I MADE MY NOMINEE FOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (BILLY JOE PATTON) KNOWN TO YOU LAST WEEK (19TH HOLE, Dec. 26). THUS WHEN I SAW JOHNNY PODRES ON YOUR COVER AS YOUR CHOICE I SAID "OH, NO!" THEN I READ ROBERT CREAMER'S RATIONALE. CONGRATULATIONS! SI KNEW BEST.
STARS AND SNIPES (CONT.)
It looks as though you've managed to get Snipe sailors all over the country up in arms with the running word-battle of Snipe sailor versus Star sailor (19TH HOLE, Dec. 12). We see nothing left but a challenge in defense of our integrity. Let Mr. de Cardenas get his boys and we'll get ours and meet on the field of honor.
We suggest a meeting of two to five picked crews dueling to the death in a neutral boat; or, should he prefer, six races, three in Stars and three in the world's greatest racing machine, Snipe!
January 9, 1956
AT THE RISK OF BECOMING UNPOPULAR...
Over the years I have given a great deal of time and thought to the problem of accurate timing in downhill ski racing. I therefore have considered the claim by Mr. Ralph Miller of reaching the speed of 109 mph at Portillo, Chile on August 26 most carefully.
According to Miller's account, a 50-meter stretch was carefully measured and marked at start and finish with bands of soot on the snow. His timer, Emile Allais, stood some distance away on a slope directly opposite the speed trap; from this vantage point he timed each crossing of the black lines.
When the same timekeeper times the entry and exit of a skier over a stretch defined by soot, I doubt if accuracy is possible within half a second's margin. The time for this particular record, as registered on a stop watch by a single timekeeper, was given as "one second and a fortieth." Clearly an error of a tenth of a second on a 50-meter course completed in approximately a second at a rate of over 100 mph would correspond to some 10 mph, an error of half a second to some 30 mph.
In the case of the record established by Zeno Colo on May 8, 1947 (159.29 kilometers, or 99 miles an hour), electrical timing was employed. Moreover the Italian Federation of Timekeepers and the Aosta Federation of Timekeepers both sent their special delegates to time. In addition there were an assistant timekeeper and two judges and a delegate of the Italian Federation of Winter Sports. Moreover, the course was measured by an official and professional surveyor. A world record established under such conditions, though unofficial, has some interest.
When I was Chairman of the Downhill-Slalom Committee of the FIS, I vainly endeavored to persuade the governing body for skiing to formulate official rules for the measurement of courses and to formulate precise rules for world records in speed. The essence of sport is the attempt to discover the limits attainable by that intricate mechanism, the human body, but it is regarded as slightly vulgar, at least by the FIS, to display any interest in such statistics for ski racing. The only result of this refusal of the FIS to regulate such matters is that claims for world records are made and published which provoke doubts, and which ensure a certain amount of unpopularity for those who question them.
SIR ARNOLD LUNN
FAMILIAR CUP IN CANADA
SI has always been tops in my book, and now since I have read the 19TH HOLE, Dec. 26, it is even more so.
The Grey Cup game gets bigger and better every year, and after our Montreal Alouettes' second loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, the Brooklyn cry of "Wait 'til next year" was heard again this year. Thanks once again for your coverage.
The following was written by my father, Joseph G. Butler, for our son, Richard Rives Ford, age 7 months.
Wreck imbibe BB
Under treat hop
Window war blouse
Deck riddle wall rack
Window boob ends
Deck riddle willful
Andiron welcome wreck imbibe
Bay bee end dull.
(Firm grump puppy bottler, crispness, fife defy.)
Pop has always been a great frammiseur, and I think this is one of his better ones.
JOAN B. FORD
Los Altos, Calif.
•A Pat on the Back to Pop and Joan for coining the word frammiseur.—ED.
BAD NIGHT ON THE POTOMAC
Your article by Ezra Bowen on the Inland Waterway (SI, Nov. 28) certainly was very valuable.
There are one or two additions I would like to make.
It is sometimes quite rough going on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Potomac River, and on the west side of the bay not much chance of getting into a harbor. For boats of deeper draught there is good anchorage inside at the Great Wicomico River just south of the Potomac. The charts will show where to anchor. There is a dock at Fleeton but with a west wind the odor from the fish processing plant is bad.
Small boats in an emergency could go into Sunnybank. Some of the smaller fishing boats tie up in the passageway, just inside the jetties. This is just below the mouth of the Potomac. Just north of the Potomac small boats can go into St. Jerome Creek.
At Beaufort, S.C. the docks are just south of the drawbridge. Boats going south turn sharply to starboard and run parallel to the bridge. If there is need to slow down, to wait to get to the docks, it is necessary to stay away from the bridge. The current is very strong, and if it is running towards the bridge, it will have a boat into the bridge very quickly. A good many boats have been damaged there.
Smith's Creek is a few miles up the Potomac from its mouth, and there are good enough docking facilities up the creek. It is not wise to anchor in the mouth of the Potomac. Storms there are at times sudden and violent. I spent a bad night anchored back of the point on the north shore, one of the worst nights I ever had on a boat.
I HAVE A GOLD MEDAL...
You state in your article on Olympic fencing (SI, Dec. 5), "More than 160 gold medals have been won by the men and women fencers of the world.... No American has ever won...."
I competed in the 1904 Olympic Games at St. Louis where I won a first prize in the Junior Foils competition for which I received, and have, a gold Olympic medal. I was also on the United States Olympic Fencing Team. The United States team was second in team competition and I received, and have, a silver Olympic medal. The United States team consisted of Charles Tatham, New York, Charles Townsend, New York and Arthur G. Fox, Chicago.
ARTHUR G. FOX
•SI was aware of Mr. Fox's 1904 accomplishment but limited its discussion of Olympic fencing to events which count as world championships in Olympic, years. Olympic events have never been divided into junior and senior events by the International Olympic Committee. However, in the early 1900s, when the committee was new, local organizing committees sanctioned special events and awarded medals. Mr. Fox's medal is one of these; nonetheless it is an Olympic gold medal, honorably won.—ED.
A SUITE FOR AVERY
SI, Dec. 26 says that Avery Brundage is the only person to occupy a suite at Cortina for the Winter Olympics!
And they questioned Santee's expense account?
CARL F. SEIDEL
Kansas City, Mo.
•As president of the International Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage will be top executive officer at Cortina and will need an extra room or two to cope with all the amenities of the Winter Games. Mr. Brundage, a wealthy contractor, has paid his own way in all his years of association with the Olympic Committee.—ED.
THEY COMPARE TO THE GIRLS
Why prolong the myth that Indiana (SI, Dec. 19) has the most high school basketball activity? Iowa dwarfs them each year in number of teams and gate receipts. Iowa can also boast an older tournament. This March they will be staging the 41st tournament under the state high school athletic association. The series, with an interruption during World War I, dates back to 1912.
The Indiana series would more favorably compare in size with the Iowa girls' tournament in which hundreds of teams fight it out with no less frenzy than the boys' meet provides.
At the close of each season, the Iowa teachers can be heard to murmur, "Now that the basketball season is over, we can start holding school again."
KENNETH E. KOCH
•Or, as the official state song goes:
You ask what land I love the best,
Iowa, 'Tis Iowa,
The Fairest State of all the West,
Iowa O! Iowa.—ED.
EXIT PAPA BEAR
Nowhere in SI did I see an article on the grand old man of professional football, George Halas of the Chicago Bears. On December 11 a Bear team took the field for the last time under their great coach George Halas, and for the last time he saw his beloved Bears win a game.
Words, of course, completely fail to express a real Bear's feelings at this time now that Papa Bear has decided to retire. There probably wasn't a dry eye in Chicago that night. There wasn't one among good Bear fans, I'm sure. As the Chicago Trib wrote the next day, "An era magnificently American came to a close yesterday." Well I've been a good Bear fan for about 10 years now, and to see you completely ignore the retiring of this man just didn't seem like justice to me.
•For SI's farewell to George Halas, see Events & Discoveries.—ED.
THE CLEAN GIANTS
I wish to call your attention to an inexcusable reference to the New York Football Giants in your article by Melvin Durslag entitled Pro Football Is Plenty Rough (SI, Nov. 28).
The second paragraph of this article reads in part as follows:
"The charge is not a new one. A year ago the Cleveland Browns' Otto Graham told SI readers in a signed article (Oct. 11, 1954) that both college and professional football were "getting too vicious." Three weeks ago, in a game against the New York Giants, Graham came up with what he felt was proof enough of his contention. He received a brain concussion which he thinks was purposefully administered, although the point is denied vehemently by Giant Coach Jim Lee Howell and all the players involved."
...I find it hard to believe that this story was checked with Otto Graham because Otto stated in the newspapers and appeared in person on Bill Stern's nationwide radio broadcast to say that his remarks on so-called "dirty football" had no reference to the Giants whatever and that the Giants play hard, clean football.... It is my own impression that there is far too much of what I would call "dirty reporting" current in the magazine field and that this is a conspicuous example.
RAYMOND J. WALSH
New York Football Giants
•The day after an errant Giant elbow removed him from the game with a brain concussion Otto Graham in addressing the Atlanta Quarterback Club had this to say about dirty football: "Commissioner Bell says that the league plays rough and tough, but not dirty. I know that it just isn't so. Officials are letting the players get away with too much. I think the commissioner and the owners could do something about it if they wanted." Pro football, said Graham, is getting "rougher and rougher" and unless something is done "will get out of hand."
Two days later when interviewed on Bill Stern's radio show Graham repeated his contention that not enough is done to punish "those dirty football players [who] slug with their elbows." Graham was then confronted with this statement: "Well then, you want to go on record as saying you have no gripe against any one individual or any one team." Said Graham: "No, I definitely did not say that the New York Giants are a dirty football team because I don't believe they are. I think they're a very clean football team. Now what happened to me in that particular ball game as I say, I don't know.... I definitely was out for about half an hour, but I don't know what happened."
This month Otto Graham again repeated his charge of dirty football. Speaking before the Norfolk, Va. Sports Club, Graham said: "...there are some players who get away with murder...and I do think there has been an increase in that type of play.... It should be outlawed. The present penalties are not drastic enough."—ED.
On January 2 the air was full of football, the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and so on. Good football all of it, football that nobody wants to miss. Yet in the past and at present there is no possible way to listen to all the bowl games.
I suggest that next year, bowl games be spread over the week of December 25 to January 1. Anyone fortunate enough to get a ticket to a bowl game could surely get off that day to attend the game. Folks who listen on TV or radio could listen to one game a day for a week instead of tuning in one game on TV, another on the radio and even then having to miss the other games except for what can be picked up during the time-outs or half time.
Let a bowl committee draw lots, the team getting first choice could then choose the date between December 25 and January 1 which it prefers; the team drawing lot No. 2 would have second choice of dates, and on down the line.
Every bowl would surely be filled, TV and radio sponsors would have a far larger audience and football fans could listen peacefully to one game a day for an entire wonderful week.
WALLER L. TAYLOR, M.D.
Virginia Beach, Va.
OUR MODEST BROTHER
SINCE FRATERNITY BROTHER FRED MAGUIRE IS TOO MODEST TO WRITE THIS HIMSELF, WE FEEL OBLIGATED TO INFORM SI READERS THAT HIS 1954 RECORD OF 1.14.1 FOR THE 100-METER ORTHODOX BREAST-STROKE WAS NOT BROKEN BY RON ALSO-BROOK OF MICHIGAN (RECORD BREAKERS, DEC. 12). ALSOBROOK'S TIME WAS FOR 100 YARDS, A CONSIDERABLY SHORTER DISTANCE THAN 100 METERS.
BROTHERS OF SIGMA CHI FRATERNITY
•The brothers are correct. SI's error came through an incorrect listing in the AAU official swimming handbook.—ED.
COLONEL BLAIK'S TREASURE
SI has been a most interesting magazine to men of football and I wish to commend you on the high caliber of art and editorial work which makes it so attractive.
The picture of the Army squad about to enter a game with the Corps as background (SI, Nov. 28) is a treasure.
EARL (RED) BLAIK
West Point, N.Y.
THE OLYMPIC FUND IN CANADA
I really believe that the idea of having Happy Knoll's members contribute to the U.S. Olympic Fund is a fine thought and should help this very worthwhile organization considerably.
The Canadian Olympic Fund is doing a wonderful job sending our skiers, hockey players, skaters and other participants to the Winter Games. Here is my contribution for this cause—it certainly merits every Canadian's support.
CHARLES R. BRONFMAN
•Happy Knoll is glad to open an account for the Canadian Olympic Fund and, through SI, will forward all contributions earmarked for Canadian athletes to the Fund's headquarters in Montreal.—ED.
SIDE BY SIDE
Please accept my application for an International Membership in Happy Knoll Club.
I am sure that Canadians look on SI as their personal sports magazine and I know that you will be interested in seeing Canadian athletes standing beside American athletes in Melbourne in 1956.
FREDERICK N.A. ROWELL
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
Here's hoping that many other readers made this same New Year's resolution: to ask SI for a guest membership card in Happy Knoll and send a contribution to the U.S. Olympic Fund.
•Others who have made this a happy new year for Happy Knoll's Olympic Funds are: Winchester Kelso Jr., San Antonio; LaRue Smith, Great Falls, Mont.; Gladys LeRoy, Brookfield, Mass.; Bed Bod well, Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Lincoln Davidson, Taunton, Mass.; Robert Gunn, Freeport, Texas; David Mills, Novelty, Ohio; John Kahl, Green Bay, Wis.; Richard Big-wood, Boston; William Dickerman, Taunton, Mass.; Lieut. R. B. Dickerman, Loring A.F.B., Maine; Robert Grant, Green Bay, Wis.; William W. Bothwell, Toronto; Benjamin Jones, Springfield, Mass.; John Schindler, Moreland Hills, Ohio; Elmer Evans, Buffalo, N.Y.; Dan Swander, Cleveland, and Merril Norlin, Lexington, Mass.—ED.