent.
•You're excused. Our Mr. Holland has always treasured the knowledge that the sparrow is a plain, dun-colored or brown-streaked bird (with an occasional unusual marking such as the yellow eyespot of Macgillivray's seaside sparrow) whose beak is well adapted to cracking seed and whose voice, either a low chip-burr or a few short nasal phrases, sounds like a robin with a cold (to use Peterson's apt phrase), whereas the peacock (Pavo cristatus), native to India and Ceylon only, and though once much esteemed for the table, is treasured today in many aviaries and private parks all over the world for its long tail-coverts (with "eyes" at their distal ends), which the male spreads accompanied by shivering and rattling of the quills. He estimates that a normal peacock is about 50 times bigger than the average sparrow.—ED.
THAT DAY 35 YEARS AGO
April 11 YESTERDAY 26 Innings to a Tie was indeed interesting as well as informative. Joe Oeschger who pitched for the Braves that day 35 years ago is now a physical education instructor at Portola Junior High School and continues to teach the rising generation football, soccer and, above all, baseball. SI should be commended on a swell article on a swell guy.
SI'S INCENTIVE PLAN
Whenever you omit the MATCHWIT PUZZLE the production in our office decreases alarmingly! You see, the puzzles acted as an incentive system, and we were finding that our employees were completing the usual eight hours work in approximately five hours, thereby enabling them to devote the remaining three hours to working your puzzle.
Also, when we formerly observed an employee staring blankly off into space, it was no cause for concern, since we knew that an idea was generating and soon a missing word would be added to the puzzle. We are still noting the blank stares, but now we are at a loss to account for them.
Won't you please put our business back on a profitable and sane basis by publishing these puzzles regularly?
JAMES S. SMITH
Smith and Rogers Co.
Huntington Park, Calif.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
What have you done to our small community? Instead of arriving at female gatherings with sewing, knitting, etc. in hand the women now arrive with the latest SI MATCHWIT PUZZLE. The local gossip is completely neglected and even what is new in THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SPORT is barely scanned.
Please continue with the MATCHWITS, but not too often, so that we may catch up with our "World of Today."
M. O. MACDONALD
Warwick Neck, R.I.
It was a real pleasure to see another MATCHWIT PUZZLE and we would like to take this opportunity of letting you know how very much we enjoyed working these unusual puzzles in the past. Ordinary crossword puzzles now seem dull after solving these unusual puzzles. They are very refreshing and stimulating—and we hope you will have them more often!
We find, however, that working them together, rather than each person alone, is more fun—and with two or three people pooling their knowledge the puzzles are easier to solve. We missed only two letters in the Feb. 7 puzzle.
We think even one of these letters that we had incorrect was a better solution than the one given. "It's never slow, too" (No. 47 across) is answered as "Fast One." However, something can be relatively fast and also be slow, too, at the same time. A 200 mph plane is a fast one yet grouped with the 300 and 400 mph planes is "slow too" in a race with the 600 mph plane. Whereas, the "last one" in anything relating to speed is never slow too, but is slowest. If two are slow, neither is the last one.
So we think we have improved the solution with "last one" instead of "fast one" because then "Scales have them" (No. 47 down) becomes "las."
We would like to see you print the answers in two weeks rather than a week later because it does take longer than one week to solve them. (Being able to work on them only a limited amount of time.)
Please continue the MATCHWITS!
VER. REV. MSGR.
J. B. STENGER, J.C.D.
JEERS TO CHEERS
They laughed when he stepped out on the dance floor—but their jeers soon changed to cheers.
Seems he had confused that diagram of shot-putting technique (19TH HOLE, April 11) with his correspondence course from Arthur Murray's—and now he's the sensation of the rhumba-samba-mambo circuit!
You just don't know your own strength.
•Shall we dance?—ED.
SOLUTION TO LAST WEEK'S