DAVIS CUP: ANNOTATIONS AND ASPIRATIONS
After reading Bill Talbert's article in the Dec. 9, 1957 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I feel it is only fair to state the following:
The Davis Cup Selection Committee, of which I am chairman, selected the best possible team to represent our country in the Davis Cup matches. This is our function. If, after we have selected the team, anyone is reluctant to play, we must use every possible persuasive means under the amateur code to induce a player to play. But when a player refuses to play, whatever the reason, I think that we should respect that reason and just forget the situation and name a substitute as we did in the case of Ham Richardson and Dick Savitt. After all, tennis is an amateur sport and should be played for the honor, glory and enjoyment of the game. There should be no compulsion felt, although we have appealed to a player's patriotic sensibilities.
Ham Richardson has always been an outstanding gentleman and a credit to the game. During the last season he had several injuries which healed slowly, and he never reached his top form. With this condition a reality, his wife has been a tremendous help to him in taking care of his health and in assisting him to follow the best health-sustaining regimen.
Under the circumstances, I think we must respect his feelings in the matter in not wishing to be separated from his wife for a lengthy period. The trip to Australia does require, by reason of the great distance, considerable time away from home.
As the Executive Committee of the USLTA has ruled against wives accompanying players, it may be that this position should be re-examined; after all, our whole foundation of society is built around the family circle...and rightfully so. Separation of husbands and wives should be discouraged and not encouraged.
I want to emphasize definitely and emphatically that the opinions as expressed by Bill Talbert and Gardnar Mulloy are their own opinions, and in no way reflect the opinion of either the Davis Cup Selection Committee or the USLTA.
I think our showing in Australia was most encouraging and augurs well for the future. Barry MacKay looks like he might go right to the top. As has been the case for the past several years, our great weakness is in doubles. I have strongly suggested that our younger, most promising players be paired off as doubles teams early in the tournament season and be urged to stick together as units throughout the season. Then our Davis Cup captain, Bill Talbert, who is without question a master of doubles play, could coach these boys as teams for a lengthy period and not have to use patchwork teams in the important Davis Cup ties.
CHAUNCEY DEPEW STEELE JR.
OH, THOSE LIONS
Three hearty cheers for the wonderful champions of the NFL. Oh, those crazy, mixed-up Lions!
Believe me, as an ardent follower of our unfortunate Philadelphia Eagles, it was gratifying beyond words to me to watch the Lions, whom I have always admired, pile up the score. They could have scored a few more points against the Brownies as far as I'm concerned. Bless 'em.
Your Flip-top Zoo is hilarious. Can you give us more?
In the balloting for the National Football League's Most Valuable Player, not one member of the World Champion Detroit Lions even received support. In the balloting for the Rookie of the Year, again no Lion cub was as much as suggested. Ditto for the voting for Player of the Year. To top it off, the head coach of this group of "incompetents," "has-beens" and "cast-offs" failed to receive recognition.
Those poor old Lions had to settle for just one award in 1957. It is known as the World Championship. We might all take our collective hats off to the 1957 Gashouse Gang of football; the rowdiest, roughest, fightingest, luckiest and winningest group of men and boys that ever had the good fortune to play for the same team.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I should like to call on your experts to settle an argument that developed recently while I was playing with three friends at the Twin Hills Country Club in Oklahoma City, Okla.
I attempted an important putt on the 13th green, and the ball hung on the lip of the cup. After due consultation with my partner, I decided to wait for the ball to drop, if it would. After approximately two minutes the ball had not fallen but appeared to be moving (at least to my partner). At this moment an Air Force jet aircraft passed overhead and broke the sound barrier, causing an extremely loud sonic "boom." Immediately thereafter, the ball fell into the cup.
I am certain that you can envision the conversation that followed.
Would you kindly advise us if the USGA has made any provisions for such a circumstance, so that we can settle the financial transactions. Naturally my partner and I feel that the putt should be allowed, while our opponents are claiming "foul" and are considering suing the Air Force if they have to pay.
F. A. EASTMAN
•John English, Assistant Executive Director of the USGA, hooted happily when informed of Mr. Eastman's predicament and promised a ruling from the USGA Rules Committee.—ED.
CRUISING: WINTER'S TALE
Congratulations to Carleton Mitchell for At the Wind's Call (SI, Jan. 6). As usual he has managed to capture the undeniable spell of the Bahamas, and I feel certain this winter will find many of us prowling around the waters from Spanish Wells to Nassau harbor.
RICHARD E. PEARSON
BASEBALL: MOVIES ARE BETTER THAN EVER
Rather than risk the demoralization of a most colorful baseball team, the West Coast owners of the Dodgers ought to negotiate for use of Ebbets Field. Games could be scheduled Pacific Standard Time to be televised to the L.A. Coliseum, neatly darkened by the cloud of shame presently forming out of indecisive discussions over a home for the national pastime.
If the people of the West Coast cannot solve this problem, are they to be expected to provide the Dodgers with the warmth of friendship that has been the forte of the sovereign citizens of Flatbush? Perhaps the entertainment capital of the nation has chosen to deactivate baseball in an effort to capture greater audiences for the motion picture.
J. P. MORRIS JR.
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
CHARACTER BUILDERS (CONT.)
"Character Builders" (SI, Dec. 23) points out the sad state of affairs that exists in college athletics. The article mentions only the coaches who regard contracts as mere scraps of paper, and certainly these people belong in a class with other defaulters, but how about the ranking officers of the colleges who approach and hire these same defaulters, knowing them to be such?
How can such ranking officers ever hope to lead their student body in any endeavor requiring high purpose and honesty?
I believe it is high time for our colleges and universities to have honor and integrity as prime requisites when hiring either a ranking officer or an athletic coach.
•For some similar sentiments, see the report on the recently concluded NCAA convention, page 28.—ED.
BASKETBALL: ALL HAIL!
Hail to West Virginia, No. 1 in the national basketball bounce, but who would find out by reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED? In SCOREBOARD, Jan. 6, you say, and I quote, "North Carolina, bedeviled by injury and illness to key personnel, finally gave way." Friend, they did not give way, they were clobbered just like Kentucky the night before. Buck up lads, no one but the home folks thought we would be this good.
Charleston, W. Va.
•Hail, indeed, but among the folks who knew West Virginia was that good was Jeremiah Tax who predicted in the Special Basketball Issue (SI, Dec. 9): "The Mountaineers from Morgantown are shoo-ins again...for another title." See next week's issue for an on-the-spot estimate by Tax of the Mountaineers' chances over the rest of the season.—ED.
BASKETBALL: THE RUPP APPROACH
Concerning Jeremiah Tax's article on Coach Rupp and readers' reaction thereto, I'll never forget what one Kentucky starter told me after a game with St. John's several years ago in New York.
"I got to practice late one day and Rupp asked why. I told him I had a lab. His answer: 'Drop the lab. You're here to play basketball.' "
Which seems to me a very concise self-appraisal of what Rupp's attitude is toward education.
We were glad to see that the University of Kentucky got some publicity in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SI, Dec. 16), but we can assure you that we were bitterly disappointed to see the statement, "Who knows better than me how to coach basketball?" At no time did I ever make such a statement, and I think it is regrettable that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED must put in a statement like that in order to get a little attention.
We are extremely hurt to think that we went out of our way to be nice to help you get a good story and then have you make such a statement in regard to us.
We would rather, in the future, that you omit the University of Kentucky entirely from your magazine, unless you can actually report statements made by us.
ADOLPH F. RUPP
University of Kentucky
•Coach Rupp is being excessively modest. Not only did he make that statement, but there are indeed few college coaches as good as he and none better, as Jeremiah Tax pointed out. However, our admiration of his technical skill does not necessarily extend to all of his coaching attitudes.—ED.
LET THEM WORK FOR THE BALL
Basketball is now nothing more than a contest among sharpshooters. It's about as interesting and clever as limiting bird hunters' activities to the barnyard.
The rule that gives the scored-on team possession of the ball is ridiculous. It means that the "penalty" for having two points scored on it is possession of the ball, which is almost a sure-fire guarantee that the scored-on team will repay its opponent in kind. Let's stop penalizing the team that scores. Let's put the old center-jump rule back in the book and make each team work for possession of the ball. Let's really put strategy and generalship back in the game.
I hope that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers will kick this around.
JAMES G. EDWARD
NEITHER COLLEGIATE NOR SPORTS
I have noticed with increasing regret the professionalism of college football but with even more regret the hypocrisy not only of the presidents and faculties of the colleges, but also of the sportswriters and editors who play up the semipro schools and deride those schools who play amateur football.
To say that football allows deserving boys to get an education who could not obtain one otherwise is an obvious hypocrisy. No one says that a boy of equal scholastic ability (or lack of ability) and equal financial ability, but without the athletic ability, should be given a scholarship. To an educational institution the word scholarship must imply scholastic ability, or it means nothing. And we might add that the physical aspect of education is not met by squads of 40 or 50 paid athletes, but only to the extent that the average student takes part in athletics.
Some of your own Silver Anniversary All-America members (SI, Dec. 23) prove that top students can also play football of top caliber.
Judas received 30 pieces of silver for his betrayal. I wonder how many pieces are the going price for the betrayal of collegiate sports into what we see today, something which is neither collegiate nor sport and which will in the end destroy both.
FITNESS: ASK BONNIE
I have a question about exercises for the feet. My 9-year-old son toes out quite a bit. The doctor says his arches and foot structure are fine. There is no deformity. But he seems to be getting worse and as a result is starting to walk without bending his knees.
Can Miss Prudden tell me where I can find exercises that will help him?
•Bonnie Prudden recommends rising up and down on the toes, carrying a suitcase full of books. About 40 such lifts a day should prove helpful. Also recommended are deep knee bends and what Miss Prudden calls "tightrope walking," walking along a crack in the floor with toes turned in.—ED.
I am a teen-ager of 15. Recently my doctor advised me to send for Bonnie Prudden's exercises from 1 to 6 because, due to a recent illness, I have gained weight.
MARY JANE HODGES
•Bonnie believes that exercises combined with cutting down on calories will get weight down. Because of lack of exercise, weight control is becoming increasingly a problem for both teen-age boys and girls. Miss Hodges should check her weight, exercise program and calorie intake on the chart provided with exercise No. 1.—ED.