THE PRESSURES OF FOOTBALL
The answers Jimmy Jemail got from his 11 football coaches on whether they would accept a coaching appointment to a de-emphasized college added up to one of the most interesting sidelights of this football season. Every one of the coaches polled said a hearty "yes," provided their opponents were de-emphasized also.
This year, in SI and elsewhere, football coaches have taken a shellacking for their supposed part in making big-time football even bigger to serve their own ends. I would very much like to see in SI next fall some careful digging into the origins of pressures exerted on coaches. I suspect that it is generated entirely by publicity-conscious university bosses (so few deserve to be called educators), and furthermore I suspect that the oft-quoted "fanatic fans" are also made to front for them.
J. S. SARGENT
UP BASEBALL'S LADDER
I was certainly most pleasantly surprised to read your comments about me in Robert Creamer's report on the recent minor league convention (SI, Dec. 19).
You asked a question: "How can men be attracted to baseball as a career?" I can only speak for myself, but it is my firm conviction that professional baseball is just exactly like any other business.
January 2, 1956
When I originally went into baseball with the Cardinal organization I left a college coaching and teaching job that was paying me more than my first baseball job offered. However, I was willing to take the chance because I felt that for me there would be room at the top if I could produce.
I have advanced steadily up the baseball ladder, although I have not obtained my ultimate goal—that of operating a major league club; however, I feel my advancement in baseball has been just as rapid as it would have been in any other field—probably more rapid.
I am eagerly looking forward to the brightest years baseball has ever known.
CREDIT FOR EXPERTNESS
In his Dec. 19th story on the Robinson-Olson fight Budd Schulberg makes the point that not a single sportswriter picked Robinson to win.
Gene Ward, a New York Daily News sports columnist, picked Robinson to win in his Dec. 9th story on the upcoming fight. In view of the quoted odds against Robinson, I consider that expert picking and would like to see Ward receive some credit for his expertness.
•What Budd Schulberg said was, "Not a single sportswriter or manager, as I wandered around at the weigh-in ceremonies, could see it any other way but Olson." But a Pat on the Back to Gene Ward, who gazed into his only slightly clouded crystal ball and wrote "...We are picking (Robinson) to win. It could be by a knockout, but the crystal ball brings forth another picture—that of Sugar building up a lead and clinging to it through the home-stretch rounds to emerge again as middleweight champ."—ED.
THE ONLY CONSIDERATION
Congratulations to Furman Bisher on his logical column (SI, Dec. 19). But, in my opinion, as long as the South feels hostile to the Negro, one cannot expect the barriers to be lowered on the playing fields. However, it is enlightening to read that the students at Georgia Tech were in favor of the Sugar Bowl jaunt. Since they are the citizens of tomorrow, maybe the Negro will get a fair shake both in athletics and in life.
Negroes have great athletic ability and in sports the only consideration should be a man's ability.
THE TRUE FEELINGS
...In my opinion, Furman Bisher, the sports editor of our morning paper, expressed the true feelings of Georgia sports followers regarding Governor Griffin's protest.
JASON C. HATCH
IN THE STADIUM AND OUTSIDE
The discussion of the Georgia Tech Sugar Bowl controversy in Mr. Bisher's column comes as a disappointment to this reader, who devours your excellent magazine each week with the expectation of finding spades called spades and uncompromising positions taken when the situation merits....
The unfortunate thing is that writers such as Mr. Bisher find this an elegant opportunity to haul out their southern sociology handy guides and discuss the question of civil and social rights in such 19th century quotations as "...certain unlegislated barriers between the white and colored races will always exist." You may have a point that you cannot legislate a man's pigmentation, but I suspect that there is a great deal more implicit in Mr. Bisher's "some of my best friends" point of view....
Even more frightening is the use of the area of sports by Mr. Bisher as one of the singular places where racial barriers are removed like prefabricated fences and quickly re-erected outside the stadium. Athletics do teach us what nonsense this segregation business basically is, but it is schizophrenic snobbery that reads: "Okay here, but not in the house," or, "Sure, I like 'em, but would you want your daughter to marry one?" and it makes me a little nauseated when released under the editorial eye of as fine a magazine as yours.
•Furman Bisher, the able sports editor of the Atlanta Constitution, dealt with the Griffin protest as it affected the world of sports. For SI's own opinion see Dec. 12th EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, "Gravy in the Sugar Bowl."—ED.
...Because people down here have enough sense to want segregation we are criticized even in a so-called sports magazine.... Why don't you lay off Georgia and the rest of the South?
HE SPEAKS FOR COUNTLESS OTHERS
Your December 19 COLUMN OF THE WEEK by Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Constitution was one of the finest things I've ever read anywhere.
Here is a man on a big newspaper in the deep South, speaking out fearlessly and saying things that a good many other folks from the South would like to say. I especially liked his lines that said, "I like to feel that there is a certain democracy in sports that is found in no other field." Also the paragraph that reads, "Certain unlegislated barriers between white and colored races will always exist. Common sense and social custom dictate these. In the field of team sports, however, there is no violation of these barriers."
Having lived in the deep South several years, I have a little understanding of the problems of that area. I'm sure that countless numbers share Furman Bisher's opinion that Governor Griffin and his politicians have made a serious mistake in their interference in this affair.
Salt Lake City
IT SEEMS TOO BAD
I just read Furman Bisher's column. I've always lived in the Middle West and I don't know much about this segregation business, but I sure thought he hit the nail on the head regarding the actions of Governor Griffin.
I have the feeling the 'Gator Bowl used the same reasoning in selecting Vanderbilt (7-3) over Miami of Ohio (9-0) since Miami had a couple of Negro boys on the squad. It just seems too bad that sports ability has to get mixed up with all of these other things.
Congratulations to Bisher on an excellent column.
DON E. ROSENTHAL
THE GLADIATORS OF ROME
Morton M. Hunt is to be congratulated on his fine, lucid article on Rome's notorious games of death (SI, Dec. 19). Though a civilized and highly cultured empire, Rome never recognized the dignity of man.
A sport which offers only death to the vanquished and a temporary respite to the victor is true barbarism. Rome, the conqueror of nations, was herself conquered by her own perversions. I offer you a few salient remarks from Johnston's The Private Life of the Romans (pages 272-3) on the final declension of the gladiatorial slaughters:
"As the number of the exhibitions increased, it became harder and harder to supply the gladiators demanded, for it must be remembered that there were exhibitions in many of the cities of the provinces and in the smaller towns of Italy as well as at Rome. In order to supply the increasing demand, thousands died miserably in the arena whom only the most glaring injustice could number in the classes mentioned above [slaves, captives]. In Cicero's time provincial governors were accused of sending unoffending provincials to be slaughtered in Rome and of forcing Roman citizens, obscure and friendless, of course, to fight in the provincial shows. Later, when the supply of real criminals had run short, it was common enough to send to the arena men sentenced for the pettiest offenses, and to trump up charges against the innocent for the same purpose. The persecution of the Christians was largely due to the demand for more gladiators. So, too, the distinction was lost between actual prisoners of war and peaceful noncombatants; after the fall of Jerusalem all Jews over 17 years of age were condemned by Titus to work in the mines or fight in the arena. Wars on the border were sometimes waged for the sole purpose of taking men who could be made gladiators; in default of men, women and children were sometimes made to fight."
(THE REV.) ALOYSIUS J. HANKINSON
This being All-America season I thought perhaps you would be interested in this page from Sports Illustrated and the American Golfer, vintage 1936 (see cut). It was a great little sports magazine, but lasted less than a year.
JOHN B. SWOPE
A COMPARISON OF ARTISTS
The pictures in THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SPORT are superb. Last week, for example, I was actually taken aback at the splendid picture of Bobo Olson, sprawled out on the middleweight-title canvas (SI, Dec. 19). The picture so exemplified the supreme moment of astonishment and defeat—so perfect in its coordination.
On looking farther in the magazine, I came upon the painting of The Gladiators, a very fine work about another phase of the moment of truth. And yet in comparing the two—the photograph snapped in a split second and the painting requiring exhaustive months, perhaps years, of work—I cannot decide which is the better.
The final stanza of The University of Eighth Avenue (SI, Dec. 12), like the first, hit me right where I live. Mr. Liebling's writing talent smacks of Damon Runyon, and his quotes of the fight trainers and managers prove him to be among the most assiduous of men in the search for the last word. In short, I got quite an education.
A. W. DE BAUN
PIERCE EGAN REBORN
Mr. A. J. Liebling is without question the most erudite and literate of modern boxing writers and is undoubtedly the present day Pierce Egan. I can think of no higher tribute.
More power to your magazine's battle for clean and legitimate boxing.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Your own special brand of boxed jargon (E & D, Dec. 26) and this Christmas season have forced me to this extreme:
Gin kill pals!
Gin kill pals!
Gin kill always fey.
Oh hot pundits slew wide,
Inner wondrous orchid lei.
Oyster Bay, N.Y.
FRAMMIS IN THE SHOWER
If you feel like singing, try this in the shower sometime:
Dumb bladder oil maelstrom,
Wear rife erst mat chew,
Wit chewer ice soap lieu,
Dross slain gig harm to,
Edit wash hair rye gnu,
Dasher loafed meat two,
Ewer sick steam, marvellous cream,
Dumb bladder oil maelstrom!
MRS. A. E. WILLETT
In regard to the lost art of drop-kicking (19TH HOLE, Dec. 12), Kaye Andrews of Yankton College (the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference) has been drop-kicking extra points for two years. Perhaps the art isn't so dead after all. Are there any others around yet?
Iowa City, Iowa
•Kaye Andrews, an all-state tailback in high school and an outstanding South Dakota conference player, practices the "lost art" for hours at a time and has become so proficient that he completed 18 out of 22 conversions over the past two seasons. Good drop-kickers seem to flourish in South Dakota. In 1923 Mark Payne, then at Dakota Wesleyan, drop-kicked a 63-yard field goal against Northern State Teachers College which still stands as a world record.—ED.
DON PAUL, MASTER SCULPTOR
Ingenious, indeed, is Miss Nash's inclusion of Don Paul's "villainy" as a great gambit of gamesmanship (19TH HOLE, Dec. 12). I heartily concur, but note also the letters which followed indicated how often strategy and design are misunderstood. I would like to add these supplemental remarks to Miss Nash's letter.
Beast became man when his choices became a function of reason rather than reflex. We admire physical skill, but we applaud brilliant strategic application of this admirable resource. Be it business, war or sport, does not everyone enter a contest with an objective, and a plan to achieve it? To be triumphant, must you not get your opponent, consciously or otherwise, to abandon his plan and follow yours? Victory by virtue of sheer physical mastery lacks genuine joy because there is no contest. Which do you choose, bringing in a contract with a Vienna coup, or laying down a cold hand?
All of course must be within the rules of the game and sympathetic with mankind's social order. Here the Vipers' jungle deeds disqualify him from a place in the ranks of men. The salesman, boss, quarterback, minister, general seek to turn men's wills to their designs. Man kneads and molds man in the magnificent museum of life and here, manipulating his unwitting clay, stands Don Paul, master sculptor.
STANLEY C. JOHNSON
Lieut. Colonel, USAF
Winter Park, Fla.
Amateur athletics supposedly represents the highest nonreligious code of ethics guiding youth today, but coaches teach players that anything is all right if you can get away with it.
The whole trend of cheating in athletics could be pointed up by annual award at a Boy Scout Jamboree to the athlete in each sport who, according to his victims and the officials in the games where the incidents took place, committed the greatest number of violations without getting caught at it. A special prize could be given the most villainous viper. In case of a tie for first place, extra points could be allowed for inflicting such injuries as a slipped disc or any disability that put the opposing player out of the game for the rest of the season. At the close of the Jamboree the 25,000 Boy Scouts could see spotlights playing on the individual athlete who did the most during the previous year to help make juvenile delinquents out of boys who thought you had to play fair.
R. H. SHERWOOD, M.D.
THAT'S THE WAY
Pro football is rough but I do not think that Don Paul plays dirty; he plays hard, good football. That is the way fans like to see football.
WALDO PEIRCE, VARSITY ATHLETE...
NOTED WALDO PEIRCE'S COMMENTS IN 19TH HOLE DEC. 19. YOU MAY NOT KNOW THAT WALDO PEIRCE HAS SPORTS FAME TOO, HAVING PLAYED RIGHT TACKLE FOR TWO HARVARD VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAMS. WHEN WALDO LIVED IN BANGOR THIS DELIGHTFUL CHARACTER DESCRIBED ONE OF HIS TRIUMPHS TO ME THUSLY:
"SOME FOOL ON THE OTHER SIDE FUMBLED, I STUMBLED AND FELL; DARNED IF I DIDN'T LAND ON THE PIG'S BLADDER AND A TOUCHDOWN."
It was a breath of fresh air hearing from my old friend, Waldo Peirce, though all too indirectly through your fine magazine. Waldo is not only one of America's great painters, but also a distinguished poet. His two great classics were a poem about the American Field Service and one about one of his mothers-in-law. Unfortunately for SI readers these gems would hardly pass the censor.
I thought the article on the gladiators was magnificent.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
DO LAYMEN MAKE SENSE?
Your original article based on scientific knowledge that our deer herds thrive on reasonable hunting (SI, Nov. 21) naturally called for Jimmy Jemail's HOTBOX treatment from the laymen's viewpoint (SI, Dec. 12). But the laymen's attitude certainly threw the discussion out of balance from where we sit. Or Would it make sense to conduct a symposium, with bank presidents and cashiers, and then match their deductions on best practices in the banking business with observations by the men on the street?
Axiomatically, modern game management has attained maturity, and the methods now standardized obviously cannot always be comprehended by persons interested primarily in the season dates and bag limits.
This is just one man's opinion, but I know I speak for everyone in this field when I say your magazine is having a profound and stimulating effect on the future of wildlife.
Supervisor of Information
Texas Game & Fish Comm.
IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED illustrates that the wildlife biologist's biggest job is people, not the wildlife he is trying to manage.
Ten people in Colorado participated in your HOTBOX poll on the deer question (SI, Dec. 12) and it appears from the response only two came close to the answer.
It was gratifying to see that two of the respondents understand the deer starvation problem, whose solution is essentially: use them instead of wasting them. This indicated that some Coloradans have kept in touch with the biologists who, of course, are a reliable source of information.
D. Y. McBEATH
Regional Game Supervisor
Michigan Dept. of Conservation
As a golfer of no small talent (I won a "J" as a member of the Janesville, Wis. High School Golf Team and have my name on some pretty important trophies, including that of the National Association of Cost Accountants, Milwaukee, Wis. Chapter), with Norwegian-born (Lillehammer and Kongsvinger) parents and a Bergen-born wife, plus being the recipient of A's in two semesters of a Norwegian course at the University of Wisconsin, I feel adequately qualified and virtually compelled to question your statement that Norse golfers employ the warning "fore!" (E & D, Dec. 12.)
"Fore" would be pronounced "foo-reh" (with slightly trilled R). I doubt that the shout of "foo-reh" would attract much attention. My experience has been that the best way to attract a Norwegian's attention is to yell "skal!"
W. R. ANDERSON
•Fore (pronounced fore) is an international sporting word, taken over along with golf by many countries. However, Norwegian purists may shout ,,Se opp!" instead.—ED.