THUS SPOKE THE COMPLEAT WOMAN
Female letters-to-the-editors generally start: "As a mere woman, permit me to...." I am the mother of four big boys and the wife of another, as well as holding down a busy job as a free-lance copywriter. So I will start this letter: "As a compleat woman, permit me to congratulate you on an extraordinary magazine."
I have always shared the boys' interests in sports but never really became a full-fledged member of the gang. I cannot get all tensed up, for example, about Sal Maglie's switch to Brooklyn. The boys do. Last night, however, I think I made the grade.
We sat around with the TV set off and talked about William Robinson's fabulous narration that sets the stage for The Ultimate Storm and Paul O'Neil's penetrating study of John Landy (SI, May 21).
I should say I talked and the men listened. Keep your Mantles, your Traberts, your Cassadys, I told them, that's kid's stuff, athletic pin-up boys. All very well and right in its place but not the stuff that heroes are made of. They may be the backbone of sports, but they could not support sports by themselves. Give me the man who spends a lifetime preparing and hoping for the ultimate test of man against nature. Give me the man who has devoted his span of life to pitting his spirit against his physique. Robinson the sailor and Landy the runner are ultimate athletes because they pioneered the unknown, the impossible, the inhuman in physical skill and courage.
May 27, 1956
Landy, according to the terms he set himself, has failed. Robinson, presumably, will succeed. But when you have crossed the barrier that divides the difficult from the impossible, success or failure becomes almost meaningless. You have given all men something to cheer about.
A Mantle homer that saves the game is "neat." Landy on the track and Robinson behind the mast are heroic.
Thus spoke Mrs. Rawlinger to her brood, and for the first time they listened with respect. Incidentally, I thought Mr. Symonds' letter on John Landy was extremely perceptive. You seem to have some highly verbal and intelligent readers.
DIANA SCOTT RAWLINGER
•Et tu, Diana.—ED.
GEORGE DOES IT
The Babe and George Zaharias CONVERSATION PIECE (SI, May 14) was a genuinely moving testament to a great marriage and a great man and woman. I guess the Babe has been a favorite of all of us for many years, ever since as a skinny kid she took over the Olympics. Those of us my age (middle forties) sort of grew up with the Babe and thrilled every time she set a new mark in yet another sport. What I liked especially in your CONVERSATION PIECE was that George Zaharias was presented as a real person. For the first time we learned how they met and why they get along so well.
Frankly, I never thought that George had too much to say for himself. Now I know that the Babe is lucky to have him. Best wishes to a grand couple.
A SOUR NOTE
I yield to no man in my admiration of Joan Flynn Dreyspool (Joanie, to the great, it seems), but it seems to me that her CONVERSATION PIECE with the Zahariases struck a slightly sour note. I am not against corn (provided it is good corn) and I am not against marriage, but the picture of George with his ear to the intercom, George puttering in his kitchen cooking goodies, George fingering the souvenirs of better days, all this while his wife is desperately ill in the next room, is not really something to be "frankly sentimental" about.
George is obviously one of nature's gentlemen. I am deeply aware of the sincerity, the pathos and the real tragedy that belongs to those two. But I think SI would have done better to leave them in peace in their Florida cottage, while the sun slowly sets. Other people's valentines are unfortunately a bit comic to those to whom they were not addressed.
PLAIN PEOPLE, FANCY TALENTS
You got the Babe and hubby dead to rights in your fine CONVERSATION PIECE. They may not be the fanciest of folks and maybe to some they seem corny, but they have great hearts, both of them, and there are millions like them—minus the Babe's wonderful athletic talents, of course.
Some may expect a great athlete to be a great thinker too. Most of them are not. For every Bannister you have a thousand Babe Didriksons—plain, simple people with a God-given talent which they have used to their fullest ability and a sense of responsibility to those who admire that.
God bless her, she has given many of us much pleasure.
CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Looking at SPECTACLE, of SI, May 14, I saw the most magnificent series on a pole vaulter's style that I have ever seen in my life. My father, who also is an avid reader of SI and a former pole vaulter, enjoyed the pictures as much as I did.
MIKE D. SEVERSEN
Thanks ever so much for the fine hill-climb article (SI, May 21). Photos and words were superb and prove what I've been saying for the last 20 years: motorcycle competition is an adult sport; true motorcyclists are sportsmen and an honest article about motorcycles is even more interesting than the blood and thunder stuff that is usually printed.
THIS TINY BIT
I was pleased to read in PAT ON THE BACK (SI, May 14) the kind words you had about Dave Albritton and the job he is doing in Iran in promoting sports and in building an Iranian Olympic squad.
It pleased me because in praising Mr. Albritton you praised an athlete who is the product of Ohio State University. To one like myself, who painfully read your The Ohio State Story (SI, Oct. 24, 1955) this was indeed a most pleasant experience.
...While it is true that football is "big business" at Ohio State, football is only part of the Ohio State story. There is also much sincere pride in, for example, our swimming team which recently in Yale's pool won the NCAA team championship for the 10th time in the last 14 years. We also treasure the memory of the feats of Dave Albritton's teammate, Jesse Owens. As even the Ivy League will attest, there is little net profit in track or swim meets, yet Ohio State not only competes but excels in them. To present just our football setup as a "public utility," with the implication that this is the epitome of all that is evil in a "big time" college sports program, is indeed unfair.
Today, when I looked at SI's picture of the Iranian youth holding an Ohio State jersey (probably purchased with dollars from football receipts) sent to him as an athletic gift of good will, I felt that I must pinpoint this tiny bit of constructive good that comes from Ohio State's athletic program and its graduates.
ROBERT E. GOWDY
•For a close look at Ohio State's swimmers—and a cover portrait of Al Wiggins—see SI, April 2.—ED.
You said in the 19TH HOLE (April 30) that you would like nominations on the greatest baseball team of all time. I would like to make mine....
The team I think was the best team of all time was the New York Yankees of 1927-28. With Ruth and Lou Gehrig batting back-to-back, and other great players on that team, they couldn't help win the pennant those two years and the World Series both times....
By the way, who has hit the most doubles and triples in his lifetime?
JOHN A. SPICE
•Tris Speaker hit 793 doubles and Sam Crawford 312 triples.—ED.
I LOVE HORSES
I wish you had asked me which I loved the most, horses or dogs (HOTBOX, May 14)! I've had both all my life. There is no greater thrill than to work with people who love horses and help them develop into fine riders, unless it's working with a horse and developing it to the stage where you easily control every ounce of its balance and coordination....
I love teaching, riding and schooling horses so much that I work with people and horses without charging them. It's just a wonderful, happy, rewarding hobby. My only hope is that I shall always be healthy and strong enough to continue with my horses until I'm 90. Then I'll just settle back and judge shows.
Of course, dogs make wonderful riding companions on the trails and are fine stable mascots....
MRS. JEANNE CUMMISKEY
HOW CAN YOU LOVE A HORSE?
...I have owned both horses and dogs over 40 years, and how intelligent people can say that you can love a horse more than a dog is beyond me....
Mrs. Van Allen had the answers. A horse will not return your love; a horse will not protect you and your family; you can't even bring a horse into your living room.
M. C. BARRY
BEST IN SHOW
We were interested in your SCOREBOARD report about Mr. U.S.A. (SI, May 7).
Several of us around the office are even more curious to know what Paulette Nelson, Miss U.S.A., did to win her title. She appears to be well qualified from the brief glimpse we had of her.
W. J. WILSON
•Paulette Nelson, one of 27 competitors was picked by virtue of her "poise, carriage, balance, measurements and other physical talents" as well as her prowess as a tram polinist.—ED.