VILLAINS, VIPERS, LUST AND LOVE
Don Paul's brilliant rationale of football villainy (Pro Football Is Plenty Rough, SI, Nov. 28) is obviously one of the brightest new developments in gamesmanship, the science of how to win without actually cheating, created some years ago by England's Stephen Potter. The importance of Mr. Paul's contribution is that it is no mere theoretical speculation, but was actually synthesized in the field, apparently through years of plodding, dogged experimentation. Mr. Paul is a doer, not merely a thinker, like most of us gamesmen. Yet his conclusion that the safest approach to villainy is "to try to aggravate or intimidate the opponent to the point where he is giving only the minimum effort, but still slays in the game" is a brilliant theory. This "psychic decay" gambit will surely rank with Potter's own tennis ploy: "If you can't volley, wear purple socks." I am sure that among your many readers there are some who cannot see the difference between villains and vipers and that Mr. Paul will come in for some abuse on "sportsmanship." Theirs are the minds that also fail to see the beautifully fine line between a tax saving and tax evasion or between lust and love. We call these clods "sportsmanshippers," a far cry from true sportsmen.
New York City
WHAT AN EXAMPLE
Pro Football Is Plenty Rough was quite an article and those quoted present a very interesting commentary on the state of athletics in this country.
When one analyzes the thinking of these meat-and-bone Goliaths and witnesses the behavior of baseball players on questionable decisions in our ball parks, one naturally wonders whether the example set by these men is conducive to the good sportsmanship we expect from our young people.
WALTER J. ASH
Carle Place, N.Y.
I AM SORRY FOR HIM
Rough, clean play is admirable but deliberate dirty play is shameful and cowardly. Obviously Paul does not understand the meaning of sportsmanship and fair play, and I am sorry for him and particularly for his children.
New York City
December 12, 1955
NOT ONE BIT DIRTY?
I thought your article Pro Football Is Plenty Rough was very good and I agree on the rough stuff part, but I can't understand why Don Paul doesn't think he is one bit dirty. I think the Lions were perfectly justified in calling Don Paul the dirtiest player in football. As Don Paul stated, he can blame himself for the penalty near the end of the Rams-Lions game that gave Detroit a first down and later enabled them to win. But the way he talked he blames Bobby Layne, saying: "But when he saw the pass was going to miss, he suddenly remembered I had brushed him and he began Bumsteading all over the joint." I really wonder what Don Paul considers "brushing."
Although Charley Brickley was a little ahead of my time, I well remember his fame and it was very interesting to read about him in ANNIVERSARY (SI, Nov. 21). However, shouldn't it have been pointed out that Brickley was a specialist at the drop kick, an art which is dead or dying, whereas the field-goal kickers of today, even the pros, are placement kickers?
•Correct. Charles Brickley did drop-kick his field goals, a tricky play derived from Rugby. Since Brickley's day the ball has gradually become narrower and more pointed so as to aid the passing game. This "new" ball has made drop-kicking a lost art.—ED.
Here is my one dollar short snorter. Have been carrying this thing around for 10 years and four months. About time it went for a worthy cause—Olympic Fund and membership in Happy Knoll Club.
L. A. SCHULHOF
BOWL GAMES AND THE OLYMPIC FUND
The chances of me or any other individual without good connections obtaining tickets to one of the coming bowl games is very small. However, thanks to television, come game time my wife and I will be right on top of that ball from our living room 50-yard-line seats. With that hot Auburn-Vanderbilt go at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville December 31 and a choice early January 2 of either the Sugar or Cotton Bowl, topped off later in the day with that UCLA-Michigan State meet in the Rose Bowl, it sure promises to be a gala weekend.
So as not to go entirely for a free ride on this wonderful trio of games, enclosed is a check to the Olympic Fund for $6: a dollar apiece from each of us for the three games.
Mr. and Mrs. B. P. MOORA
•Our thanks to the Moora family for an ingenious pay-as-you-see television plan. For Happy Knoll's Olympic Fund this has been still another record week, so thanks also to George Allerton, Waterbury, Conn.; J. V. Shufelt, Athens, Ga.; Robert Jones, Cobleskill, N.Y.; C. E. Roll, Dayton; Edgar Lawrence, Avon-dale, Pa.; John Rice Jr., Boston; F. L. Etchison Jr., Monterey, Calif.; Rick Gale, Norman, Okla.; Gordon Seyfried, Boulder, Col.; John Cooley, Glenwood, Wash.; P. S. Logan, University, Ala.; Charles Pease, Detroit; Noel Gaerttner, Madrid, Spain; Albert Locker, Venice, Calif.; Mrs. Corson Castle, Lockport, N.Y.; Calvin Brown, New Haven, Conn.; Gilbert Ide, Memphis; S. Abbey, C. Bronfman, H. Holler, J. Robinson, H. H. Hoffer, Montreal; Sarah Collins, McKinney, Texas; C. C. Coker, Dallas; Helen Seng, Winnetka, Ill.; W. J. Grube, Delaware, Ohio; Sam Dickey, Springfield, Mo. and many anonymous contributors.—ED.
ST. LOUIS AND SOCCER
I wonder how you or anyone else could possibly get a cross-section opinion or view of soccer in the United States without consulting some of the rabid fans, to say nothing of the experts, in St. Louis. Naturally I am prejudiced, being a St. Louisan and having attended the old Christian Brothers College where the sport, in this part of the country, probably originated.
Soccer has been one of the principal sports and pastimes here for generations and if you will refer to the records, you can determine that some of the best soccer players this country ever produced were born and bred in St. Louis. Thousands of soccer fans patronized both the professional and amateur soccer games, notwithstanding the most inclement weather, every weekend.
Maybe you might remember such teams as the Scullin Steel, Benn Miller and others who, time and again, won the championship of the United States and before 10,000 or more people, which is a lot of folks for a soccer game in this country.
When you talk about West Point, the first soccer coach West Point ever had was Harry Ratican of St. Louis, a great athlete and soccer player who attended old Christian Brothers here.
My memory takes me back to when the great Pilgrim team of England played soccer here against an aggregation of all-stars, the series having been played in an old National League baseball park following a series between St. Louis and Boston.
I would hate to tell you what the scores were in favor of the Pilgrims but I will say that this was over 50 years ago, so you can see that we have been at it a long time.
R. J. MCDERMOTT
•Ah, those wonderful days—the St. Leo's, the Naval Reserves and the Innisfails, too. And along with the great Ratican don't forget such as Rube Potee, Hap Marre, Billy Quinn, Ribby Murphy, Duke Sheahan. Get Dent McSkimming of the Post Dispatch to name the rest.—ED.
PORTRAIT OF THE PROPRIETOR
The University of Eighth Avenue (SI, Dec. 5) is a witty and thorough description of Dr. Stillman's institution for ambitious boys, but I missed one thing: a picture of the patron himself. I have heard his name for years without ever seeing his likeness. What does Lou Stillman look like?
New Haven, Conn.
•See below for the great man himself.—ED.
TIGERS, TRUNCHEONS AND DOG TEAMS
In your article Tigers, Truncheons and Traditions (SI, Oct. 31) describing the annual Clemson-South Carolina U. football rivalry you quote Tex Enright, the South Carolina coach, as musing on the unusual date of this game and saying: "This game was here before I was. It belongs to the people of South Carolina, and if they want it played in Nome, Alaska on the 20th of December, I figure we'll play it."
Slush ice is forming in the Bering Sea and in a few weeks it will be frozen over. We, the people of Nome, will be isolated for the rest of the winter and will have nothing much to do, so would welcome South Carolina's traditional football game in Nome.
We extend to Coach Enright and Coach Howard and the people of South Carolina an invitation to come to Nome. We will have the white carpet (which will be snow) out and dog teams for transportation. We will be able to furnish fur parkas for the cheer leaders but will have to substitute Eskimo ice cream for hamburgers and hot dogs. For entertainment between halves there will be Eskimo blanket tossing and dancing. For mothers and children we can arrange for Santa and his reindeer to be there on the 20th of December.
BOYD C. HARWOOD
STARS AND SNIPES FOREVER
I find that King Cardenas' royal scorn for other racing classes (Charlie and the Boys, SI, Nov. 21) sticks in my plebeian craw. His assurance that Star boat sailors are the best in the world is convenient in that it leaves little doubt as to where he ranks himself. However, I see little to justify his implied claim to world superiority as a sailor.
Success in the Star class presupposes an initial investment of approximately $4,000, required to purchase a top-flight Star boat with all the trimmings. To a majority of sailors this is an excessive, if not a prohibitive, expense. Even within the class this expense actually limits the field, for of the 3,683 Star boats in existence, no more than 500 could be rated top-flight boats. The fact is that owners who cannot afford custom-built Stars, trailers, haul-out equipment and annually new sails race at a distinct disadvantage that has nothing to do with their sailing ability. Star boats have in effect priced themselves out of most of the competition, and any exclusiveness that results depends as much on bank accounts as on racing skill.
Thus, success in the Star class has only limited validity as an index of sailing skill, and no validity as a basis for claims of superiority over other classes. Should Champion Cardenas care to discover where he really stands he might try some races without the high-priced help of Kurush V. My suggestion would be that he step from the Stars down to earth and some peasant dinghies, where the emphasis is on the sailors and the boats are all the same.
•Carlos de Cardenas, who calls Star sailing "an intellectual sport," just took his second world title, with son Carlos Jr. crewing and son Jorge the runner-up. Paul H. Smart, president of the International Star Class Racing Assn., with his son Hilary, winner of the 1948 Olympic competition, believes Mr. Hoyt's charge that the Star boats have "priced themselves out of most of the competition" is unjust. Mr. Smart estimates the maximum cost of a top-flight Star to be $3,100 with sails, and championship-caliber boats, like Skip Etchells' Old Greenwich Star, may be ordered for $2,750 finished, or $995 unfinished. Finally, the number of Stars has just jumped from 3,683 to 3,701, the Soviet Union has registered 15 of them, built by the Shipyard of Sporting Shipbuilding of the All-Union Central Soviet of the Trade Unions of Leningrad.—ED.
THE WICHITA WIZARD
Occasionally featuring a profile of an outstanding champion of a small sailboat class is an excellent idea. However, while realizing that Mr. de Cardenas' opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of SI, we, along with 10,000 other Snipe enthusiasts, feel that we ought to defend the good name of Snipe. Contrary to the opinion of Mr. de Cardenas, the Snipe is not a kid's boat. To support our contention, we suggest that you tell your readers about the "Wichita Wizard," Snipe Champion Ted A. Wells.
1955 Snipe Fleet Champion
1954 Mich. State Snipe Class Champion
Grand Rapids, Mich.
•Theodore A. Wells, chief engineer of the Beech Aircraft Corporation, earned the title "Wichita Wizard" by winning numerous national and international Snipe championships. Twice the world champion Snipe sailor, Wells contributes his success to meticulous mean calculation, taking into account such minutiae as the wrinkles in his mainsail. Wells feels that Snipe competition is "much tougher" than Star boat racing because there are four times as many Snipe sailors and regattas. Furthermore, a Snipe skipper must survive regional and national competition before qualifying for the International, where each nation is allowed one boat. Wells's next important race will be the Mid-winter International Snipe Regatta at Clearwater, Florida early this March. "Competition," says Wells, "is the only thing that makes good sailors."—ED.
SQUARE DANCE IN FRAMMIS
To anyone who has danced, watched or listened, it should be self-evident that the calls of the square dance caller are a natural for Frammis (E & D, Nov. 28). This is especially true if one thinks back to one's early dancing days when one had to contend not only with the calls but also, possibly, with an unfamiliar caller. Annie Howe, heresy shirt simple offer cull, respectively dead eye Kated two Dean Edwards, Collar add oh Staid Squire Dunce Culler Chump:
Oil germ pup and winner comb dawn
Swink yore pot nurse roan danna roan.
All layman laugh widder lift with yore lift hen,
Rat tower pot nurse Anna rat an laugh gram.
Swink honor coroner lake swink ink honor gait,
Prom inn ade hate tell yore comb strayed.
W. B. CROUCH
Colorado Springs, Colo.
AN "AMERICAN" SPRINGER SPANIEL?
Undoubtedly each type of sports enthusiast thinks there is no sport like his own—but they are all wrong—all except the spaniel field trial enthusiasts, that is. Being such an enthusiast myself, I was delighted with the interesting and colorful report of this wonderful sport (Field Trials for Spaniels and People, SI, Nov. 14). My only concern, however, is that you may have misled many of your uninitiated readers into believing it is strictly a sport for the wealthy socialite and not for the man of limited means. This is certainly far from the truth, as evidenced by the membership of the Cincinnati English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, which runs the complete socio-economic gamut from Buck Wall, a 14-year-old farm boy, to David Ingalls, publisher of the Cincinnati Times-Star....
While many wealthy field trial enthusiasts own large kennels with expensive, imported dogs and professional handlers, a young dog with good breeding is within the reach of most anyone, requiring mainly the time taken to train him yourself. A little effort and a homemade pigeon trap planted at some stock or feed yard (where the proprietors are usually more than anxious to rid themselves of pigeons) will usually supply all the birds you need for training. Add to this a few enthusiastic scatter-gun friends to act as guns for you and you're in business.
Far be it for me to argue with Henry Davis, author of your field trial article and certainly one of the best-known and most respected spaniel men in the country, but I would like to point out that the imported English dogs have no monopoly on winning trials. The only reason they have been so successful is that the American breeders haven't had sufficient time or strength in numbers to really get started. However, even in the few short years these fine dogs have been worked in field trials in this country, the American-bred dogs have done remarkably well and developed many a fine champion. Given time and encouragement by articles such as yours, I can assure you the Englishmen will have a run for their money—as though they don't already.
Because springer spaniels are used in England to hunt rabbits as well as birds, the English dog has been bred down in size for close cover so that most imports do not completely conform to the breed. In the United States, where the springer is best for pheasants, we want a bigger, huskier dog with greater lung capacity and the stamina to go all day long. Most important, we want a taller dog who, when "hupped" at flush, can see above our usually high cover and "mark" the fall of the bird. Perhaps someday a larger, harder driving breed will be standardized and known as the "American" springer spaniel.
THE KIBITZER (CONT.)
In SI, Nov. 28 you printed a letter from a D. Billig of Merrick, L.I., in which she attempts to explain what the expression "kibitzer" means and where it comes from.
This lady obviously has been grossly misinformed. The word kibitzer does not come from Yiddish but from the German language.
It seems that there is a bird which inhabits the northern coast of Germany, called the Kiebitz, which lays its eggs in other birds' nests and stands aside and watches the other birds hatch its eggs. In other words, this bird is a watcher, which is just what a kibitzer is.
About a kibitzer being a schlemiel, this is also a wrong statement because a schlemiel is a stupid or clumsy fellow and not always a pest, and there are many nice schlemiels.
SYLVAN J. BENEDICT
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
•Although references to the Kiebitz's alleged cuckoo habits can be found in many an old volume on birds, it must have been a schlemiel who first claimed he actually saw one lay its eggs in another bird's nest. Actually, according to modern ornithologists, the Kiebitz (Vanellus vanellus), or lapwing, is a member of the plover family which builds its own nest on arable ground, hatches its own eggs and generally minds its own business. It is also known as the Kievit, pewit and peewee, all because of its unique, scolding two-note song.—ED.