Your issue of February 6 has really done it. From cover to cover, you haveperformed a service in telling us what sports are all about. The article aboutAvery Brundage was the spearhead. No half-baked excuses for Russian victories.No accusations of bad faith. Just the blunt truth that the Russians are movinginto the world's sport picture on a platform of old American traits—hard work,self-sacrifice, and more hard work.
Sure, theirmotives stink—but let's not change our motives to match theirs. Let's matchtheir virtues of selfless dedication. And if we don't win, we'll have done ourbest—and that's a pretty fine goal, too, hackneyed as it may sound.
When SI firstappeared on the scene, I thought I had never seen a weaker mishmash ofwarmed-over sports reporting in my life. I was wrong.
When you ran yourfirst courageous article on the nefarious Jim Norris, I realized that this wasa magazine that could serve a true function for both the world of sports andthe world, period.
February 13, 1956
Forgive my earlyimpatience. You're doing nobly.
DAVID B. McCALL
SURVIVAL OF THEFITTEST
This is my 53rd year of competition in amateur sports. During that time I havenever known a more maligned, efficient, honorable and distinguished gentlemanin sports than Mr. Brundage.
Like ex-PresidentHoover, he has lived long enough to show up the muckrakers.
HE HAS PRESERVEDTRUE SPORT
Thank heaven a man of honor and integrity—Mr. Avery Brundage (SI, Jan. 30 andFeb. 6)—is chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee and president of theInternational Olympic Committee.
For several yearsthis fine man has been unjustly maligned by those who have been masquerading assportswriters.
The Americanpeople should be thankful that Mr. Brundage—a truly principled man—isrepresenting our country and our athletes. He has helped to preserve the onlytrue sport—amateur sport—and he has kept it free of dumpings, parlays, odds,point-spreads, quinellas, buildups, the fix, phony scholarships, point-shavingand razor blade commercials.
There are, Isuppose, a few ignoramuses, by-lined on the sports pages, who probably wouldlike to see the U.S. Olympic Committee's activities promoted by theInternational Boxing Club, James D. Norris, president; Al Weill,vice-president; and Frank Carbo, treasurer.
JOHN R. KANE
THANK YOU MR.BRUNDAGE
The cause of furthering amateur sport is so worthy, in my opinion, that Mr.Brundage demands admiration and thank-yous from all who are proud of beingamateurs. I wish that we, who take this pride, would contribute as much as afraction of what Avery Brundage has to amateur sport.
TOM H. S. BROWN
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I take exception to Avery Brundage's statement that "sports caught theimagination of the students, the educators frowned on it." He also statesthat outsiders—not educators—were in charge of sports. He is mistaken.
Dr. Joseph EdwardRaycroft came to Princeton from Chicago in 1911. He was the head of the newphysical education department. During his 25-year tenure of office in thatcapacity he put especial emphasis on sports for all through intramural sports.At the time of his retirement in 1936 about 90% of the undergraduate body wasengaged in some type of sport, including those physically handicapped.
Mr. Brundageshould know these facts, having been associated with the doctor for some yearsin the American Olympic Association. There is a sports library in the DillonGymnasium at Princeton, containing over 1,500 volumes on the history of sportand on medicine. It was given to Princeton by Dr. Raycroft—the result of hiscollecting from his undergraduate days until he died.
Dr. Raycroft wasno exception. Mr. Fred Marvel of Brown University, Anderson of Yale Universityand many others in the field of physical education were well-educated men whobalanced sports and studies to a nicety. Remember? "Good grades or youcan't play on the team."
This isn't verywell written, but I am mad.
MYLA RAYCROFT HAHNER
•Avery Brundagemade the point that commercialism and professional leadership, so marked intoday's big-time college sports, are a result of the indifference of educatorsin the early part of the century to amateur athletics. Most certainly therewere exceptions, and able men such as Dr. Raycroft were encouraged to pioneeramateur athletic programs. But academic circles as a whole remained indifferentand even hostile to college athletics until they had to face them as a"problem."—ED.
I have been waiting ever since I first started reading SI for your coverage ofthe Olympics and it was worth it! I hope the Summer Games are as wellcovered.
•We're intraining now and November '56 will see us ready.—ED.
SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS ON BEAUTIFUL COLORFUL OLYMPICS ISSUE.
GEORGE A. FUSEY
WHERE ARE SKATERSOF YESTERYEAR?
Tut, tut, SI. Be realistic.
Those Sovietskaters (Olympic Preview, Jan. 30) are good for the same reason that ourfootball players are good: they are hand-picked, subsidized, pushed hard and(perhaps most important) full of personal enthusiasm.
You shouldinstead wonder what's happened to our own speed skaters. Thirty and 40 yearsback hamlets like Saranac Lake could produce the best in the world. And study aphoto of one of them, like Ed Lamy in 1910—bulging of thigh and barrel ofchest, able and willing to skate till the ice went out and always somethingleft for a sprint to take a lap prize. But where are the Lamys and Sheas andJaffees of yesteryear?
DANIEL D. MACMASTERS
We who love boxing cannot begin to express our appreciation for your campaignto clean up the existent and deplorable state that this sport has fallen into.I particularly agree with your E & D box of the January 30 issue anent thetactics of Sandy Saddler. This disgrace to the United States of America shouldbe barred from ever entering a ring to compete in a boxing match. Mrs. Elordeneed have no fear that her husband's conduct in the ring that night broughtdishonor to her country. On the contrary, we in the U.S. owe her and herhusband our humble apologies.
I love SI, andread it from cover to cover—but only after my two teen-age sons are finishedwith it.
THE DEFT ART, THEHERCULEAN SPORT
After reading your CONVERSATION PIECE on Rocky Marciano (SI, Jan. 23), I wasstruck that we are blessed indeed to have him as the world's heavyweightchampion.
Many peopleshudder at the words "boxing," "prizefighting," or"pugilism." Such words can connote the heartsickness that often followswatching the pommeling of a human body until it lies broken, bleeding andunconscious on a white mat while thousands cheer and stamp their feet inapproval. Some people feel it to be modern man's way of keeping alive thatbrutal urge which filled the Colosseum in ancient Rome.
Rocky Marciano,it seems to me, disproves this. His sport has had and is having its ignominiousmoments and hangers-on. But Marciano, Christian and honest, gentle man that heis, finds it easier to be just himself. And this easiness gives the whole worlda source of inspiration and a fresher outlook on his virile profession, hisdeft art, his Herculean sport.
WILLIAM R. HARPER JR.
I enjoyed tremendously a recent piece on Marciano by Joan Flynn Dreyspool.
That kind of copymakes your magazine worthwhile and I want to take time out from a busy job tolet you know that the story was strictly major league. Somehow just readingthat piece gives this corner a different slant on the boxing business. Whilethere's a Marciano around to help the game it still has a chance.
The Rocky Marciano CONVERSATION PIECE is just that—a conversation piece. JoanFlynn Dreyspool made this article truly readable—it was simple, human andhonest. I especially enjoyed Rocky's mother's talk about her son. I found itextremely touching in its heartwarming simplicity and understanding.
THE BASIC TWO-MANGAME
Paul O'Neil, in writing on Floyd Patterson (SI, Jan. 30), has fashioned thefinest descriptive sports passage I have ever read. The sentence beginning,"The platform, at the moment, is a lackadaisically furnished bachelor denin Brooklyn's rugged Bedford-Stuyvesant section, just a few hazy dreams awayfrom riches and world fame..." is so thrilling as to make this old fictionpurveyor wonder what O'Neil does when he is not writing such sensationallysplendid articles.
Patterson is themost exciting fighter since the young Dempsey. He was star-marked from thebeginning to anyone who saw his catlike grace, his ability to punch and hisresponse to being punched. But as O'Neil says, "the road to championship isbordered by quicksand." It is a splendid thing that Mr. Charles Schwefel,according to the article, is widening the shoulders of that road. To him shouldgo the undying thanks of all of us who think that boxing must survive as thebasic two-man game.
N. Hollywood, Calif.
•What AssociateEditor Paul O'Neil does when not writing depends upon the season of the year:he either fishes for trout or thinks about fishing for trout.—ED.
THE NEXT CHAMPIONFOR SURE
I have just finished reading that great article on the next heavyweightchampion, Floyd Patterson. I not only read it over again and enjoyed it just asmuch, but now I am sure as ever that Floyd definitely will be the nextheavyweight champ. I think in another year or maybe a little longer, Floyd willbe able to fully cope with Rocky. But D'Amato should take it easy and wait tillPatterson gets well over the heavyweight mark, and I mean solidly proportionedweight, before rushing him with Rocky.
WAIT TILL NEXTYEAR
I'm one of Patterson's fans. I've seen him fight several times and he isterrific. He might be the next champion but he won't win the title from RockyMarciano this year.
Let him try a fewof the top boys like Valdes, Baker or Jackson.
Meet the Next Heavyweight Champion of the World—phooey! Patterson had betterwait about five years before he gets fancy with Rocky Marciano! I'd love to seeMarciano "cream" Patterson!
I enjoyed reading so very much Learning from the Fox (SI, Dec. 19). I wish tothank you and your staff members. As a boy in Ohio I spent many happy nights bythe fire on a distant hill, listening to the sweetest music this side ofheaven, the hounds chasing the fox. In this article the author brought forthall the sly tricks of brother fox.
I most earnestlydisapprove, however, that several churches around our great land have fox huntsto raise funds. The fox is circled by many men on horses or otherwise and thefox is not even given a sporting chance for his life. It is often unmercifullykilled. I received my greatest thrill in the chase, not the kill.
The secondarticle, The Muskrat: Rogue of the Marshes (SI, Jan. 23), was very interesting,I trapped many muskrats as a boy. The muskrat will chew his foot off, in theevent one is lucky enough to catch him in a trap, and escape. The only way thiscan be prevented is to stake the trap out in the water so the muskrat willdrown, although this method decreases the value of his pelt immensely.
Thank you onceagain for some mighty interesting reading.
ALTON H. RADFORD
•SI will continueits series of Dr. Long's never-before-published wildlife stories, which itconsiders the literary find of 1956.—ED.
BATTLE OF THETITANS (CONT.)
In answer to Don Sherman's letter (19TH HOLE, Jan. 23) belittling the Oklahomafootball team I would like to comment:
On January 2 theOklahoma Sooners met a very fine team in the University of Maryland, but theymanaged to edge them out by 14 measly points. Meantime the once-beaten"magical" Spartans were beating a once-beaten UCLA team on a field goalin the last few seconds of the game. The hero of the game, Dave Kaiser, forgothis contact lenses when he went into the game to boot the field goal. It looksto me like Lady Luck was with Michigan State on that day. I can agree with Mr.Sherman on one point—the two teams do not belong on the same football fieldbecause the Spartans would have dust flying in their faces all day from theSooners' heels.
•Forty-sevenother loyal Sooners rose, pen in hand, to defend their football team. DuffyDaugherty, Michigan State's football coach, says that shortsighted Dave Kaiser,who kicked that 41-yard field goal to win the Rose Bowl for Michigan, left hiscontact lenses behind intentionally when he left the bench for immortality."He could see well enough without them to make out the goalposts."Daugherty says, "and when you kick you look at the ball anyway. Dave isnearsighted and could see the ball fine."—ED.
BUILDINGCHARACTER IN OKLAHOMA
Your 'Rose Bowl' of Wrestling picture story (SI, Jan. 16) is very good as faras it goes. However, calling the minor league Pennsylvania meet a Rose Bowl isabout comparable to a story of last fall's World's Series without mentioningJohnny Podres.
Have you everheard of the wrestling Oklahoma Aggies? All they have done is win the NCAAchampionship something like 20 or 21 times out of the 28 or 29 times it hasbeen held.
Last year whenthese two teams wrestled in Stillwater, Okla., more than 8,000 personsattended, a record for a college wrestling match.
However, thanks alot for the mention of college wrestling in your excellent magazine. It is thegreatest character builder among collegiate sports.
DAWSON (TACK) NAIL
•Have we heard ofthe wrestling Aggies? Why last year Martin Kane (The Amateurs Don't Groan, SI,April 18) said: "Oklahoma A&M is to wrestling what Notre Dame is tofootball. The Aggies won their 18th team title in 25 years at the NationalCollegiate Athletic championships held last month at Cornell."—ED.
MY AUNT LENA'SSKATES
In glancing through SI, Jan. 16, the picture of the turn-of-the-century skatecaught my eye.
My maternal AuntLena bought me the only ice skates I ever owned for a Christmas present, about1910 would be my guess. They are hanging out in the garage now, a bit rusty,but even today the tempo of my heart beat is stepped up a bit when I happen tonotice them. Yes, we did have quite a time holding them on, straps, clamps andso on, and, by the way, we sharpened them ourselves too. Mine were clubs. Someof the boys had hearts, diamonds and spades, each made by the same manufacturerprobably, but I always thought the clubs were the best.
GEORGE S. PUHR
Kansas City, Kans.
Regarding Roger S. Phillips' letter about hockey's longest sudden death playoff(19TH HOLE, Jan. 30), the longest one on record was played in Montreal, March24, 1936 between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons with thewinning goal being scored after 116 minutes and 30 seconds of overtime play.The goal was scored by Mud Brunetian on a pass from Hec Kilrea at 16:30 of thesixth overtime period. It was 2:25 a.m. when the game ended, final score1-0.
•Mr. Phillips wasconcerned with amateur hockey. The Harvard-Princeton game of January 24, 1914is the longest collegiate hockey game.—ED.
THE FLYING DR.MOORE
I have just read your PAT ON THE BACK to Mr. Hermann Geiger (SI, Jan. 23). Ithink you might be interested in another man who has made some very highaltitude landings in his Piper Super Cub.
Dr. Terris Moore,while president of the University of Alaska, modified the unique type oflanding gear which is shown on Mr. Geiger's plane. In the summer of 1953 Dr.Moore flew men, supplies and equipment from nearby airfields of altitudes lessthan 1,000 feet to the Mt. Wrangell research project in Alaska. I do not knowif he landed at altitudes higher than Mr. Geiger's 13,000 feet, but I feelfairly certain that Dr. Moore's landings were near the summit of themountain.
Once during thewinter of 1952-53 Dr. Moore flew to the wreckage of an Air Force Globemaster todetermine if there were any survivors. This flight of his involved landing at afairly high altitude in very cold and inclement weather. In fact, the AirForce's own Tenth Air Rescue Squadron, stationed in Alaska, was unable to getto the wreckage and land there with any of their diversified equipment.Unfortunately there were no survivors from the Globemaster crash, but Dr.Moore's efforts were, nonetheless, remarkable.
I do not in anyway wish to detract from Mr. Geiger's heroic work, but I did think that youwould be interested in Dr. Moore's feats also.
CHARLES E. BEHLKE
Mountain View, Calif.
•Dr. Moore, nowprofessor of business administration at Colby College, Maine, has flown as ahobby since 1929. While president of the University of Alaska he repeatedlyferried scientists on a cosmic ray research study to and from their station13,800 feet up Mt. Wrangell, a difficult and hazardous operation.—ED.