RUGBY: THE U.S. SPIRIT
I cannot let the evening go by without writing to tell you how much I enjoyed Alec Waugh's article on Rugby (SI, Feb. 4). It troubles me to hear him speak of it only as an English game. I think some of the East and West Coast colleges should extend to Mr. Waugh an invitation to visit their athletic fields during a spring weekend. I think he would be pleased at the dash and the skill with which the game is played in this country. The spirit that he talks of in his article is evident also in America during and after the game, though the postgame absence of "heavy tea with fruit cake" may disturb Mr. Waugh somewhat.
Although I saw the last of my Rugby fields as I was carried off one on a stretcher, I will agree with Mr. Waugh that it is not a dangerous game, although a rough one.
Though the sport is not recognized formally in most eastern universities, it is pursued with far more enthusiasm than most recognized sports.
As Mr. Waugh knows, American "Ruggers" cannot shake the American football training out of their systems, and the crashing tackles and the constant desire to block make the game a slightly more hazardous one. Perhaps this and the seeming American apathy for postcollege team sports limit the occasions for "Rugby every Saturday."
HOOKER TALCOTT JR.
February 18, 1957
RUGBY: OUT OF THIS WORLD
Mr. Waugh says, when you walk off a Rugby field for the last time, you walk out of the world of Rugby.
Something of the same sort could be said for our game of football. After high school and college football, what then? Most of us still want to play the game but what about our condition?
About three years ago, when I was 29, a group of us older fellows got together to play our high school alma mater. We ranged in age from 18 to 40. The game lasted for two and a half hours. There were no quarters and no halves. When a touchdown was made, we lined up and kicked off again. The final score was 26 to 6 in favor of us oldtimers. To show the caliber of the team we played, they went on to win their conference title undefeated.
Since that time I have been wanting to put on a suit and play one more game. After reading Mr. Waugh's article, the realization struck me that my days of playing are over. The odds are that never again will I pull on shoulder pads; ask the fellow next to me to pull my jersey over my shoulder pads; smell wintergreen in the locker rooms; walk easy on the concrete with cleats for fear of falling; trot out on a floodlighted football field with a touch of frost in the air; make a bruising clean tackle that I know is all mine alone; burst through the tackle position with head down for 10 yards; drop the halfback with a four-yard loss; pull off my helmet with sweat drenched on my head; let the hot shower sting my flesh in a feeling of well-being; crawl between the cool, clean sheets with a sort of ache, yet a feeling of having accomplished something.
When I stand on the scales, I know that part of my life is gone forever. They were happy days and it was with nostalgia I read and enjoyed the article.
D. W. BODDY
RUGBY: TIME FOR A CHANGE
If Alec Waugh thought so much of Rugby as a winter sport, why did he write Inland in the Sun with such conviction?
•Mr. Waugh's Island in the Sun is a fictional account of colonial politics, which is mostly an indoor sport.—ED.
TENNIS: DO YOU NOT SEE?
I must respectfully disagree with you on your proposal for an "open" tournament for amateurs and professionals both (E&D, Feb. 4). What you propose would undoubtedly help professional tennis, but I can't follow your reasoning that it would benefit the amateur game.
It seems to me that the reason we haven't kept the Davis Cup is that our top amateurs so frequently turn pro. Do you think that if Gonzales and Trabert, for example, had remained amateurs we would have lost the cup?
Do you not see that if an open tournament should be approved by the amateur association the professionals would gain most of the benefits and the amateur sport would greatly suffer?
How many amateurs finished in the first 20 in the last big open golf tournament? More, not fewer, amateurs would be enticed away from Davis Cup ranks.
Twin Lakes, Wis.
•Open tournaments might do much to ensure a brighter future for U.S. tennis by raising the competitive standards of amateur players who are now protected by USLTA sanction from having to face up to the best players in the game and by drawing more gifted youngsters into the game.—ED.
RULES: NEW COMMAND
As a former harassed factotum in baseball among young though informed Americans playing baseball on our sandlots, and also as a coach familiar with umpires unable to read the present rules, I suggest respectfully (as I love the U.S. Navy) that omniscient Rear Admiral Gallery (Play Baseball by the Rules? Nuts! SI, Feb. 4) be added to a committee to revise the rules book.
REV. THOMAS D. O'DONNELL, S.M.
RULES: AT SEA
Admiral Daniel Gallery has apparently spent too many summer months at sea and has thereby missed seeing any ball games. His impression on judging "fair and foul" balls is all wet—with salt water, I presume. The rules, as stated in the rule book, are enforced exactly as stated and not as Gallery would have us believe.
Palos Heights, Ill.
TRACK: QUICK WORK
After seeing SI's coverage (SI, Feb. 4) of the Dave Sime-Ira Murchison 50-yard sprint final at the Philadelphia Inquirer Meet, I thought I would add fuel to the fire by submitting another view of the disputed finish to a great race (see picture).
From this picture it appears that Murchison (right) was a step over the finish line ahead of Sime (if Sime's left foot were in the air shouldn't there be a distinct shadow beneath it, similar to that under the foot of the man third from right?).
How about a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED campaign to replace some of the tired old men that wear the judges' monkey suits with a reliable photo timer at the big meets?
WILLIAM M. SMITH
•See The Answer to "Who Won?" SI, Feb. 11.—ED.
CAPRICE: DREAM SAILOR
Congratulations! Not once, but again and again, on your terrific boat articles. I was tempted to write you when your fascinating article on the Finisterre came out (SI, June 18, 1956), again when The Vanderbilt Story came out (SI, Oct. 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5, 1956), and now to top it all off—A Sailor's Dream, the yawl Caprice (SI, Jan. 21).
For one who doesn't live near the sea and spends very little time with boats, I have become an ardent fan on the subject. However, I enjoy practically every sport that you cover and eagerly await the arrival of each issue.
CAPRICE: HONEST OPINION
I sail out of the Detroit Yacht Club and can honestly say that I haven't seen a boat there or anywhere in the Great Lakes area that has as many fine points as Fred Hibberd's Caprice.
Of great interest also was your series of articles late last year on that truly great sailor, Harold S. Vanderbilt.
CAPRICE: HOW YAWL LIKE THIS YETCH?
Mr. Frank D. Winder's words concerning when is a yawl a ketch (19TH HOLE, Feb. 4), were very interesting,-but confusing.
He states, "According to many authorities, a yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel in which the after, or mizzen, mast is stepped aft of the tiller, wheel or rudder post." So far so good, but then he later states, "It is folly to label a midship's cockpit sailing craft a yawl for the sole reason that its mizzen is forward of the tiller." Tain't so of Caprice—look at the picture.
Just shows you that all this talk about after waterlines, centers of effort of the various sails, hull form, etc. etc., is confusing to all, and I still like the old sailor's definition—quoted some years ago, I think, by Alf (Spun Yarn) Loomis in Yachting—that goes something like this: "A yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel in which the little mizzen mast is stepped yawl the way back. A ketch is a similar vessel in which the mizzen is ketched on not quite yawl the way back." A very handy definition for us small-boat sailors and landlubbers, particularly when the yacht in question is at some distance from the observer.
Maybe Caprice wouldn't qualify as a yawl under the above definition, but if the Hibberds say she's a yawl, so be it—it's their boat. She looks more like a classic example of a yetch to me.
FOOTBALL: MAN WANTED
It is indeed refreshing to read a story about football such as Pigskin at Penn: a Real-life Drama (SI, Jan. 28).
Here in Seattle, where they change coaches faster than you can change a tire (three in the last year), the football fan must sit by and watch while alumni, booster clubs, malcontent players, newspapers, radio and television make a shambles of the game.
If there had been one man of the caliber of Gaylord Harnwell here in Washington, or for that matter in the rest of the penalized colleges in the Pacific Coast Conference, the whole disgusting situation would never have been able to develop.
LOUIS F. AMBRUST
SKIING: COULD IT BE?
The Women's New York State Alpine Championship was won by a Canadian girl.
The report of this meet in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Jan. 28) is as follows: "Bill Woods, National Combined Champ, won N.Y. State Alpine Championship over the weekend nosing out Tom Corcoran who won the downhill race."
Could it be that you did not consider there was sufficient competition in the ladies' event to be worthy of mention? A member of the U.S. Women's Olympic Team placed second to the winner in both downhill and slalom. Or could it be that you were influenced by the fact that the girl who won the downhill, slalom and combined was a Canadian?
H. L. HEGGTVEIT
•The young lady who that day won the women's slalom, women's downhill and women's combined was none other than Mr. Heggtveit's daughter Anne (see picture) who, like her father before her, represented Canada in the winter Olympics. Anne Heggtveit, then 17 years old, was the youngest Olympian at Cortina after winning at 15 the woman's giant slalom in Norway's Holmenkollen Ski Festival.—ED.
Will you add this idea to what must already be a long list, for increasing revenues at golf clubs (Out West of Calcutta, SI, Jan. 7):
Sell burial space to members. Cemeteries are such cold and dreary places. Wouldn't most of us golf nuts really rest in pleasant peace under the cool sod of our favorite fairway? I remember a lovely eight-iron shot I hit two years ago, and it would satisfy me to be buried (no marker or headstone though) right where I made that shot. It was a beauty!
DON'T BE SO CASUAL ABOUT SCHRAFFT'S (19TH HOLE, FEB. 4). PROBABLY AMERICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL RESTAURANT CHAIN, THEY ARE NOT REALLY TEASHOPS. IN MANY OF THEIR PLACES THEY SERVE THE FINEST MARTINIS AND MANHATTANS.
J. R. CHERRY
•True, but SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S editors observe strict training.—ED.